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$1 Million Scholarship Winner Shares Her Student Tips

Hard work pays off. Don't second guess yourself!

Shawna Newman

March 03, 2021

Multi-scholarship winner and current high school senior shares what motivates her and how she plans on making her final college decision.
$1 Million Scholarship Winner Shares Her Student Tips
Shanya Robinson-Owens may just be the student success story of 2021! A George Washington Carver High School senior, she's beginning her higher education journey on the right foot. Gaining national news coverage, Robinson-Owens is a Pennsylvania teenager that has already earned a whopping $1,000,000 in scholarships and applied to 20 colleges. According to WPVI-TV, “She’s gotten into 18 [colleges and universities], and almost all of them have awarded her a scholarship.” Bringing her total to more than $1 million in institutional scholarship money. We reached out to Robinson-Owens to get her first-hand account of her senior year and to tap into her positive momentum to fulfill her college graduate dream. Below is just a fraction of her story—including some inspirational advice for U.S. students:

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What are some applying-to-college tips you could share with other high school seniors?

It’s a long process at first, but after the first few applications they become easier to complete. You begin to know what it takes to fill out applications, so have everything ready. Have patience with the process; it will work itself out. Remember, hard work pays off; don't second guess yourself!

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Fastweb Tip: The more schools you apply to, chances are you’ll have more college choices. This concept applies to scholarships, too; the more you apply the better your odds of winning a scholarship. Students that make applying for scholarships a habit, tend to earn more money to help them pay for school.

You applied to more than a dozen colleges—that’s a lot of applications! How did you stay motivated?

What kept me motivated was seeing the congratulations emails come across my screen from the colleges. I honestly didn’t imagine I would get this many, because I felt like there was nothing unique about me. Fastweb Tip: You don't have to be a star student to earn scholarships. Remember, you are unique and that there are many scholarship opportunities out there just for you.

Did you have any guidance or resources to help you through your college journey and application process?

My aunt, grandma, Senior Seminar teacher, Mr. TB, and my guidance counselor, Ms. Finch, have all helped me out. Fastweb Tip: Find someone that inspires you and will fuel your will to accomplish your goals. You can use these connections for letters of recommendation and/or reference letters.

What portion or parts of your college applications do you feel like helped you to stand out?

For me, it was my essay. This is because while writing it, I was very vulnerable. Fastweb Tip: Your essay is a tool to share your unique story. Highlight why you’d be a great student at a particular college or why you’d be a top choice for a scholarship.

You’ve been accepted to 18 colleges and almost all of them have awarded you a scholarship; what’s your decision making process going to be like?

In addition to considering the scholarships that I’ll earn from each college, I’m doing deep research into each of the colleges. I’ve joined ZeeMee groups to talk to others who are alumni of the colleges I’m interested in and to other students that have been accepted. For me, college tours are the most important. I have toured about six colleges close to me and I want to go farther out to explore even more. As of right now, I really liked the campuses and I can see myself going to either Moravian College or Cabrini University. Fastweb Tip: Prepare for your visits by asking the right questions. The goal of a visit is to determine if you’ll be a successful student.

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?

No. But, I wish I was and had been more involved! Fastweb Tip: Whether you choose to volunteer or participate in extracurriculars, consider being involved throughout high school and college. Use these experiences on your brag sheet, college applications and/or as essay content. Joining clubs, going Greek or playing sports in college will enhance your resume and help you establish connections you can use later. Robinson-Owens is planning on majoring in psychology. One of her goals is to find internships in Counseling Psychology and Forensic Psychology. Robinson-Owens is also an eager Fastweb user working to find additional scholarship opportunities to fill in the financial gaps that her institutional scholarships may not cover. Robinson-Owen added, “Fastweb has made this easier for me!” If Shanya’s determination inspires you, or you feel like you can relate to her, consider checking out these scholarship lists: Scholarships for The Class of 2021 College Scholarships for African American Students Scholarships for Psychology Majors If you’re a current high school or college student looking to graduate with zero student debt or with fewer student loans, consider creating a FREE Fastweb profile. Fastweb makes it easy to find and apply for college scholarships by matching you to scholarships that fit YOU! Fastweb can also help you find the specific in-person and remote internships you’re looking for.

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