Shana-Kay Chisholm gives tips for scholarship successSunday, October 10, 2021
BY CANDICE HAUGHTON
AFTER putting her parents in $80,000 debt for paying her sixth form expenses, 23-year-old Shana-Kay Chisholm knew she had to find another way to fund her schooling when she was accepted at The University of the West Indies (UWI) to study human resource management and management studies in 2017.
Turning her sights on obtaining scholarships for her schooling, Chisholm was able to complete her bachelor's degree in 2020 without paying “a cent out of pocket”. This experience of scholarship hunting has driven Chisholm to now help students become scholarship recipients.
“I'm not from a rich family and when I realised that I had put my parents in debt, I didn't want that to happen twice,” she said. “Before I started UWI, I told myself that I would not pay any school fee. After doing research upon research I realised that there are so many opportunities out there and I ended up applying for scholarships. Within my first year, I got two scholarships. In my second year I got two scholarships and in my third year I got two more scholarships,” Chisholm told Career & Education, as she added that she was able to help many of her peers with scholarship awards and now she wants to help even more students.
The recent UWI graduate, who is also the CEO and owner of Dollar Store Ja — an online store dedicated to providing affordable products — stated that one's financial background should not be an excuse for not being successful.
“If you don't know something it's not an excuse because there's always information out there and there's always people out there ready to assist. It doesn't matter how long it takes to get something done, it doesn't matter if you made a mistake on the way, get it done and keep on moving,” she advised.
“Oftentimes I get the question, how did I attend school, work full time (researcher) and own a business? I want to encourage young people to take advantage of the opportunities present. There are many platforms that provide valuable information; however, many people aren't aware of this.
“I believe that this information will benefit all students, ease the burden on parents, and help to motivate the upcoming generations to aggressively pursue all their dreams, one step at a time.”
According to Chisholm, the below tips should help students applying for scholarships:
1. Be involved – Volunteer, there are several groups in Jamaica that allow persons to volunteer and give back to the community.
2. Ensure you meet the requisite requirements – For example, if they said that they need a particular Grade Point Average (GPA), ensure that you have that.
3. Research the company offering the scholarship – You need to align your application with whatever you believe the corporate entity or the institution has that will give you an advantage over other applicants.
4. Be impactful – They are going to give you funding, but how will their funding impact the world? What kind of impact can you make? You need to show them that you have a plan and you are someone they would like to say represents them or they made a good investment in you.
Additionally, when aiming to be a multifaceted individual, Chisholm said you should take advantage of every opportunity, have a schedule to manage each responsibility and stick by it [and] be intentional with your actions.
“Pursuing a dream alone won't guarantee success; you need the right attitude [to] prepare for success and growth,” she shared.
Speaking directly to school leavers, Chisholm said, “Never try to speed up the process of success or miss a step, within each step are lessons which will help shape the greatest version of you.”