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College Affordability and Preparedness

The Student Who Earned $2 Million in Scholarships Shares Her Top Application Tips

Scholarships-college-growing with gabby-princeton-gabriella carter
Scholarships-college-growing with gabby-princeton-gabriella carter

Princeton University student Gabriella Carter gained fame by securing more than $2 million worth of scholarships, and has used her experience to help others access funds via her online platform Growing with Gabby. She shared what students can do to win more scholarships.

What do you think was the most important factor in you receiving more than $2 million in scholarships?

Definitely grit. Applying for scholarships is particularly difficult to master because of the inevitable rejection you face in the process. You spent countless hours searching for scholarships, curating your applications, and perfecting your essays, only to win very few of the opportunities you applied for.

Persisting in the face of rejection is tough. But, I was disciplined and courageous enough to continue pushing forward and ensuring that each application I submitted was better than the previous one. That level of resolve is hard to come by, hence why many students give up before they win their first scholarship.

I refused to let anyone outwork me, and because of this, I was able to persevere and ultimately bear the fruits of my labor by earning seven figures in scholarships before attending Princeton University. It has been a blessing to pay it forward and have offered $13,000 worth of my own scholarships to students of all ages and backgrounds too.

What made you want to pursue your business and write a book?

The natural synergy between my experience and expertise, and a pressing need for scholarship guidance made me want to pursue my business. I found a sweet spot between doing work that is profitable and positively impactful, which is the beauty of social entrepreneurship.

I began building Growing with Gabby three years ago when I was a college student. Throughout that time, I continued to earn scholarships and learn more about the intricacies of the scholarship space. I chose to write my first book, “5 Steps to Securing Scholarship Success,” to teach students how to write a successful scholarship essay that stands the test of time and stress.

My book is a culmination of the tips, techniques, affirmations, and strategies I employed to start winning in the scholarship game. I was teaching this strategy to my clients and seeing them also gain scholarship success, so I decided to formally write a book that clearly instructs students on how to craft a compelling scholarship essay, regardless of their age and experience. It’s available on

What is the one piece of advice you would give to a student looking to receive a scholarship?

Establish a system. Having a system as you apply for scholarships is crucial. More specifically, establish a consistent schedule with which you search for scholarships, draft your scholarship essays/applications, and track your progress.  I created myscholarship tracker to give students access to a customizable template to track scholarships and myseasonal scholarship lists to give students access to $500,000+ worth of scholarships so they can save time and stress searching for legitimate opportunities.

Using these tools to establish a system makes you feel more in control of the process. You’re less likely to scramble to apply for opportunities if you have a set day where you search for them and put opportunities on your calendar. Once you establish the habit of consistently searching for and submitting applications to scholarships, you can be more disciplined with your approach.

When you are more disciplined, you won’t have to rely on only applying for scholarships when you are motivated. You’ll be accustomed to the grind and sharpen your skills in the process. Consistent action will make you more efficient at applying for scholarships, encouraging you to submit more effective applications over time to ultimately secure scholarship success. You really have to put in work to win scholarships.

What is next for you and also the future of scholarship opportunities?

I want to release another scholarship book in print, and a video course to complement my ebook and scholarship database. These two resources will allow me to take an even deeper dive into the art of crafting a winning application by sharing scholarship secrets that have never been disclosed before. I also plan to continue exploring the arts in multidisciplinary ways! I just released my first song available on all streaming platforms under my artist name GSC ROYALTY.

Hopefully, the student loan crisis can be averted with the forgiveness program, but we’ll have to see how that plays out. That’s why Growing with Gabby is so important: I’m empowering students to take charge of their financial future through scholarships. Earning scholarships can be a critical first step in achieving the financial freedom everyone deserves to experience.

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