Scholarship Feature || Oluwatobi Oluwagbemi

written by | Oluwatobi Oluwagbemi


I am very grateful to Students United for all the scholarships that I have received.  I would like to share my story with others and inspire them to apply for scholarships too and keep trying until they earn their first scholarship that will help them be successful in college and in life.

I got my first college award in fall 2015 when I was honored with the Timothy J. Penny Fellowship. I remember applying and then getting an email for an interview. I couldn’t believe that I got an interview. I was dealing with low self-esteem, lack of belief in myself and I was so happy and nervous at the same time. I was happy that I been chosen to go to the next step, but nervous that I would not succeed at the interview. I carefully selected my blue jacket, black pant and black shoes. I needed to look and appear confident since I knew I wasn’t fully confident on the inside. I went to the interview and answered all the questions I was asked and then went home. I felt confident a bit that I did my best. I got another email that I was accepted and that I was going to get the fellowship. I was so happy that I just did not know if to cry or scream out in laughter. I just knew that I had something on the inside that would help me be a gift to humanity and no one could tell me otherwise. Not anymore. Not after this fellowship. My confidence increased. My determination level went up and I became more determined to graduate with honors and be an extraordinary student in my field and in life.

I then got a call in summer 2016 that I was awarded the Jared P. Stene Scholarship and I was so happy. I then got the Barbara J. Penny Scholarship in fall 2016 and could not contain my joy. The scholarship that inspired me most was the Barbara J. Penny scholarship that I received in fall 2016. That particular scholarship helped me push forward when college was too hard for me and I wanted to drop out. I was ready to quit because I told myself college was too hard. Tough times don’t last but tough people do. That particular scholarship kept me in school and motivated me till I left school.

Each scholarship has meant a lot to me to be honored for my hard work and intelligence and also inspire the next group of students coming to any campus to know that they can use my story to build on theirs. I am truly grateful that I have come this far and will keep pushing and earning more education so that one day I can be in a position to impact knowledge to younger students and motivate them with my personal story. Scholarships are a motivation to finish school and they motivate students to do better.

Scholarships, financial aid and fellowships are all around us but it takes working hard, applying at every opportunity, learning from past mistakes, knowing how to handle the results when you do not get chosen, not giving up and believing in yourself. It takes a lot of courage to apply for scholarships because a lot of scholarships have many people applying.

Some tips for applying to Students United Scholarships.

  • Check if you are qualified (Don’t apply if you are not qualified, spend that time on scholarships you are qualified for instead).

  • Fill the application, write the essay, gather all materials that are needed and request recommendations from professors and mentor’s early.

  • Give the essay to at least three people to read or the writing center of your campus or any place of your choice that proof reads written materials

  • Before submitting show a mentor or a supporter to make sure all instructions are followed.

Submit applications and all materials days and weeks before the deadline so that technical difficulties don’t stop you or if something unexpected comes up it does not impede you’re submitting the application.

From personal experience, if you don’t get the scholarships, don’t stop applying or trying because you would get your break soon if you keep trying and not give up. I applied for a scholarship every semester for almost two years before receiving my first one. I was overexcited and joyous and promised to share my story. Also forgive yourself and move on when you make mistakes. I had used a computer in the school to submit my scholarship application and it reloaded unfortunately, I did not know until it was too late when the deadlines had passed and I felt very bad for months but I applied again that year and got a different one from that organization.

I now have a new motivation with my experiences that were not easy. My motivation pushes me to inspire every college student to never give up or drop out. I want every student to push themselves further and not let challenges weigh them down or stop them from their goals. “Never let failure define you, mistakes or errors are not permanent and are not written on you erase them and keep up on the journey finish and then look back and use that to help others”. I hope you apply for Students United Scholarships.


Interested in applying to one of our scholarship? Click here to see the complete list.

Aly Hagglund