By michelle I was sitting in my ergonomic, black, swivel-capable, blogging chair, looking out the window, when “Ding!” another email hit my inbox. Already looking for a diversion, I set aside my blogging mindset and switched gears immediately. Post haste, without missing a beat or moving at all, I was reading an email from one of the most successful scholarship searchers ever, the one and only Scholarship Queen, Shayla R. Price! Nearly jumping for joy at the good fortune of this website, I requested an interview with her. Wish granted and here we are! Although college was not originally in her plans for the future (or so she thought), Shayla started participating in extracurricular activities, including Student Council, and this introduced her to the idea of higher education. In the 9th grade, she was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by her classmates, and Shayla decided she wanted to go to college when she was 14 years old. When I asked Ms. Price what initiated her search for scholarship funds, she replied very matter-of-factly with, “The lack of funds initiated my scholarship search.” Thanks to her commitment to control her own destiny, Shayla is now the first of her family to become a college graduate! Shayla states, “My desire to attend college overwhelmed all my obstacles and fears.” Shayla didn’t apply for any student loans, ONLY scholarships. The guidance counselors at her high school helped Shayla find local and state scholarships. Shayla used mostly online scholarship search tools like ScholarshipExperts.com to locate and apply for a variety of other scholarships. She made looking for scholarships a part-time job and says that some of the most helpful resources were on the internet. A couple other websites she used were FastWeb and Scholarships.com. During the interview Shayla informed me that, “Finding free money for college was a requirement, not an option, to achieve my goal.” I asked Shayla for any advice she would give to others like herself. What should you, the scholarship searcher, know about the scholarship application process? She says, “Start today! Don’t wait any longer for a scholarship to drop into your lap. First, locate scholarships you are eligible for through online resources, and by asking organizations in your local area. Second, APPLY to the scholarships. Write the essay, ask for recommendation letters, and meet the deadlines. Lastly, repeat the process over and over again. The key is to stay persistent, despite any rejection letters. My determination earned me well over $100,000 in scholarships to pay for everything.” When asked if she would change anything about her scholarship search, Shayla says she would only have applied for more! Shayla tells us, “My college experience has been very rewarding. I’ve enhanced not only my formal education but also my life experiences. As a research scholar, I had the opportunity to travel to Kampala, Uganda, Africa, and I performed research on how resource-poor communities use mobile technology. Downsides? No! From great grades to bad college relationships, I enjoyed it all!” The first university Shayla attended was Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. As an African American woman who practices Catholicism, this historically black university with Catholic origins felt like a perfect fit. After her freshman year, however, Shayla transferred to Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA. Shayla received her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Southern University in May 2008. She is set to receive her law degree from Southern University Law Center in May 2011. And yes, Ms. Shayla Price is still financing her education with scholarships! Shayla plans to promote social change initiatives in the non-profit sector. Her career goal is to become an Executive Director of a non-profit organization in the near future. I would like to broadcast a big THANK YOU to Ms. Shayla R. Price on behalf of our audience! Your persistence, perseverance, and tenacity in the face of such a challenge is nothing short of inspirational. Keep up the good work! To find more information on this incredible woman, visit her website.