Unigo Do-Over Scholarship winner and tips


We’re excited to announce the winner of the Unigo Do-Over Scholarship. The question was, “If you could get one do-over in life what would it be and why?” Check out the winning essay, followed by scholarship tips from our winner.

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An Open Letter to My Dear Soft-Hearted Friend

You sat six seats across from me, tears falling in the middle of class. I didn’t know why, and I didn’t care to know at that moment— petty middle school envy over grades of all things— but I overheard anyways. Classmates were faced down, eyes on their own paper, quiet; no one paid you any mind except for Jeffrey who was trying to console you. And me.

Your sentences were broken up with sobs so you began speaking in shorter ones.

“I lost it.”

“I need it.”

“No — I do.”

Physically, it was a small slip of paper, one an observer would deem easily replaceable. One I deemed easily replaceable. I could have done it — replicate the design, give you something to rewrite the pledge to yourself.

I didn’t.

“I will be kinder,” your pledge said.

My dear soft-hearted friend, it was not you who had to be kinder, but me. Even if the situation wouldn’t have played out the way I thought it could — your tears still likely flowing, but your heart now smiling — there is no end to the guilt.

Do-overs are the rare epilogues to the trilogy of mistakes, regrets, and could’ve-would’ve-should’ves. It was a mistake not to comfort you. I have regretted my lack of action for the last five years. I could have, would have, and should have been by your side. But I wasn’t. I could have, would have, and should have tried. But I didn’t.

— Ivy H.

Scholarship tips from our winner

How to create a winning scholarship essay

“I started with picking a memory that I remembered well because I already had a general idea of the direction I wanted my response to go. I knew that I wanted to be even more descriptive than usual, given the emotional potential of the response. Normally though, I spend more time brainstorming ideas and making a mental outline of the essay before I begin. Then, I write them all down in a quick draft before I start refining it.

Be descriptive if the prompt allows for it, like you’re writing a story. Always make sure your essay answers the prompt.”

How to find scholarships

“When looking for scholarships, there are a lot of sites like Unigo where you can get matched. If not those, Google is always a nice start, or ask a counselor about local ones if you can. It’s just a matter of picking out the first few scholarships to focus on.”

Take Ivy’s advice and be a scholarship winner yourself. Use our Scholarship Match to get personalized matching from millions of scholarships. If scholarship money just isn’t enough, try our LoanFinder.

Last day to enter is October 31st!
$1,000 Student Loan Hero by LendingTree