Volume 1, Number 7 - February 2, 2011

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Mark Pulaski
Mark Pulaski
Wolfson Campus Bureau Chief / A&E Editor


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New Website Simplifies Scholarships

By Mark Pulaski
Mark.pulaski001@mymdc.net

Tired of the hassle that goes with applying for scholarships, former Miami Dade College student, Diane Melville, figured there must be an easier way to pair students with college funding.

After nearly five years of re-search, the result was her creation: ScholarPro.

The goal of the search engine is to give students the ability to find and apply for scholarships without all the headaches of doing it the old-fashioned way.

“I've always run into students that say ‘scholarships are too hard to find’ or ‘I don't have time to apply for scholarships.’ With ScholarPro, we make it simple for students to win the aid that they need for college,” said Melville via e-mail.

Melville began researching the idea of a common application for scholarships and couldn’t find anything close to what she was looking for. Frustrated, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

“I started calling scholarship providers and saying ‘Hey. In case you didn’t know, applying for scholarships is not easy. Want to help me make it easier?” Melville said.

She continued those calls for about five years until she had a better understanding on how to fix the problem.

ScholarPro has not officially launched yet; it’s still undergoing beta testing. In March 2011, students will have the ability to navigate the scholarship process from start to finish with the push of a button. The criteria for scholarships vary greatly; everything from race, grade point average and extracurricular activities, to quirkier things such as being left-handed or having the ability to skateboard well.

Some scholarships are complex and require students to provide transcripts, letters of recommendation and written essays. Scholar-Pro aims to simplify the process by having applicants answer a simple 15-question form, and then use one common application to apply to as many scholarships as they want.

“We break it down so that students don't have to worry about which application requires which document,” said Melville.

Melville credits her experiences at MDC for providing her with the encouragement needed to take on such a venture.

“I can say, without a doubt, that the support of the faculty, staff and students at Miami Dade helped me to really take the leap and start this company,” Melville said. “Starting a company can be incredibly difficult without the right support.”

One of her biggest supporters is E. Carter Burrus, former director of The Honors College at North Campus. Burrus said that Melville has a knack for finding scholarships— noting that she racked up more than $100,000 worth of funds in her time at MDC.

“She was relentless; very focused. And now she’s turned that focus into ScholarPro,” Burrus said.

Once the search engine is fully operational, she said, there is no reason students should have trouble getting the money they need for school.

“I would venture to say that there is a scholarship out there for everyone,” Melville said.


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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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