Personal Finance
November 19, 2018

A Step Ahead Scholarship: Winner Announcement

Written By Emily Jones
Last updated December 2, 2019

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Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Simple. Thrifty. Living. is excited to announce the recipient of the $1,500 A Step Ahead Scholarship, Nashirra Best. After reviewing hundreds of well-written submissions, hers stood out from the rest. In her essay submission, she discussed how important work experience is in opening doors for her future. 

Nashirra is a rising sophomore at Yale University, currently majoring in history and preparing to double major in economics as well in the coming semesters. She says this award will allow her to be one step closer to achieving her goals for a financially strong future.

“Education may be the passport, but work experience is the boarding pass,” she wrote. 

Her work as a student photographer in Stockholm, Sweden was impressive and showed she was willing to go to great lengths to gain work experience in addition to immersing herself in another culture. Those life experiences are both challenging and irreplaceable for a young adult. 

Nashirra was honest about how she has learned to be financially responsible and described in her essay how the actions of family members has given her a better understanding of what to do and what not to do. 

“By understanding my family’s mistakes with credit, loans, and other financial obligations, I can make decisions that differ from their choices and take accountability for my own financial future to secure a life of enjoyment for not only myself, but for my family and for my future family,” she said. 

Often times it is through mistakes that people learn the most, and Nashirra showed that she has learned from the missteps others have made. 

Choosing the winner for this scholarship wasn’t easy. We were thrilled to see that so many students are taking such important steps, whether personally, financially, or professionally, to set themselves up for success after graduation. These essays show that the next generation is committed to thriving in their life after school.

Congratulations, Nashirra! We are wishing her and all of the other students that applied to our scholarship luck going forward in their education and careers. 

Whether you’re currently enrolled in college, or headed there next year, everyone could use a little help covering school expenses. The “A Step Ahead” scholarship contest from Simple. Thrifty. Living. will award one $1,500 scholarship to a student who can thoughtfully respond to the below prompt in 800 words or less.

The Prompt: 

At Simple. Thrifty. Living., we’re committed to helping you prepare for your financial future to enjoy life the way it should be lived. Whether it’s gaining internship experience in your desired field, opening up a savings account, or meeting with a financial aid counselor to discuss student loan repayment options, every little step counts. In 800 words or less, tell us how you are preparing for post-college life.

  • Answer the prompt above in 800 words or less.
  • The file name on your response to the prompt should be your full name and date of birth (Example: John-Doe-12-20-1996.docx).
  • Email your response as a Word document to Use the subject line: 2019 Simple Thrifty Living Scholarship
  • Submissions must be received by midnight on August 9, 2019.
  • Send your response to by midnight on August 9, 2019. Make sure to follow all of the instructions provided above.
  • We will select and notify a winner by August 23, 2019. (It’s subjective; we’re going to pick our favorite response.)
  • We will contact the winner to confirm their mailing address and send a check for $1,500.
  • The winner will be announced and featured on our company blog.
  • You must be a graduating senior in high school or a freshman, sophomore, or junior in college.
  • You must be a graduating high school or in college and be between the ages of 16 and 26.
  • We reserve the right to verify the date of your high school graduation and/or college enrollment.
  • Only one submission is permitted per student per year.
  • Any and all content may be used in future Simple. Thrifty. Living. marketing.

About the Author

Emily Jones

Emily Jones has been writing for personal finance blogs for over 5 years. Her specific interests include, budget travel, living well on a budget, and deal finding. While in graduate school Emily was forced to find creative ways to be able to afford to travel. Now that she has a family, her affection for travel and shopping continue, but on a very tight budget. Emily enjoys sharing her deal finding tricks with her readers.

  • I was wondering if the 2019 scholarship winner has been selected? If so, I would love to read the winning essay!

  • Hi,
    Just curious if the scholarship has been awarded. Thanks!

  • Hi,

    I wanted to know if you all have receive my essay.


    • Hi Breasia- We did!

  • Hi,

    I’ve submitted my application last month and was hoping it came through. So sorry for the late update!

    • We did! Thank you.

  • Hey there,

    I submitted my essay a couple of days ago and just want to double check that you all got it! Please let me know.

    Thank you!
    – Olivia H

    • We did receive it. Thanks!

  • Good evening, I was also hoping to get a notification on my application status. Please let me know if its been received.

    • Yes, we did get it. Thank you!

  • Hi there!
    Just wanted to confirm that my application has been sent?

    • Hi Jenny- Yes, it has been received.

  • Hello Emily, just wanted to ask if my email has been received? Thanks!

    • Yes, your essay has been received.

  • Hello, I just sent in my essay yesterday. I wanted to see if you received it. Thank you!

    • Hi Gracie, yes we did.

  • I’ve been trying to send my essay to and the email does not say it sent. I just would like to know if you have received my essay.

    • Hi Katie, yes we did.

  • I kind of want to make sure my email went through? I sent it in yesterday

    • Yes, it has been received.

  • I’ve been trying to send my scholarship essay to, the email kept saying that the email does not exist.

    • Hi Breana- Just sent you an email.

  • Hello, I am starting graduate school, so I would be a first year graduate student. Am I still eligible?

    • Unfortunately this scholarship is only for undergraduate students.

  • I sent in my application today. I just wanted to ensure that you received the email! Also just wondering if there is anything else that I need to submit?
    Thank you!

    • Just the essay. Good luck!

  • hi, I took a semester off from school and I am enrolled for fall semester, am I still applicable to apply for this scholarship?

    • Yes, as long as you are enrolled this coming academic year.

  • Hello. You said the check will be made to the student. Can it be used for any college-related expenses, such as books, room and board, meals, etc.?

  • Hi, I cannot see the essay prompt.

    • At Simple. Thrifty. Living., we’re committed to helping you prepare for your financial future to enjoy life the way it should be lived. Whether it’s gaining internship experience in your desired field, opening up a savings account, or meeting with a financial aid counselor to discuss student loan repayment options, every little step counts. In 800 words or less, tell us how you are preparing for post-college life.

  • If you are currently 26 and graduating in May 2020 can you apply?

    • Yes, as long are you are entering your senior year.

  • Can we submit the essay as a google doc ? And would it be okay to submit a letter of recommendation along with our essay?

    • Sure! You can also send your essay in the body of an email.

  • Can we submit the essay as a google doc ?

    • Hi Aricia- A google doc is fine, or just put your essay in the body of the email. Good luck!

  • Does the essay need to be in a word doc? I don’t have Microsoft Word but I can submit is as a google doc or pdf.

    • Either works. Good luck!

  • Can you enter if you’re graduating may 2020?

    • Yes, as long as you are currently enrolled in college for the upcoming academic year. Good luck!

  • Can upcoming high school seniors apply for this scholarship? I will be graduating from high school in 2020.

    • You need to be enrolled in college for the 2019-2020 school year. Lookout for our scholarship next year!

  • I starting preparing myself for post college life in high school. I got really serious in my junior year, became very interested in my finance class which my teacher taught and prepared me to always put some money away for savings. I started there I brought a money box and started putting away money for spending in college this will be my sophomore year in college. Always more parents taught me a lot along with my two brothers whom all of them has sacrificed for my to attend college last year,which I am very appreciative in every way . I know my parents spent most of the retirement to send me to school. I very much know how they penny pinched for this to happened so I learn from the best. This will help me with post college life to start on the right path in my new journey of lift .I know I have much more to learn and that I my fall off the path once or even more ,but I was taught with skills to get back on track. Thank You

  • Can someone who took a gap year between high school and college still apply if they’re enrolled in a university but just deferred?

    • As long as you are enrolled for this coming academic year you qualify.

  • Is the check made out to our school, or directly to the student so they could use it to open a savings account/start repaying loans/etc?

    • Hi Cait-

      The check will be made out to the student. Thanks for applying!

  • I see this scholarship is not available for college seniors. Would I be considered a college senior, if I am returning to college, which will be my fourth year, but I will only be transferring a sophomore’s or junior’s equivalent of credits for my new undergraduate program?

    • Hi Nick-

      As long as you are not graduating this year you are welcome to apply.

      Thanks and good luck!

  • Can an undergraduate senior apply?

    • To be eligible, you must be a graduating high school senior or an undergraduate student in their freshman, sophomore, or junior year.

  • Life after college is the time that I will spend mastering my craft in healthcare as a Physician’s Assistant. Proper preparation includes handling my educational debt and beginning to pay interest on my student loans now. Maintaining employment by making myself employable through high levels of training and higher education will practically guarantee a productive place in society where I can have a hand in keeping patients healthy through my earned expertise and genuine concern. I intend to volunteer my time and skills to community health resources so that I remain in tune with the healthcare needs of the community and other clinical professionals for future educational resource needs. Lastly, I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle through physical fitness, nutrition, and active spirituality so that I am at a peak performance level for all that I encounter to ensure optimal output for the individuals that I serve.

  • Can a graduate school student apply for this scholarship?

    • The scholarship is not currently open for graduate students. To be eligible, you must be a graduating high school senior or an undergraduate student in their freshman, sophomore, or junior year.

  • Can international students who are non US citizen apply for this scholarship

    • Yes! International students can apply as well.

  • This scholarship is nice because it prepares college students for the future things to come.

  • I love this scholarship. It prepares myself and others to look towards what we will pursue throughout our journey as a college student.

  • I really like this scholarship and how it is based on our ability to plan for the future.

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