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Mostly, he learned never to give up.

Trace Francis is stubborn, in a good way. Over the past six months, he’s applied for nearly 100 scholarships — without winning any. Well, until now.

The 18-year-old from Edmond, Oklahoma, is the latest winner of the Debt.com Scholarship for Aggressive Scholarship Applicants. In fact, he’s our 20th. What makes him so special? His attitude more than his results.

“I have put in 250-300 hours to scholarship applications,” he says proudly, almost defiantly. “I have applied for approximately 96 scholarships now, and I plan to keep adding on to that number so that I can increase my chances of winning more money to reduce my college expenses.”

This kid just doesn’t get discouraged. Listen to him find the silver lining in all those futile hours: “I have learned much from applying for scholarships. For example, I have learned how to write concisely and effectively. I think this skill could prove useful when applying for internships and future jobs.”

Trace plans on attending Oklahoma State University and pursuing a degree in chemical engineering. He’s already well on his way.

“I have 21 hours of college credit to date, and I am currently taking more concurrent and AP classes to increase that number,” he says. When he’s not studying, he’s working to earn more money for college. He’s been doing that since he was 12, and the story is impressive…

“My older brother and I started our own landscaping business in 2012. We started off mowing our yard and our neighbor’s yard weekly, but over the summer people saw the work we did and asked us to do theirs, too. The business took off after its second year in 2013, and we had so many customers that we had to start telling people we could not work for them! For the past three years, our company has brought in an annual profit of approximately $25,000, which is split among my older brother and I, as well as my younger brothers who have started working with us, too.”

In all, Trace has four brothers. That’s great for the landscaping company, but it’s a burden for their parents when it comes to paying for college.

“I have four brothers who are all within five years of age of me,” Trace says. “Considering that I am second among us five, if I do not graduate in time, there could be a possibility of four of us being in college at the same time — which is an impossible financial burden for my family.”

Graduating from college on time isn’t likely to be a problem for the high-school senior who’s currently in the top 10 percent of his class. I asked Trace for some financial advice to impart upon his peers, and this is what he told me…

“My advice for students my age would be to do a little bit of spending but mostly saving. I say this because I have invested money into projects and ‘resume builders.’ I think it is important for students to explore areas of life (maybe by spending a little bit of money) so they can figure out what interests them, so they can pursue a degree in that field. I have a fascination in building things and have invested quite a bit of money into that, but if it were not for my interest in doing so, I would not be set on an engineering field of study.”

I’m glad to help Trace win his first scholarship. I have a sneaking suspicion it won’t be his last. If you want to apply for the Debt.com Scholarship for Aggressive Scholarship Applicants, it’s easy. We do it every two months, and we purposefully make it a breeze to enter.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and/or policies of Debt.com.

About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC