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Dr. Jennifer B. Bernstein

(516) 362-1929

How to Get College Scholarships: AXA Achievement Scholarship

Lots of people have been asking me how to get college scholarships, so this week I’m focusing on how to prepare to earn major awards like the AXA Achievement Scholarship.

Start by watching this video, which gives you important details about this $10,000-$25,000 scholarship.  Then read this post and take action!

Even if you’re just a freshman or sophomore in high school, you should definitely start exploring some of major scholarship programs like the one offered by AXA.


You can use the descriptions of the award program and the winners’ profiles as a source of inspiration, a catalyst for taking action on your interests.

Two main types of students who can benefit from this approach to investigating scholarship programs:

High-performing students who want to get into Ivy League and other top schools but haven’t yet distinguished themselves from all the other people with the same stats.

Students who are struggling with their grades and haven’t yet found their niche in terms of extracurricular activities.

Let me explain.

Don’t get intimidated by what I’m about to say.

You’ll notice that previous winners of the AXA Achievement Scholarship program have done some truly great things. For instance, here’s one of the major accomplishments of Rujul Zaparde, one of the 2012 winners from New Jersey:

“[He] started the nonprofit group Drinking Water for India, which builds wells in rural India.  Enlisting student volunteers from more than 35 schools in 13 U.S. states, the organization has built 47 tube wells and 10 rainwater-harvesting catchments in remote villages, providing clean water for 80,000 people.”

Are kids like Rujul smarter or inherently better than you?


What distinguishes them is that they take creative action on their concerns and interests.

Rujul probably didn’t know ahead of time everything that it would take to accomplish these things.  He probably had an initial interest and then started researching and reaching out to people to figure out what it would take to make a difference.

Most high school students don’t realize what’s truly possible for themselves.

This is true for students who are already excelling but haven’t made a significant contribution (beyond perhaps serving as a leader in a school club) as well as for those who are struggling and haven’t done much in terms of extracurricular activities.

I’ve never encountered a student who doesn’t have ideas and interests.

However, I often encounter students who don’t realize they can take action on them. . .even while they’re still in high school.

You have to learn to think outside the box.

Your school doesn’t need to have an official club dedicated to your interest.  You don’t have to wait for someone else to extend a hand to you.

You have to make a shift–a shift that’s going to open up doors for you, take you to another level–one which will prepare you to excel in college and post-graduate life.

What’s that shift?

You have to start taking the initiative.


1. Think about your interests, choose one that’s most exciting to you, and come up with a few ideas for how you can transform these ideas into concrete actions that benefit the world around you.  What difference could your project make in the lives of others?  Use the profiles of previous award winners to get your creative juices flowing.

2. Start discussing your ideas with people (friends, family, teachers, guidance counselors, etc.).  Ask them if they want to join you in the project and if they can point you in the right direction.  For instance, if you want to create a community-wide fundraiser for a specific cause, you might want to ask your guidance counselor, librarian, or even the head of a local charity for advice about how to start such a campaign.

3.  If you feel you need a mentor to support in clarifying your interests, deciding on an meaningful project, and coming up with a course of action, you can set up a consultation with me to get yourself going. You’ll be amazed at what we can accomplish in a one-hour online session.  Click here to make your appointment.


This process of taking the initiative and transforming ideas into beneficial realities is exhilarating and empowering.  Trust yourself and experiment.  See what happens.


I love hearing about your projects and challenges, so keep me posted.  You can share them in the comments area or email me privately.

Blog post image used: ©mangostock/