Not many 18-year-olds can picture what their life will look like in 10 years. Bobby Robinson is not most 18-year-olds.
"I see myself financially stable, with good credit, hopefully still in the Marine Corps, leading Marines," Robinson said. "At that point in my life, I will start giving back to my community."
For now, he's on the receiving end and with goals like these, it's clear that he's a deserving candidate.
In May 2017, Robinson was awarded a $10,000 scholarship from CommonBond and Scholly. The award furthers CommonBond's goal of making higher education financing more affordable and transparent to invest in the futures of students. It also demonstrates Scholly's commitment to connecting in-need students with scholarship opportunities nationwide.
Robinson is one of them. He found out about the gift aid opportunity by simply searching through opportunities on the Scholly mobile app. But how did he find out that he'd actually won?
"Honestly, I was just getting out of a rifle drill with the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC), and I saw the email and I ran out of the room," said Robinson, a current freshman pursuing his bachelor's degree at Savannah State University in Georgia. "The first thing I did was share the news with one of my senior officers."
"I couldn't believe that I was awarded so much money — $10,000 means I can be comfortable financially because I won't have student debt this year, and I can continue to focus on preparing myself for the Marine Corps mentally, physically, and spiritually when I graduate from college."
Robinson is hopeful his education will lead him to where he wants to be in a decade. Looking back, Bobby has already overcome a number of obstacles to achieve his goals.
For one, no one in his family had ever gone to college.
Born in Miami, Robinson grew up hoping that a scholarship to play football would pave the way to a four-year school (and even the National Football League). When he realized his more realistic route of attending college came via enlisting, he did just that.
â€œI made a goal to be the first in my family to attend college, but I never knew how I was going to be able to pay for college since my mom was not able to be able to pay,â€ he said. â€œBut I knew some way or somehow I was going to make it through college without her worrying.â€
A $10,000 scholarship certainly helps.
Robinson's tuition is covered by the Navy, but his actual cost of attendance is financed in a number of ways. He was previously awarded a Pell Grant and took subsidized and unsubsidized federal loans from the government, and said the CommonBond-Scholly check will help him cover the costs of his housing (nearly $4,000). He also credited Savannah State's financial aid counselors with helping him find as much gift aid as he can grab.
Robinson said he will continue to use Scholly's app to find scholarship listings, and he is just getting familiar with CommonBond, which recently launched student loans for undergraduates like him as well as for graduate students.
If his dream of becoming a Marine Corps Officer in three years comes to fruition, Robinson plans to use his active duty salary to pay off his student loan debt within three years of graduating.
Before looking too far ahead, of course, he's thinking more pointedly about what is of most concern to many students in America — his next year of college.
"I'm excited about sophomore year because I will be going into fall semester with an actual feel of college, so I will know what to expect and how to better balance class, work and NROTC," he said. "I look forward to taking the good and the bad from my freshman year and applying it to my sophomore year to better myself as an individual, as a scholar and as a leader."
Robinson, long interested in psychology, is majoring in behavioral analysis. He said he hopes to use his degree to communicate effectively with senior and junior Marines.
"My freshman year has been quite challenging," Robinson said. "As Midshipmen, we have to realize that we are not the average college student. It's a lot of responsibility as soon as you step foot on campus."
Scholly is the scholarship-matching platform that has helped high school seniors, current undergraduates, and graduate students win over $70 Million for their education. Our web and mobile app turns the long months of search for scholarships into minutes, by delivering a smarter, targeted list of scholarships that are uniquely suited to you. It was created by Christopher Gray who won $1.3 million in scholarships through hard work, grit and determination. Realizing how broken and time consuming this process was, he and his team created Scholly to make things a lot easier for you. Find out more, and join Scholly at www.myscholly.com.