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Feeling too lazy or too discouraged to apply for Every. Single. Scholarship? It could be the most expensive mistake of your life.

It was a quiet Thursday. I was browsing tb-two* in class while I was supposed to be doing an English assignment on Brave New World (sorry Mrs. Pritchard). I came across an ad for the Bailey Family Foundation scholarship - a simple quarter-page featuring a pretty, smiling girl. It was a picture like the ones I'd seen a billion times before advertising each of the scholarships I'd been rejected from since August (a total of about $90,000 in rejections). I gave it a glance and moved on, not even thinking twice. The bell sounded, ending third period. I shoved the paper in my backpack and trudged on to physics.

My homework load was especially treacherous that evening. Around 11 p.m., when I finally wrapped things up, I decided to take another look through tb-two* - a Thursday routine. I came across the smiling girl again, and this time hesitated before flipping the page. My conscience screamed for me not to miss out on an opportunity for school cash, despite the rejection letter mountain. My eyes tired and my heart heavy, I dreaded another e-mail with the same "You're not (insert adjective here) enough for this large sum of money" message.

The deadline for this scholarship was only two days away, but my conscience won out. I applied. Thank God.

When I received the first letter from the Bailey people verifying that the information given in the application was accurate, I thought the scholarship was for a total of $5,000, nothing to sneeze at. Then I got the second letter. I had received a scholarship for $5,000 per year for all four years of my undergraduate education, or TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.

With that, I say three things:

1.Want $20,000? The Bailey Family Foundation is one place where it's AT. Watch for next year's deadline and put it on your calendar.

2. It's never too late to search for free money. This is a life lesson.

3. Read tb-two*.