‘Scholarship Mom’ Gwen Thomas teaches students how to finish college debt-free


By Jessica Taylor

Photo: Gwen Thomas

When it comes to helping students find money to pay for college, complete admissions applications or write scholarship essays, no person is more vigilant than Gwen Thomas, aka “The Scholarship Mom.”

There is no cheating on college entrance exams or falsifying records to secure a seat at a prestigious school. Thomas does it the right way.

She works with students and parents to ensure they understand what it takes to get into the college of their choice, the cost of higher education and the 21st century careers to make young adults employable.

Thomas has been helping families for nearly a decade. It all started when preparing her son for college when he was 14 years old. She created a strategy, leading him to study abroad for the summer at Cambridge in the U.K.

When he returned to a Detroit suburban high school, a racist teacher broke his spirit. Instead of battling the issue, Thomas held a meeting with administrators and suggested the school create a multicultural luncheon where students, staff and parents could learn about each other’s diverse cultures to resolve broadscale unconscious bias. Thomas’ son was the ambassador, and the program was successful.

She shared the story with a local newspaper. A few years later, when the time came to write college scholarship essays, her son shared his stories surrounding adversity and triumph, catching the eye of scholarship judges.

Upon graduation, he won more scholarships than any student in his school but still fell short on tuition the second year. The strategy of applying for scholarships continued until his sophomore year, landing him a $250,000 scholarship, which paid for the rest of his education at Morehouse College, his graduate work at Johns Hopkins University, and an opportunity to study abroad in 30 international cities. In all, his efforts totaled $500,000 in direct scholarships, and today he is a U.S. diplomat.

Read more about Thomas and her upcoming virtual event, “The Black Friday Scholarship Bootcamp,”

homas saw the need to help families across all cultures and socioeconomic lines. She helped put them on a pathway to success, winning $15 million in scholarships. Today, she runs a nonprofit called Fresh Perspectives Seminars, a college and career readiness program. She works with students in the U.S. and abroad, putting them on track to win scholarships for their undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate studies as well as setting them up to be globally competitive in the workforce. Parents from the U.S. and abroad contact her to work with their students. She has worked with students as far away as South Africa, Roatán, Trinidad, Vietnam and Mexico.

Each year,  Thomas hosts “The Black Friday Scholarship Bootcamp” after Thanksgiving. This year it will be a virtual event from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27. “Our goal is to take the debt out of college,” Thomas said. “While America is shopping for Christmas gifts, our students are shopping for scholarships.”

Because of the pandemic, Thomas said other programs, including the “Pursuing Your Dream Scholarship Bootcamp,” which is expected to hit 10 HBCUs in 2021, also will be held virtually.

For more information about her programs and seminars or to order her book, The Parents Smart Guide to Sending Your Kids to College Without Going Broke, visit www.freshperspectivesseminars.org or BlackFridaySB.com.

SOURCE: https://rollingout.com/

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