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Student who won seven out of eight scholarships says she’s ‘over the moon’

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Tierrai Tull, 20, was awarded more than half a million dollars worth of scholarships to fund her university degree (Photograph supplied)
Tierrai Tull, 20, was awarded more than half a million dollars worth of scholarships to fund her university degree (Photograph supplied)

A student said she was “over the moon” after she was offered more than half a million dollars in scholarships.

Tierrai Tull, 20, could only accept three of the seven grants she was given because of awards policy.

But she said the remainder was still “more than enough“ to pay for the rest of her degree studies.

Ms Tull added: “When I got one scholarship I was so excited, but when they kept coming I thought ‘am I being punked?’

“I was so shocked. At one point I asked them if they called the right number because they just kept piling in.”

Ms Tull was speaking after she was awarded seven out of the eight scholarships she applied for during the summer.

The scholarships she has retained are renewable for up to four years dependent on Ms Tull’s academic scores, community involvement and continued financial need.

Ms Tull, in her second year at the University of Toronto, explained that she applied for eight scholarships because she was determined to have enough funds to complete her studies.

She explained that last year she had to work on a virtual basis for an insurance firm in Bermuda to help put herself through school, even though she had received some scholarships.

Ms Tull lived alone in war-torn Armenia for four months and studied at the University of Toronto on a virtual basis because the Eurasian country was cheap and she had lived there for two years after she enrolled in a two year United World College International Baccalaureate programme in 2018.

She graduated from UWC last June but stayed in Armenia while she was enrolled as an online student in Toronto – and got caught up a regional conflict.

She said: “I went there to budget, study, work and just make sure I got myself in order.

“When the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan first started, I was thinking ‘is this happening?’

“It was a little scary, but I did feel protected by my friends and their family members, who told me that if anything were to happen and the country was to go in full war-mode I would be able to stay with them.”

Ms Tull added: “Because of what happened last year and the fact that I had to pay for a large portion of my studies myself, all of my savings went to school.

“I told myself ‘I’m not going to let this happen again’ and I started my applications and my essays super early.”

Ms Tull said that she spoke to advisers who had helped her with earlier scholarship applications to see how she could improve her submissions.

She added that she thought her adventures over the last year had given her an edge over the competition.

Ms Tull said: “I had a completely different story that made me a very unique candidate, so I just relied on that.”

She added: “There’s such a contrast to when I think about where I was last year versus this year.

“I really worked my tail off and there were points where I felt like there were four people attached to the application because I wanted every single thing to be vetted by others.”

Ms Tull, who is studying international relations, thanked the scholarship providers and her parents for their financial help.

She added that other students should not give up on applications for extra funds.

Ms Tull said: “A lot of people are in similar positions to what I was in last year, but I’m an example that there is hope and if you work hard.”

She also appealed to scholarship providers to spread their awards more widely.

Ms Tull told them: “Take a chance on a C student who is also working full-time – give them the opportunity to exclusively worry about being a student.”

• Want advice on scholarships? E-mail Ms Tull at tull.tierrai12@gmail.com

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Published September 17, 2021 at 11:47 am (Updated September 17, 2021 at 11:52 am)

Student who won seven out of eight scholarships says she’s ‘over the moon’

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