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Go, Girl! This Valedictorian Won $2.8 Million in College Scholarships

Updated May 27, 2016
by Susan Shain
Contributor

Mari Filer just graduated from high school as valedictorian.

With 39 college acceptances.

And $2.8 million in scholarships.

Say what?!

The Valedictorian Who Won $2.8 Million in College Scholarships

At least that’s what the freshly minted high school grad posted on Twitter last week.

Her tweet quickly went viral, and has now received over 44,000 retweets and 83,000 likes.

Many praised her success, but others were… skeptical.  

One person asked, “$2.8 million in scholarships where you going Mars University?” and another simply said, “I don’t believe you.”

The number doesn’t seem so outrageous, though, since the top 10 students in Filer’s graduating class received a “record $5 million in scholarship money” between them, according to Fox 6 News.

And regardless, she has no need to worry about her haters; she’s already decided to attend Florida A&M University in Tallahassee on a full ride.

How Do You Win $2.8 Million in College Scholarships?

I hopped on the phone with Filer to ask her for more details about her incredible success.

Starting on August 1 of her senior year, Filer said she applied to her top five schools.

Those ended up being the only application fees she paid for — because as soon as her information was “out there,” many other schools asked her to apply, and offered to waive their application fees.

Since the majority used the Common App, it was easy to do — and as her acceptances rolled in, so did the scholarships.

“Every day, I would have to check the mail,” she said. “Because I would usually have a new scholarship there… Every school I applied to gave me an academic scholarship.

All of the scholarships Filer received were institutional — meaning they’re funded by the universities themselves.

“If you have this certain ACT score and this certain GPA, they’re going to give you this amount of money,” she explains. “It’s almost automatic.”

And with a weighted GPA of 4.56 and ACT score of 30, she was more than eligible.

Though Filer’s surprised by her story’s virality, she’s taken all of the attention in stride.

“I’m very excited my post went viral,” she said. “I think the negativity has made it go farther… I feel like it can be an inspiration to other students.”

As for the future, Filer plans to major in pre-med and chemistry, and then attend medical school to become a cardiologist.

This success is available to anybody,” she said. “You just have to be willing to put in the hard work. I think this is an example that hard work really does pay off in the end.”

Sometimes in really big ways.

Your Turn: Are you amazed or skeptical about this girl’s success?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

by Susan Shain
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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