Leveraging Intelligence and Ambition to Earn a Full Scholarship: Joshua’s Case Study

Joshua earned a full ride and two partial scholarships to study mechanical engineering.


Problem: The college essay stood in Joshua’s way. He was a STEM-focused student whose math skills heavily overshadowed his writing skills. Joshua had dreams to study robotics and engineering in college, but he had to earn admissions into his target and reach universities first. He and his mother both knew intelligence wasn’t enough for admission to certain universities.

Solution: During our boot camp, we talked through his weaknesses – grammar, word and cliché usage, honing a message, and writing a narrative structure – and how to fix them. We discussed how to answer every prompt using his message and three specialized college essay writing breakdowns.

Result: Joshua earned a full scholarship to North Carolina A&T. He also earned partial scholarships from two other great schools. He’s majoring in mechanical engineering and interning at General Electric.

Lessons Learned: Our boot camps help smart students hone their skills for the college admissions process. Intelligence isn’t enough. The key is to employ strategies that maximize chances for success.

The Full Story

In September 2016, Tamiko sought Transizion to help her son Joshua with college essay and college application writing.

Joshua was a smart kid with a heavy STEM focus; he took math and science AP classes and loved talking about building robots.

  • There was one problem: Joshua rarely practiced writing, if at all. He had no idea how to hone his brilliance to write a succinct college essay with a strong message.
  • His mind was all over the place as a result of his wide-ranging interests in technology.

Tamiko enrolled Joshua in our boot camp with high hopes.

We had to help translate Joshua’s passion and intelligence into self-exposition for a college application essay.

During the boot camp, we learned about Joshua’s ambitions and interests.

He wanted to build bionic parts for amputees who served our country overseas and children in poor countries who lost their limbs at work.

Joshua believed that with the right people and ideas in place, technology could solve global problems including disease, war, hunger, and poverty.

We used our special brainstorming exercises to uncover the driving forces behind Joshua’s love for technology.

  • Through a spirited discussion, we learned that Joshua strongly believed in an equal playing field for people who have been through significant trauma.
  • Joshua wanted to be a tech leader who could help those with limited access and resources.
  • He knows he was born into a great situation – his mother was involved with his day-to-day life, and he attended a great high school.

We strategized and talked through what the essay structure would look like.

Joshua began to realize that he felt sincerely appreciative about his life.

He wanted to give back.

The concepts of appreciation and gratitude would be the emotional drivers for his essays.

He appreciated his upbringing and wanted to use his gratitude as a motive for bringing his tech to the world.

Once we talked through structure and answering essay prompts, we checked a few of Joshua’s preliminary essays and advised for sentence structure and grammar.

  • Once it was time to write his actual Common App essay, he already knew which prompt he wanted to answer, which story to tell, what value to talk about, how to explain it, and how to write with skill and precision.

The boot camp served as a valuable college application writing warm-up for Joshua.

  • He needed to learn more about writing, weaving a narrative, and himself before he could write a properly developed essay.
  • After learning these skills in Transizion’s boot camp, writing the actual essays became easy.

Today, Joshua attends North Carolina A&T on a full ride.

He is the university’s makerspace assistance inventory manager and also is an intern at GE. Joshua says he still uses many of the strategies he learned in his college essay boot camp, and now teaches them to his friends, too.

Best of luck, Joshua! Thank you for your passion!