Help For College Students

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | March 15th, 2019
Victoria Sparks (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Victoria Sparks (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Victoria Sparks is not your average 20-year-old. She’s confident, driven, and intentional about the moves she makes and the example she’s setting. At 14, she began mapping out the path to success, and has not only stuck to the path, but has expanded it during her journey.

The Generation Z’er started thinking early about her career and future goals after meeting with a family friend who was a Certified Public Accountant. She offered Victoria the opportunity to shadow her at her firm and Victoria immediately knew this would be her future. Since she already loved numbers and math, accounting and finance corresponded perfectly with her interests.

When it was time for Victoria to consider life beyond high school, she became involved with the scholarship ministry at her church as well as sought guidance from her counselor at her school, Greensboro College Middle College. Studying, test-taking, and researching consumed most of her free time but she welcomed it. Although she and the other students learned a few strategies while taking SAT/ACT and scholarship prep programs she realized most weren’t getting the results they desired.

“In middle college, I met students enrolled in college who would tell me they were already $30,000 in debt. I realized then that I didn’t want my parents to be stuck with that and neither did I,” says the UNC – Greensboro student. While in middle-college, the ambitious teen completed college-level courses, allowing her to earn college credit which will result in an early graduation. Of course, finishing college in less time will also reduce expenses.

When her nose wasn’t in a textbook, Victoria created a scholarship notebook at the recommendation of her mentor, Jacqueline Fortson, and challenged herself to apply for at least 30 scholarships a month, averaging about 1 per day. She was meticulous about keeping an inventory of what she applied for, what the scholarship offered, and each due date. She also kept her resume, multiple headshots, and recommendation letters readily available. Her hard work amounted to thousands of dollars from school and independent funds. To date, she hasn’t had to use any personal money to finance her college education. With all the time and effort spent uncovering the secret of scholarship-hunting, the double major (Accounting and Finance with a minor in Dance) knew she had something to share with the world.

One weekend at a friends birthday party, Victoria struck up a conversation with a woman she barely knew. The woman prophesied that Victoria was going to write a book. The irony was, she had already considered the idea. That same week, she put pen to paper and cranked out several pages. As life happened, she got busy with other projects and stepped away from it until the same woman contacted her mother to inquire about her progress. That was just the motivation she needed to get moving again and finish what she started.

Last spring, Victoria completed her first self-published book, ‘Plan to Prevail; A Resource Guide for College Bound Students’. It essentially helps students and parents locate education funds and is available in paperback and e-book versions. Her principles can also be utilized by those already in college with mounting debt. To test the waters, she provided a promotional copy to those who attended her sold out scholarship and college preparation workshop. This summer, she plans to offer another workshop to help even more attendees conquer their goals of obtaining a free education, or at least one that won’t force them to pay astronomical fees for years after graduation.

The book guides you from beginning to end on how to find your passion and your career purpose, then how to apply to colleges, how to select the right scholarships, the importance of developing your vision, and many other topics.

“This step-by-step guide will give you the tools to complete the college preparation and application process and come out debt free. I can’t guarantee full rides, however, if you do the work you will see results,” says Victoria. In addition to selling her book, Victoria offers consultations to understand what her clients are looking to achieve.

With one business under her belt, the young visionary is already on track to becoming a successful entrepreneur like her mother, who owns a health and wellness company. Victoria’s ultimate goal is to be a CPA & Financial Advisor as well as own her own dance studio. From the looks of things, she is well on her way to conquering any obstacle she chooses.

Victoria adds, “I am forever grateful and thankful to God for allowing me the opportunity to share my story with others. I want to thank all of my friends and family who assisted me on this journey. But most of all, I want to thank my mother, father, and sister who has supported me during my writing and publishing process.”

“You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21 NLT

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