Well readers, the time has come for the WCI scholarship competition. Here at WCI, we have been flabbergasted, first to see the outpouring of support from sponsors and readers magnifying our $2,000 contribution into a total of $12,625 for the scholarship winner, and second to see the flood of highly qualified applicants. When we first announced this thing last Spring, we had no idea if anyone else would contribute and we weren't even sure we would have 5 applicants (we even had a back-up charity picked out in case we didn't get 5.) In the end, we were getting 5 applications a day. We hit our 100 application limit several days before the deadline, and in fact ended up reading all 108 that came in before we were able to change the scholarship page to show that we were full. Even after that we continued to receive applications. In fact, some people (cough, cough residents) got so carried away that they applied without even realizing they didn't qualify for it.
A special thank you is in order for all of our “Gold Finalists,” most of whom have been regular advertisers with and long-time supporters of the mission of The White Coat Investor. Please thank them with your business.
The White Coat Investor, LLC
Larry Keller (Physician Financial Services) – Disability and Life Insurance
Jon Appino (Contract Diagnostics) – Contract Review/Negotiation
Michael George (FPL Capital Management) – Investment Management
Darien Rowayton Bank (DRB) – Student Loan Refinancing
Sandi Frith (Huntington Bank) – Doctor Mortgages
Jamie Fleischner (Set for Life Insurance) – Disability and Life Insurance
Jay Meadors (Fifth Third Mortgage) – Doctor Mortgages
Michael Relvas (MR Insurance) – Disability and Life Insurance
Realty Mogul – Syndicated/Crowdsourced Real Estate Investments
Michael Wagner (BBVA/Compass Bank) – Doctor Mortgages
Chris Roberts (Regions Bank) – Doctor Mortgages
OnCall Advisors – Contract Reviews, Disability Insurance, and Financial Planning
Physician Home Loans at Citywide Home Loans – Doctor Mortgages
SoFi – Student Loan Refinancing and Doctor Mortgages
W. Ben Utley (Physician Family Financial Advisors) – Fee-only Financial Advising Firm
Jude Boudreaux (Upperline Financial) – Fee-only Financial Planning Firm
LinkCapital – Student Loan Refinancing
We are excited to give something back from the financial success we have seen and continue to see here at WCI and also to further our mission of improving financial literacy among doctors and other high income professionals. But we were truly humbled when we started reading the applications. It was similar to the experience I had as an MS4 serving on our school's admissions committee. There were so many awesome people, two or three times as many as we had spots in our medical school, that I wanted to give my spot away! Likewise, after reading these essays, I'd like to give all 100 of you a $12K scholarship! Your essays reaffirmed my faith in humanity, from the idealism of the incoming MS1s to the realism of the soon to graduate MS4s. We had a few applications from PAs, pharmacy students, law students, and dental students, but the vast majority of our applicants were medical students. Many of you have done and are doing incredible charity work here in the states and in dozens of third world countries. Others have faced significant financial challenges during medical school. Several emigrated from war-torn countries, including one that now attends medical school in his fourth language. Another student literally had his medical school destroyed around him in the Haiti earthquake. Some of you have great desire to serve in one of the lower paying specialties, but are finding your massive loan burden to be a significant obstacle to your career goals.
We purposely told applicants to write about anything they like. Some wrote about a patient, or about their mother or father. Others told their own story, which ranged from tragic to humorous to inspiring. Others wrote excellent essays on financial topics which would make excellent guest posts on this site. In the end, our lack of specific instructions made our job that much harder. We laughed and we cried and we read and reread the essays. We initially whittled down the 108 to 21 “quarter-finalists,” then to 9 “semi-finalists,” and finally to the 5 finalists whose essays you (along with the ten previously chosen judges) will read this week. We tried to provide the best of the various types of essays we received, from inspirational stories, to incredible charity, to financial need, to financially interest, to career potential. If you were not chosen as a finalist (and if you didn't get an email from me last week you were not,) thank you for applying anyway. It was a pleasure to learn more about you and better luck next time. There were at least 20 essays that we thought were exceptional, but there can only be one winner and unfortunately that choice will, by necessity, be somewhat subjective.
The posts are run unedited (except for one very minor instance to remove profanity from a direct quote) in a random order. Any misspellings or bad grammar came in with the original essay and I made no attempt to correct them. Feel free to comment after the posts this week, but please keep your comments kind and appropriate. These are people's real lives you're reading about. The judges won't be reading your comments prior to making their decision. Each of the ten judges will choose their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices, and points will be assigned. The person with the most points gets the whole pot of money. Barring a tie (which will require the recruitment of additional judges) we hope to announce the winner right here a week from today. At that point, the identities of the finalists and each of the judges will be announced as well.
Good luck to all the finalists!
Did you contribute to the scholarship? Did you apply? Why or why not? Comment below!