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James Heil talks about being a Founders Scholar

When I submitted my application for the Founders Scholarship in December of 2014, I was half-way through my senior year of high school, stressed out of my mind trying to figure out which college to pick and how the heck I was going to pay for it.

Photo by Kelby Lorenz
James Heil

I imagine you’re in a similar place right now, so let me offer this piece of advice: you’ll figure it out. Take a deep breath, drink some water, maybe do a few jumping jacks, and breath again. As stressful as it is, you’ve almost made it through high school and that’s challenging enough, so give yourself a pat on the back.

I get it, it’s expensive. However, that’s one benefit of Founders: all your hard work for the last four years is finally going to pay off – literally. Plus, by applying for Founders, you’re taking a step toward becoming a part of a group of passionate students – people who strive for academic success as well as developing a deeper understanding and application of their faith. Basically, you get to meet a bunch of people who are as invested as you are, which encourages growth and creates an environment of accountability.

When interview day arrives and you’re on campus, dressed to the nines, sweaty palms buried in your pockets and nervous laughter is on your lips, it’s exciting. Honestly there’s nothing quite like the experience of Founders. So, here are two things to recognize:

  1. Everyone else is just as nervous as you are.
  2. Some of the faces you see on the day of interviews are the faces of people you will call friends in the coming months.

Heil talks about benefits of Founders Scholarship

Click below to hear James’ thoughts on how the Founders Scholarship can benefit you academically.


Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

Seriously – everyone is nervous. I mean, there’s a lot at stake, and just because some guy or gal across the table has a shiny white smile and looks confident enough to be president, don’t be fooled. True, some people are better at faking confidence than others, and maybe you get more nervous than the person next to you (that’s me, for sure – I’m an introvert at heart, so the idea of group interviews was mortifying), but overall, take some assurance in the fact that you’re not alone.

It’s also good to remember that there are group interviews and individual interviews – just because you may not feel great about one doesn’t mean you won’t rock the other.


Heil’s thoughts during his Founder’s application

Listen to James’ perspective of filling out his application for the Founders Scholarship.


Friends ‘til the end!

Sitting around the table with you, standing in the hall waiting with you, eating with you, your fellow applicants will be people you’re already familiar with on move-in day. I know for most people moving into a college dorm is accompanied by a somewhat frightening thought: I don’t really know anyone here! But fear not, because scattered across campus will be the shining faces of other Founders students, people you’ve met and talked to and shared nervous excitement with – so kudos to you, you do know some people here! And it’s going to be great getting to know them, and others, even better in the coming years.

Founders made it possible for me to attend Evangel, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity it’s provided for me. Much greater than the financial opportunity, however, is the community I’ve been blessed with.

What’s so amazing about being a Founder’s student, for me at least, is being able to experience life with other high-achieving students. Everyone gets discouraged from time to time, and there are moments in college where academics seem burdensome and impossible, but I know I can count on my fellow Founders students to give me a boost of encouragement to keep pursuing academic success, even when it’s tough.

So, as you buckle down for the last parts of high school, as you fill out all those scholarships and FAFSA forms and applications, as you study the practice interview questions with friends or family, and as you pull on to Evangel’s campus for Founders Day, remember that all the work and stress is not for nothing. You’re striving for an opportunity to thrive and do life with a stellar host of dedicated students.


Advice for future Founders applicants

Listen to advice from James’ about applying for the Founders Scholarship.


For more information on the Founders Scholarship, visit the Evangel University Admissions page.