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Some people think there’s only a limited amount of money

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When I was in high school, a lot of my friends and I applied for scholarships. Most of my friends came from middle-class families; a few came from wealthier families. When the wealthier kids applied for scholarships, I remember others getting get mad at them: “Why are you applying for those? You’re taking away the chance for someone else to get that scholarship money that you don’t even need,” they said.

I found that ridiculous. First of all, you don’t know how rich someone is just from looking at the car someone’s parents drive. In fact, The Millionaire Next Door reveals, quite counterintuitively, that most millionaires drive older cars.

Second, most of those scholarships never gave away their funds, anyway (more on that in a second).

Third, stop doing someone else’s job for them! It’s not your job to decide whether you get the award or not–it’s theirs. You just apply and let them pick the best candidate.

I frame this by making the distinction between a zero-sum issue or not. And when it comes to philanthropy, I happen to know it’s not.

I know because I have my own scholarship, The Sethi Scholarships. I released it last year to my high school–a free $1,000 to anyone who wrote a few short essays. Do you know how many people applied?

The Sethi Scholarships

Zero.

This is all too common at philanthropic organizations. I’ve consulted for a large one, work closely with another, and have friends at many others. They’re dying for more people to apply to each award they offer. And in my experience, if they run out of money and find an extraordinary candidate, they’ll often find the money to make it work. I know I would have.

That’s why I find the approach of “there’s only a limited amount of money!” so foreign. Coming from the small-time businesses I started a long time ago to being in the world of entrepreneurship and venture capital with a lot bigger numbers, it’s simply not a zero-sum game.

As Paul pointed out in my post about PBwiki raising venture money,

There’s two models of getting rich that seem to prevail in blogs – the scarcity model where you live like a hermit and save your way to wealth and the prosperity model where you create new value (and wealth). I prefer the later and you seem to also.

Right on.

I never quite understood the idea of a limited scarcity of money. It’s just not true. When people say, “My boss can’t afford to pay me more because the budget is limited,” do they count how much it would cost to replace you (advertising for a new person, recruiting, logistics, signing papers, legal fees, training)? Have they really researched the best way to negotiate their salary, including talking to experts and reading books?

Or are they just complaining about a world that has limited resourced that they seemingly have no access to?

I’m tired of whiners who don’t apply to stuff. In my inbox, I have a folder called Failures. If I don’t get 5 every month, I’m disappointed in myself because it means I’m not doing enough stuff. Whether it’s a lunch with someone or a new speaking gig, I’m trying.

I’m also writing this today because the deadline for the Women2.0 event is tomorrow–and all it takes is an idea on a cocktail napkin. The winner gets $1,000 and a meeting with top venture capitalists. Why wouldn’t you apply?

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75 Comments on "Some people think there’s only a limited amount of money"

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Bethany
9 years 3 months ago

Very good points. I’m in a scholarship program designed to encourage women in technology (although they do accept men into the program!) and they give away $5000 to a full ride to students at my college. The scholarship program is geting a lot of pressure from the university to get more people in the scholarship program in order to increase enrollments at my school. However, they’re having a really hard time getting enough qualified applicants.

Terry
Terry
9 years 3 months ago

I’ll trll you why I don’t apply. I have an idea, but I don’t have a team. Also, I am not female and I am not under 35. Tell me where an individual male over 35 can apply and I’m on it.l

Also, I have a minimum wage job and as I understand the VC world, they check out the principal(s) as much as or more than the business plan, so I doubt I’d measure up to their standards.

Kevin Cherrick
Kevin Cherrick
9 years 3 months ago

I wouldn’t apply because I’m not a woman. Warning: Tangent ahead! How important is it to have patent protection before trying to build a team. It’s been a barrier to me and I just want to get on with it.

Kevin Cherrick
Kevin Cherrick
9 years 3 months ago
Hey, I’m not using gender as a qualification or a requirement to be on my team. I won’t add some random woman so I can write my idea down on a napkin and send it in. If my idea is worth anything, I’ll find the best available (and interested) team members to build it, gender, age, race, have nothing to do with it. I certainly understand the idea behind the woman 2.0 event, and think it’s a good idea, but isn’t the market essentially saying it isn’t needed if you can’t get ONE napkin to get a sitdown with a… Read more »
Terry
Terry
9 years 3 months ago

Excellent point – and one I have a hard time holding onto – thanks!

I have a lot of experience reading job listings and have self-selected out of applying for so many, thinking they’re asking for the moon and I’m not up to their standards.

I forget that while they’re asking for the moon, they’re usually not likely to get everything they want in an applicant, so my prospects are better than I think.

Enrique
Enrique
9 years 3 months ago
Ramit: Maybe, the students in your high school don’t know about your scholarship. Yes, there is a lot of self-doubt in our society that’s why they are so few entreprenerus in relation to the population. I liked what you said- I’m tired of whiners who don’t apply to stuff. In my inbox, I have a folder called Failures. If I don’t get 5 every month, I’m disappointed in myself because it means I’m not doing enough stuff. You have associatted failure with improvement. Great way of seen it. I never quite understood the idea of a limited scarcity of money.… Read more »
Canadian Money
9 years 3 months ago

You make some excellent points! Once I was in a company training course and sitting at a table with a guy who years later became the head of my department. I did badly on an exercise and said something negative. His response was…don’t worry about it…see it as a learning experience. I have forgotten the course, the exercise but I always recall what he said. His subsequent successes proved the value of his “view failure as learning” attitude.

The Financial Ladder
9 years 3 months ago

Amen! Don’t let those opportunity buses pass you by!

Azraael
Azraael
9 years 3 months ago

Excellent points.

It seems to me that the (or at least A) big problem is information… where can someone find out what opportunities are out there? Is there a “google scholarships” out there? Or does one have to first look up institutional contacts, then figure out if they offer anything, and only then apply?

Stefanie
Stefanie
9 years 3 months ago

I don’t have a team, I DO have a napkin, I didn’t find out about this until today, overnighting won’t work this late, my idea is so small and from reviewing the website, they are clearly looking for major ideas.

Philip Plante
Philip Plante
9 years 3 months ago

Stefanie, I think that is exactly what Ramit is talking about. Overnight the idea RIGHT NOW, it will get there in time.

Don’t let that stop you.

charles
charles
9 years 3 months ago

excellent points, especially on failure. failure is inevitable, not letting that stop you is your personal choice.

jrk
9 years 3 months ago
It’s funny you should post this, as I just had such an exchange with a friend and mentor (now an EECS Prof. at Davis and PBwiki fan) about my application for an Intel fellowship this year. As he points out, I have 3 years of NSF Graduate Research Fellowship coverage, I just got my 2nd annual NVIDIA fellowship, and my advisor has an NSF CAREER grant, Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, etc. Shouldn’t we opt out to save some money for the less well-off? In this case, Intel only runs its fellowship program through the top 5-10 EECS programs, and they… Read more »
Terry
Terry
9 years 3 months ago
As a chronically poor person earning minimum wage, I might have some insight into the “limited amount of money” or zero-sum mentality common among the poor and among the young. Their financial experiences often have been limited to zero-sum and/or scarcity transactions. The residential rental arrangement – typically by far the largest expense for the poor and/or young – is seen as zero-sum or worse if you’re on the “wrong” side of it. (You pay X dollars rent, your landlord gains X dollars income. Or worse – you pay X dollars rent, you have to eat ramen to make it… Read more »
Dan
Dan
9 years 3 months ago

I wouldn’t apply because it’s for women only.

Nir
9 years 3 months ago

It’s interesting that so many are so quick to give themselves exuses thinking that it won’t be worth the trouble.

Personally for me, as a High School Softmore, I can’t want until I can apply for your scholarship Ramit.

K
9 years 3 months ago
“Is there a “google scholarships” out there? Or does one have to first look up institutional contacts, then figure out if they offer anything, and only then apply?” I walked into the guidance office at my high school, asked (an important step) and was given a list of scholarships. There are also scholarship guide books available (the libraries usually have copies, if not they’re worth the purchase price). And I agree with Ramit. I paid my way through school by scholarships and work terms, graduating with no debt. For many scholarships (like writing an essay on why I liked a… Read more »
Sandy
Sandy
9 years 3 months ago
In my senior year I was only interested in money for college, not to start a company or do a project. I would have been very turned off by the fact that it looks like you are not offering the money for college. (Also, in high school I had no interest in business or entrepreneurship, so that probably plays into it – I was not the type of person you seem to be searching for.) Also, I agree with the poster above who wondered how many students knew of your scholarship. What did you do to publicize your contest?
Enrique
Enrique
9 years 3 months ago
To Terry: I find it painful to spend on what amounts simply to life maintenance. You might want to challenge your beliefs from spending money to get an education to inveting money. I would say get in debt to get a college education. As you gain more knowledge, You will be able to see more opportunities on doing what you enjoy and make money at the same time. Paying for your education even if you have to get college loans is an investment on you and your future. You can start at your community college in your town.
Terry
Terry
9 years 3 months ago
I *already* got in debt to get a college education. Worse, I had saved up $4K by the time I graduated high school in the mid 70s (probably about $20K in today’s dollars), blew it all on college, and then took out student loans while working min wage jobs. My student loans are currently in default (making partial and negatively amortizing payments) and therefore I cannot get any loans or grants at all. Also, an aggressive debt scavenger has bought up almost all my old non-student-loan debt (charged off when health issues put me in hospital and unable to work… Read more »
Sanjay
Sanjay
9 years 3 months ago

This advice is so useful. I know a few companies who are looking to fund science students(high school, undergrad..) who want to eventually do medical research. Post here.

Carter Adler
9 years 3 months ago
I know the truth of what Ramit is saying. My wife and I were both actively involved in marching bands in high school & college. Money is tight for the universities around us, and on no less than 5 occassions (and probably closer to 10) we have told the university band staff to call us the next time the do their annual fund drive. Each year we set aside some money to give to them. At this point we’ve got nearly $2,000 saved up, because year after year, they never ask! If they aren’t calling us — and we have… Read more »
JW
JW
9 years 3 months ago

If there was only a limited amount of money then we’d be doing an awful lot of worrying about inflation for no good purpose.

Beejay
Beejay
9 years 3 months ago
No surprise no one applied for your so-called scholarship of only $ 1.000. Who could possibly study a whole year on such a low amount? If you are really poor, about $ 100 a month is simply not enough support. I am surprised you don’t comprehend that. If you had studied the situation that poor students are in, you either would not have started this initiative, or would have made more money available. Now it seems your scheme is more geared at attracting attention to yourself then it was ever intended at allowing anyone from a low income environment to… Read more »
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[…] from I Will Teach You to Be Rich, writes about how much money is lost from unclaimed scholarships each year.. The money is out there, you just need to apply for it! Don’t be shy or hesitant to apply for […]

Tyler Willis
9 years 3 months ago

I think the value of Ramit’s advice and introductions is significantly more valuable to the said young entrepreneur. That said the 1000 dollars is a great gift. It can provide for a laptop, meal plans, part of tuition, etc. Intelligent and conscientious philanthropy is just like anything else — the biggest barrier is going from giving $0 to giving something.

Ramit – Excellent job! Just drive past nay-sayers.

Ryan Johnson
Ryan Johnson
9 years 3 months ago

Agreed. Keep up with the scholarship.

So does this count as the Millionaire Next Door book review?

K
9 years 3 months ago

“No surprise no one applied for your so-called scholarship of only $ 1.000. Who could possibly study a whole year on such a low amount?”

Beejay, this has to be an April Fool’s post. There is no way you can honestly believe this.

For answering 4 simple questions, Ramit is offering a student $1,000 and mentoring. The mentoring alone is worth more than $1,000. Heck, I would PAY $1,000 to get mentored by Ramit.

Should this be the student’s only source of income? Of course not.

Brittany
Brittany
9 years 3 months ago

Ramit,

I completely agree that $1,000 here or there really adds up. I went to Indiana University and didn’t pay a dime. Not because I got one full scholarship, but because I applied for every one I was eligible for. That $1000 here or there quickly adds up to tuition, room, board, and less student loans for the scholarship recipient.

I think what you’re doing is great – keep it up 🙂

K
9 years 3 months ago
Ramit, Some of the responses on this thread remind me of some clients I deal with on the weekends. Every Saturday during tax season, I prepare free tax returns for low income taxpayers. Every Saturday, at least one person yells at me for doing the tax return incorrectly or for not supplying them with unlimited print outs or for some other nonsense. And by yell, I mean yell and scream. Every Saturday, I say that this will be my last Saturday. But the next Saturday, I go back. Why? Because its the right thing to do. Because maybe one day,… Read more »
Gabe
9 years 3 months ago
I don’t even know where to begin responding to Beejay’s off-base tirade, but here are a few points: – This is a scholarship for entrepreneurs, not a need-based financial aid grant. While helping poor students is certainly a noble goal this is not the focus of the scholarship. – $1,000 is not a trivial amount – I think Ramit covered this well enough. It’s a myth that successful financial aid packages are the result of one or two massive grants. Plenty of people pay for college through a combination of smaller scholarships that add up. – And the fact that… Read more »
S
S
9 years 3 months ago

A $1000 won’t get you very far?

FYI that would pay the tuition of a full time student for two years at a San Diego Community College (full time as in 12 units semester, two semesters a year).

Caitlyn
Caitlyn
9 years 3 months ago
I’m a high school senior, and my mom is always ticked off that I won’t apply for any scholarships, besides those that knock on my door. Last year, I watched all my friends apply to 10+ scholarships, invest so much energy and time, and only make $200, tops. So, besides the National Merit Finalist designation and MD Distinguished scholar money, both of which I had little choice in completing, I’ve entered for no scholarships. Instead, I’ve worked for a $7/hr, 17hr/week at a local used book store. I’ve earned about $4,000 this since last June, I’d estimate. (Not much, but… Read more »
Mike
Mike
9 years 3 months ago
@#36: “First, many “scholarships” are so stupid–‘write 1500 words on patriotism’s importance to geology.’… You give me $700, I tell you why goat farming holds America’s future. There’s no dignity there.” My take: Youthful idealism, at best, also lined with mild to significant arrogance and immaturity. To you, “BSing” about these topics may seem undignified, but to another candidate (or a goat farmer), the topic may be heartfelt. As Ramit said earlier, your excuses are just selecting you out of the pool. If you don’t want to apply, fine, but by becoming “excessively acrimonious” about the process you’re just limiting… Read more »
Andy K
9 years 3 months ago
I’ll defend Caityln and the critics, to a point, on this thread. First off, both the napkin thing and Ramit’s scholarship are poorly communicated and marketed. If guys are thinking they can’t participate, and nobody applies for your scholarship, maybe this will go into the Failures folder and lead to improvement (I love that idea, it’s a great exercise in humility). The napkin thing tries to be hip and minimal and fails to inform. The “scholarship” is presented as VC for a student-sized projects, it says nothing about using that money to pay for college (though that could be formulated… Read more »
Dan
Dan
9 years 3 months ago
You wrote >>This is all too common at philanthropic organizations. I’ve consulted for a large one, work closely with another, and have friends at many others.>> New to your site – think its great. I’m currently in the rat race of corporate world now (sucking it up for one more year as they pay for my education – now what to do with it) and remember the days when i was my own boss (only a couple years ago). Do you have a list of philanthropist websites? I’m not in as much need of personal finance info you pass along… Read more »
Caitlyn
Caitlyn
9 years 3 months ago
I AM sorry if I came across as arrogant; I’m in the middle of a difficult decision–I have to take a full ride + $4,000 cash/yr to UMD or pay up some $33,000 to the delightful UChicago. It was unwise to comment on this blog after leaving an animated discussion with my mom on the subject. 😉 I feel that the scholarship system is, if not broken, inefficient, and I wish that I could access that money without compromising my values, misguided as they might appear to you. Mike, I wish that you reserve judgment on my character and rather… Read more »
Mike
Mike
9 years 3 months ago
Andy K (#38) said “Mike, shame on you for calling someone working hard to pay for college lazy.” Response: I’ll stand by my original judgement, but I will admit I was a bit harsh with my expression of it. I commend Caitlyn for working a part-time job while attending school and for actually saving much of the income from it. My original point is that one person’s “frivolous scholarship” is another person’s bread and butter and shouldn’t necessarily be written off as a form of “prostitution”. Many a student (not necessarily Caitlyn) is in need of tuition assistance and find… Read more »
Terry
Terry
9 years 3 months ago

I got a National Merit Commendation (translation as I understand it: I would have been a Semi-Finalist in some other state, but my state had a high cutoff score I did not reach) and all I got was my state’s piddly competitive scholarship which was worth $100 if I stayed in-state which I didn’t because I was academically recruited by an out-of-state college and I went there even through they didn’t offer any money.

Marcus
9 years 3 months ago

A philanthropic organization can be willing to do really helpful things, but if no one knows about it… they won’t have any work to do.

I guess it all comes down to good PR.

Get the word out.

Word of mouth.

Stoney851
Stoney851
9 years 3 months ago
I remember growing up (I am currently 27), that the largest financial lesson taught was to save, save, save. I believe the mindset of limited resources are trickling down generation to generation. I do see light at the end of the tunnel. Parents taught their kids to save for the disaster, rainy day, or whatever. Obviously, there is some truth to that, but it faulters us in things like finding college money. It really boils down to laziness, in my opinion. There is always a better, or smarter way to do things. Thinking that there is nothing out there for… Read more »
Tamika
Tamika
9 years 3 months ago

Well I am a undergrad student with a 3.8 GPA and I have been looking for scholarships. So do you think you all can help me?

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[…] you’re not sure if you should, read what I’ve written before about applying here, here, here, and […]

Bala
8 years 10 months ago

Ramit,

Bala from India here. One of my cousin sister doing Graduation is looking for a scholarship assistance. Can you send me the participation details of this program?

I believe you can see my email id. If not please let me know I will send you that soon.

Thanks.
Bala

trackback

[…] are tons of ways to afford education. Here’s a book that might help. And here’s an inspiring article by Ramit at iwillteachyoutoberich.com about this […]

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[…] a blog entry by Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To be Rich.com. The original entry can be found here. This is one of the cores of abundance mentality vs a scarcity mentality. To believe there is an […]

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[…] That’s Keeping You Broke | Inspired Money Maker – How To Make Money Doing What You Love I Will Teach You To Be Rich Some people think there’s only a limited amount of money Mind-Manual “Some people think there’s only a limited amount of money” The Little […]

bruce banner
bruce banner
8 years 5 months ago

if no one applied for your scholarship that’s probably because casa’s counselors sucked, haha!
|bb|

DRB
8 years 4 months ago
A $1000.00 scholarship is a huge help. How many of us pick up a quarter we see on the street? Most kids don’t apply for scholarships and I have never understood why. Some of the reasons may be that they don’t have any knowledge of the scholarships. But finding out is part of the job. One of my children received two $500 scholarships, one $1000 scholarship, one $1500 scholarship, and one $4000 scholarship. Ask the guidance counselor, go online, ask the parent’s employer, and apply for them. Here is one kid’s attempt at funding their college education http://www.payformykidscollege.com
trackback

[…] not like there’s a limited amount of money or wealth to go around. There’s an ever growing amount: I Will Teach You To Be Rich Some people think there’s only a limited amount of money Mind-Manual “Some people think there’s only a limited amount of money” Back […]

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[…] Some people think there’s only a limited amount of money at I Will Teach You To Be Rich […]

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[…] to be had, but you have to make an effort to get it. Ramit Sethi makes that point in a post at I Will Teach You To Be Rich. He set up a $1,000 scholarship at his old high school and asked applicants to write some essays. […]

Nitin Rao
7 years 6 months ago

I’ve found it frustrating to see great opportunities, and very few applicants. The organizers lose our on access to the right talent, and applicants lose out on access to the right opportunities.

We’ve been running Let Me Know (http://www.letmeknow.in) to break this information barrier, finally. This is certainly a work-in-progress, but I’m happy that the over 500 opportunities we list is making an impact for a large number of students in India.

Shannon
Shannon
7 years 5 months ago
As someone who was poor and had poor friends, I can tell you exactly why poor people are ungrateful. They feel they are entitled to other people’s wealth. They grew up having the government do everything and pay for everything. It was not uncommon in my house or others homes to have a new computer or a new (used) car , plenty of presents at Christmas and the works because having the government pay for things freed up cash we could use to buy the things we really wanted. Everything was paid for, food, shelter, water, utilities, education, etc. Then… Read more »
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[…] some would call it, “free money.” It’s funny because Ramit Sethi wrote about how some people think there’s a limited amount of money and when I read the article it hit me that I am one of those people, sorry […]

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[…] this philosophy to people who believe there’s only a limited amount of money (and they have to protect theirs) or people who expect everything to be free. Though she […]

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[…] Then one day I read a post over at I Will Teach You To Be Rich that really opened up my eyes about scholarships. I realized that Ramit would probably want to hit me over the head with a laptop if he spoke to me […]

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7 months 2 days ago

Welche Nachrichten im Radio, im Fernsehen oder in der Zeitung veröffentlicht werden, ist
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Wie auch immer IHR Weg, IHRE Heilbehandlungen aussehen mögen, wir
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Einerseits lagert unser Körper selbst Kalzium ein, andererseits muss
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Hier nimmt man je eine Kurzhantel und legt sich mit dem Rücken auf die Hantelbank.

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Der Samstag von Beaver Creek kann der Start sein für eine
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Zentrum der Gesundheit Erfahrung

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Hinweis: Diese Webseite ist eine Sammlung von Informationen über früher und aktuell benutzte Hausmittel.

https://twitter.com/eriehner101

Das bezieht sich natürlich auf die körperliche Gesundheit Ihres Kindes genau so wie auf die seelische Unversehrtheit Ihres Sprösslings.

Medizin Website
3 months 17 days ago

Also, ich habe mich in letzter Zeit sehr viel mit der Ernährung beschäftigt,
bin heute auf diesen Artikel gestoßen.

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3 months 14 days ago

Leute, die einfach passiv essen, leben in dieser Hinsicht
nicht unter demokratischen Verhältnissen.

Shonda
3 months 11 days ago

Mit einem Heilfasten Plan kann man sehr schnell abnehmen, aber es gilt
auch das Gewicht danach zu halten und nicht wieder anzukommen.

sankonsultaustria.wordpress.com

Während der Einnahme von Ramilich bekam ich noch einen schönen Reizhusten, der nicht weggehen will.

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[…] Money is a plentiful resource. Since it’s just a representation of value, there is as much of it as there is value. When more people spend money, it moves around more. More people are giving and receiving value and getting the things they need and want. There is always more value, sothere’s always more money. […]

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1 month 15 days ago

Warum wir nicht ohne Gott als gesunde Menschen mit Hoffnung, Glaube und Erkenntnis wahrlich wirken können, erkläre
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WAZIRI MAPUNDA
WAZIRI MAPUNDA
20 days 23 hours ago
how are you? mt name is Waziri Mapunda from Tanzania, East Africa. Last year I wanted to take MASTERS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDIES at WALDEN UNIVERSITY in US. I got an admission but the problem was money. iam poor economucally. so I failed to proceed with studies because it was offered online. My ambition for this year is to take MASTERS OF EDUCATION IN ADMINISTRATION, POLICY AND PLANNING at OPEN UNIVERSITY OF TANZANIA. I have already applied and I have all qualifications. I talked to the admission offer at the open university he told me that iwill get an admission.Can… Read more »
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