Tarra Carter photoIn
November 2010, Tarra Carter received a letter in the mail from Golden Key
International Honour Society announcing their upcoming regional summit in
Niagara Falls. Carter – a busy college student from Alberta, Canada – set the
letter aside, not thinking much about it. Over the next few months, however,
e-mails about the event continued to hit her inbox and Carter ultimately
decided to attend the summit to learn more about the organization.

It
wouldn’t take long for her to realize she made the right decision.

Each year,
Golden
Key International Honour Society
– which operates more than 400
chapters at colleges and universities around the world – offers $1,000,000 in
scholarships and awards just for undergraduate and graduate student members.
One such program, the Undergraduate
Achievement Scholarship
, awards $125,000 in scholarships three times
annually (fall, spring and summer) to undergraduate members on the basis of
academics, leadership and service.

After the
summit, Carter joined Golden Key and was excited to discover she was eligible
to apply for scholarship money – especially since she was financing her own
education. Carter applied for the Fall 2011 Undergraduate Achievement
Scholarship and after much anxious anticipation, learned she was selected as a
recipient of a $5,000 scholarship in February of this year – just in the nick
of time. 

“That year I had decided to focus on school and getting a high
GPA. I knew how important the last two years are for applying to graduate
school, so I decided not to work,” said Carter. “I got a student line of credit
to pay for living expenses and school costs, but as the months passed that
money dwindled. Six out of the eight months [of school] I was stressed about
money.”

 “Winning
the scholarship put my financial stress on hold and allowed me to focus my
efforts on my schoolwork and excelling academically,” added Carter.

Carter, a
Psychology major, is now in her final year at Grant MacEwan University in her
hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. After graduation, Carter hopes to take a year
off before starting graduate school for a Masters of Counseling to gain more
practical psychology or counseling experience. As a volunteer for the Edmonton
Distress Line, Carter has received training in suicide prevention, domestic
violence and sexual assault, but she hopes to expand her resume to include
addictions counseling, youth counseling and group therapy.

“I have always really enjoyed customer service and the human
service industry,” said Carter. “I enjoy helping people and making people feel
good about themselves.”

Carter
says she came to this revelation about herself during the scholarship
application process, despite being initially overwhelmed by all the steps
required for her to submit a complete application. She also has advice for
other students –don’t let comparisons of yourself with other students discourage
you from applying for an award.

“Sometimes
when you are wrapped up in the academic grind you forget about some of your
academic accomplishments and achievements in the community. In writing my
statement of intent for the scholarship, I found the reflection process very
rewarding,” said Carter. “You can’t hurt yourself by just applying. You have
nothing to lose.”