When Kristina was 7, her father tragically died after a 4-year battle with brain cancer. Her family then slipped below poverty level and struggled to figure out their new life. Battling depression, eating disorders, and self-harm, she made the decision to take her own life—only to be stopped by a midnight phone call that set her on a path toward hope.
Haunted by the decision she had almost made the night before, Kristina decided to abandon her patterns of self-abuse, embrace gratitude, and start fighting for the life she wanted. She got involved in volunteer work, sports, and competitions. And even though her family still struggled financially, Kristina found things she could excel at and ways to keep herself positive.
Ultimately, despite average grades and test scores, she devised a plan to find college and scholarship success. She immersed herself in research, working to figure out what made a person successful in the scholarship application process and how she could personally stand out.
Her strategy allowed her to win the title of Miss Indiana Teen USA, travel to Haiti on missions work, win two Gold Medals in the Junior Olympics for gymnastics, coach a 45-member gymnastics team at age 16, and start a fundraiser that sent shoes to Tanzania and Haiti.
Kristina’s efforts really paid off when she was awarded over $500,000 in scholarships for college and was able to attend her dream school, Vanderbilt University, for free! Now Kristina is on a mission to help students find similar or even greater success!
Kristina shares her strategies to help others win scholarships and graduate from college debt-free in her book, Confessions of a Scholarship Winner, which has ranked in the Top 20 among all books on Barnes and Noble and in the Top 40 on all of Amazon, as well as topping the charts in Amazon’s College & University category.
She has been featured in Seventeen Magazine and Justine Magazine, and been seen on The Katie Couric Show, Fox & Friends, The 700 Club, Yahoo Finance, Better TV, and many other national media outlets
MEET THE COLLEGE NINJA
Many of you know Kristina Ellis (aka The College Ninja) from her book Confessions of a Scholarship Winner. Some of you may have met her at an event, or even somewhere random like the grocery store or airport! She loves meeting new people and helping them however she can. She originally started this site as a place to offer downloads and resources from her book, but as she's seen the growing need for more information on how to navigate the often-confusing college prep process, she's expanded to offer more links, tools, and resources to help you build your college strategy! It's a work in progress, so she always welcomes your insight and feedback! Let's get to know Kristina a little better: