By Leanne Beane
What is a college scholarship?
A college scholarship is a free sum of money provided to students to help cover college-related expenses. They are typically provided by colleges or college-based institutions, but many areas possess additional scholarships that are sponsored by community members. Scholarships can be based upon academic achievements, co-curricular or extracurricular activities, hobbies, areas of study, and volunteering among other things.
Where can I find scholarships?
CollegeBoard is a good resource for finding scholarships. They have two main programs: Opportunity Scholarships and Scholarship Search. The Opportunity Scholarship program focuses on rewarding students who prepare for college. CollegeBoard provides a checklist for students to complete and enters them into a $500 drawing for each completed task and an additional $40,000 drawing when the checklist is complete. The drawings occur monthly, so the earlier a student applies, the higher their chances are of winning. The second program, the Scholarship Search, focuses on matching students to scholarships they are eligible for. Criteria includes situations, affiliations, interests, and professions.
Another good resource that is frequently overlooked is the websites of the colleges that the student is interested in, which may possess a list of scholarships hosted by the school, nearby businesses, and/or nearby community members.
Similarly, the Guidance page of Bellbrook’s website holds a list of local scholarship sponsors with application deadlines ranging from February to directly before the 2022-2023 school year begins. Additionally, there is a scholarship application that matches students to Bellbrook-based scholarships.
What are some tips for applying?
It is best to apply to as many scholarships as possible. Even if a student is able to pay for college through working part-time, it is better to cover the cost through scholarships and save work money for expenses after graduation.
Scholarships typically request similar information, so it is helpful to save a file containing data such as grades, GPA, co-curriculars, extracurriculars, volunteering hours, and financial information. Having this information accessible will speed up applications and reduce mental fatigue.
It is recommended that a student begin writing their college essays a month or two before the due date in order to relieve stress and provide extra time for editing. Teachers in any subject will be familiar with academic writing and can assist in polishing the final draft. There are also several free editing websites, such as Hemingway Editor and SlickWrite, that can assist with the flow and clarity of an essay.