Category: Scholarships

5 Ways To Improve Your Chances At An Academic Scholarship

Getting a scholarship for college is no easy task, with only around 25 percent of high school students receiving money via scholarship or grant when entering college. It’s a competitive world to get a scholarship, but it isn’t impossible. If you’re worrying about how you’re going to pay for college, follow these five steps so that you can improve your chances at an academic scholarship.

Get Those Grades Up

This one should go without saying, but you need to get your grades up if you want to be able to get an academic scholarship of any kind. For those that aren’t financial-based, there’s almost no chance that you’ll be able to receive a scholarship if your grade point average isn’t above 3.0. The higher the better, so make sure that you’re really focusing on getting your GPA by nailing your homework and studying hard for tests.

Most of the scholarships that you’ll sign up for are going to be earlier on in your high school career, so you have to start strong. When there’s any chance for extra credit, make sure that you’re taking it. If you’re somehow able to get above a 4.0 GPA with extra credit, then colleges and scholarships are going to be lining up to introduce themselves to you.

Study For the Tests

Outside of your grade point average, the thing that scholarship sponsors look for more than anything is your test scores. There are two main tests that sponsors are looking for, and those are the ACT and SAT. The SAT used to be the gold standard for college entrance exams, but the ACT has ended up taking over and holding more weight for decisions.

The ACT is graded on a score of 1 to 36, with four separate tests comprising of English, math, science, and reading. These four tests are then given a composite score, and most full-ride scholarships are given to those that score 28 or higher. Many scholarships, though, will start at 22 and you’ll want to be in the 25-28 range for more opportunities.

Keep Studying

The best part of taking the ACT and SAT is that you can take the test over again and you’re not defined for the rest of your life by that first score. With that in mind, you’ll want to keep studying and use that knowledge of your first test to help you perfect your test-taking abilities. Sure, it can be a hassle to try and nail the same questions over and over, especially when you’re not sure which ones you got wrong, but practice makes perfect.

It can’t be understated just how important these test scores are for college entrance, as well as your scholarship opportunities. The closer that you can get to that elusive 30 number, the better your chances are for landing an academic scholarship. Even a GPA that’s lacking in perfection can be overcome by a strong test score.

School Selection

In most states, you’ll be able to select what school you want to attend rather than be stuck in the closest school in your district. You should take advantage of this opportunity if it exists so that you can attend the best school available. This will not only give you the best preparation for college but also give you a chance to rank high amongst elite students.

Part of winning scholarships is having a high class ranking, as those in the top 25 percent are much more likely to earn an academic scholarship while the top 1-5 percenters are almost a shoo-in. It can be easier to earn a high ranking at a smaller school, but if you can prove that you rank high among a large class size, that’s even more impressive.

Get Involved

Extracurricular activities have almost nothing to do with academics in most cases, but having them as part of your resume strongly increases your chances of earning an academic scholarship. Sponsors want to see that you’re able to handle a busy schedule while also helping your community and maintaining strong grades.

Really, that’s all there is to it. Make sure that your class ranking is high by studying hard, taking tests well, earning extra credit, and getting involved with your community or participating in sports. Follow all of these tips and you’re sure to be receiving scholarship offers while still in high school.

5 Hacks You Need To Know To Increase Your Chance Of A College Scholarship

A lot of us tend to think of scholarships like they’re the lottery, and that even the best ones are completely chosen at random. That couldn’t be further from the truth, though, as the sponsor of a scholarship is putting their reputation on the line to help get you through college. Instead, there are a few things that you need to do to make sure that you’re actually getting recognized in the scholarship process.

If you’ve been applying around for scholarships but haven’t heard anything back, you might need a little bit of help. Thankfully, we have a few hacks to share that will help get your scholarship application noticed and on top of the pile. Here are our top five hacks:

1. Fish and the Pond

One of the first things that scholarship sponsors are looking for is to see how you did in your class. If you rank in the bottom half or even the 26th-50th percentile, your chances of a scholarship are going to almost always be based on financial need. However, those that are in the top 25 percent and especially in the top five percent are going to get some serious looks.

With that in mind, make sure to take a look at your class size. If you’re already a bright student that’s carrying a 3.9 grade point average but are in a large class size, that might not be enough to be in the top one or two percent. However, if there’s a chance to transfer to a smaller school where that 3.9 GPA is going to stand out above the rest. Think of it as a star football player taking a starting job at a small school instead of riding the bench at Alabama.

2. Help Your Community

It should go without saying that you should be helping your community as much as you can in any way that you can. However, if you want to use that as a chance to help your scholarship opportunities, that’s also great. Many scholarships are based on community service regardless of how you’re performing academically.

Even on the ones where scholarship awards are academic-based, community service helps you to stand out tremendously. Make sure to mark down every hour of service, get someone to sign off on your hours, and place it into a nice presentation. Not many sponsors want to simply see a handwritten sheet of when you volunteered.

3. Bug Your Teachers

When you think of a scholarship like a job application, you’ll know just how important it is to have people that recommend you. These two really do go hand in hand as letters of recommendation help boost any potential scholarship chances, the same way that they would a job.

Ask any teacher in classes in which you’ve performed well to give you a letter of recommendation. Depending on how well you did, the recommendations might be a little vague, but quantity is sometimes better than quality. The more glowing reviews you have from teachers and members of the community, the better your scholarship odds.

4. Employment Opportunities

Speaking of employers, if you have a part-time job, that’s going to look great on a scholarship application. It’s going to look even better if the company that you’re working for is offering a scholarship opportunity. Most major companies will provide a chance for their college-bound employees to receive a scholarship, and even some local businesses will offer small scholarships.

Even if you don’t have a job, take a look at where your parents work. Their companies may offer scholarships to employees and their families. That would actually be more likely as many major companies tend to not hire people until they’re already out of high school.

5. Financial Findings

It might be an uncomfortable topic to talk about, but make sure that you know how much your parents are making. You’re going to need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and that information will have to be on there. This will determine how much you’ll need for college and will be a requirement for many scholarships.

Your financial situation may make you eligible for more scholarship opportunities than you first thought. While some families might be able to make ends meet, the extra money for tuition might not be there and scholarships are needed.

Best STEM Scholarships Available For Students

When heading to college, you’re already taking on a big challenge by going into one of the STEM fields. STEM, of course, means science, technology, engineering, and math. These are the most difficult college majors that require the hardest work but end up producing some of the highest-paying jobs around. These jobs also may require graduate-level studies, which means many years in college.

Naturally, that many years will mean that you’ll need a lot of money to get through school. While loans can be repaid, scholarships are the best way of receiving funding for college. There are many STEM scholarships around, but some truly stand out as the best. Here are five of the top STEM scholarships available for students that should be applied to for any student.

Breakthrough Junior Challenge Scholarship

Very few scholarships offer the amount of money that can be made from the Breakthrough Junior Challenge Scholarship. Each year, the winner (and there is only one winner) receives $250,000 while another $50,000 goes toward the student’s teacher. You don’t have to be in the final two years of high school to be eligible, either, as this scholarship is for children as young as 13 years old.

Instead of providing the same written application that you’d be submitting to many other scholarships, the BJCS requires a video to be submitted starting each April with deadlines coming in June. The winner is then announced in September. The BJCS was founded in 2015 by Julia and Yuri Milner, who also created the popular Giving Pledge.

Generation Google Scholarship

While maybe not as lucrative as the BJCS, the Generation Google Scholarship (which is for the United States and Canada only) still does award $10,000 each year to each winner, with around 3,000 scholarships handed out so far. Applicants must be enrolled in college at the time of submission and be studying in a STEM field to receive the scholarship.

The best part is that the application process is incredibly easy, with an essay of fewer than 500 words describing your financial status and what you’ll do with the scholarship. The process moves rather quickly, too. Those that are heavily in need financially and have a strong academic record have a good chance of receiving the scholarship.

Davidson Fellows Scholarship

The Davidson Institute awards three scholarships each year of $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000 to those 18 and under in STEM categories as well as literature, music, and philosophy. Even teams of two are able to apply for the Fellows Scholarship. With each category comes different requirements, though there is no minimum age for the scholarship. What you will need, though, is a visual model that includes photographs, PowerPoints, and more.

You don’t have to be the most educated to receive the Fellows Scholarship, but you should be able to demonstrate knowledge that would be considered graduate level in college. Even if you don’t win, you may be featured at the Davidson Institute as an honorable mention, though there is not a cash prize, it looks great on other scholarship applications.

Collegiate Inventors Competition

There is over $100,000 in prize money awarded each year during the annual Collegiate Inventors Competition, which includes a $15,000 top prize for graduate students and $10,000 for undergraduates. This is a great opportunity for any student that wants to show off their invention and receive money for educational purposes.

Held at the United States Patent and Trademark Office headquarters, the Collegiate Inventors Competition, and not only do the winners receive their scholarship money but also get their patent acceleration certificate. Recent winners include those that invented a way to reduce pesticide pollution and a way to help people with sepsis.

United States Department of Defense SMART Scholarship

The USDoD has awarded thousands of scholarships over the years for those that are in one of 21 majors in STEM fields. The SMART Scholarship provides full tuition as well as a stipend of anywhere between $25,000 and $38,000 depending on the degree level. You won’t have to go job searching after finishing school, either.

That’s because the Department of Defense offers a guaranteed job after completing your degree. From working in degrees toward chemistry to oceanography, there is a solid range of fields to pick from. As long as you’re willing to work for the DoD, this is a perfect opportunity.