Merit Based: The simplest and easiest way to earn scholarship is to have good grades and get a good test score. Colleges have a grid system that automatically qualifies students for scholarship money based on their academic merit. Do well in school and study and practice for SAT/ACT tests, then apply to college and see what happens!
Essays: Oftentimes a candidate is selected based upon their essay. It is a great idea to get one well written essay on the topic of goals and ambitions, then use this essay for all scholarship applications. Tweak and piecemeal it to fit the specific criteria. There are resources available to help write an essay- contact English teachers and others to help edit and proofread. Being able to show grit and ambition through words will go a long way to earning a scholarship.
Letters of Recommendation: Most scholarships require two letters of recommendation. It is a great idea to have a prepared resume or “brag sheet” to give to the person you would like to write your recommendation. Choose someone who knows you well, but is very professional and well written. Some good candidates are bosses, teachers, or church leaders. Make copies of letters so that they can be used for multiple scholarship applications.
Volunteerism/Leadership: The students who shine the brightest on an application are the ones that show volunteerism and leadership experience. Start early in the high school career and keep a record of all hours and experiences. Join clubs, campaign for leadership positions, volunteer for Red Cross, Salvation Army, Youth Coalition, Youth Court, etc. Then brag about your accomplishments in the humblest way possible!
Where to find applications: Find applications for scholarships on Erica Marshall’s Google Classroom. See her for a join code if needed.
Other Financial Aid: Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may qualify for a Pell Grant that is FREE money that goes toward tuition and does not need to be repaid. You also will be offered student loans through this program with benefits such as no interest or payments until graduation. Many scholarships require a FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) in order to be considered for an award. Go to fsaid.ed.gov to create and ID, then go to fafsa.gov to complete the application. You will need a non-school email address, social security number, most recent taxes, and a parent’s FSA ID. FAFSA opens doors, submit it by March 1st to qualify for the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship (worth up to $3500 and renewable each year!).