It's never too soon to begin your college scholarship search! While most local scholarships are designated for students graduating this school year, there are plenty of scholarships available to students of all ages. Applying for scholarships is a numbers game, so the more scholarships you apply to, the better your chances are of actually winning one. The key to a great scholarship search is to start applying as soon as possible. I would recommend maintaining a scholarship folder and saving essays that can be used for multiple applications. Local scholarships usually become available in the spring.
Helpful information regarding the scholarship process:
How to Apply for a Scholarship (CollegeBoard)
Scholarship Application Tips (fastweb.com)
Winning a College Scholarship (ivypanda.com)
Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship (deadline October 31, 2020)
The Coca-Cola Scholarship program is an achievement based scholarship for high school seniors. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are selected each year to receive this $20,000 scholarship. Go to coca-colascholarsfoundation.org/apply/ to apply!
Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma (deadline Oct. 31)
The Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma offers a Senior Essay Contest each year. State winners receive a cash prize and the funds are for the winners to spend as they wish! 1st place receives $2,000, 2nd place receives $1500,… 10th place receives $200. This year's topic is: Oklahoma recently passed a law requiring Oklahoma high school students to correctly answer 60 out of 100 questions found on the US Naturalization test before receiving their diploma. The law also mandates students to study the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Emancipation Proclamation. Do you think politicians should be required to pass a basic US Civics test to hold office? Why or why not? Requirements and information are listed at mcfok.org/senior-essay-contest/.
Unigo.com offers several essay-based scholarships on a variety of fun topics. Scholarships range from $1,500 to $5,000. Applicants must be 13 years or older, a resident of the United States, and plan to enroll in a post-secondary school after graduating from high school. There are 12 scholarships to choose from (apply for all 12 if you want!); topics range from describing a funny incident to super powers to the zombie apocalypse. Deadlines are different for each scholarship so click here to check them out!
Oklahoma City Community Foundation Scholarships (deadlines vary)
The OCCF awards 120 different scholarships to Oklahoma students (worth nearly $2 million) each year. Create an account at occf.academicworks.com to see what scholarships are available and how to apply. Please note that Shawnee does NOT geographically fall under the "Central Oklahoma Guidance Counselor Network" and our students will NOT qualify for any scholarship that lists that as a requirement.
Oklahoma Youth With Promise Scholarship
One of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation scholarships is for students in foster care. This scholarship is for $3,000 per year. Create an account at occf.academicworks.com and apply for the Oklahoma Youth with Promise Scholarship by answering the supplemental questions.
Check out the list of available scholarships on this website under "Scholarships Available". Scholarship opportunities are listed as they become available. This website will list all local scholarships as they become available; however, this is not a comprehensive national list because not every scholarship opportunity is sent to Shawnee High School. Fastweb.com is the most comprehensive national site. Here are some more possibilities.
http://www.questbridge.org/for-students/students-start-here (high performance/low income)
www.fastaid.com www.cashe.com www.collegequest.com
www.collegexpress.com www.collegenet.com www.okcis.intocareers.org
www.scholaraid.com www.scholarships.com www.bankofamerica.com
www.meritaid.com www.schoolsoup.com www.cappex.com
www.finaid.org www.collegegold.com www.dosomething.org
www.studentscholarships.org www.weeklyscholarshipalert.org http://offers.military.com/v/scholarships/flow/
National Merit Scholars--This is probably the most coveted prize/usually full-ride. This is awarded based on test scores on the PSAT which is taken during the junior year.
Regents Scholars--These scholarships are usually full-ride. How to win? Add up each of the sub scores on the ACT (English, Math, Science, Reading) The total must add to 134. (Usually a student must score a 34 or higher to have a chance at this award.)
Institutional Awards--These are academic scholarships awarded by a particular college. These awards are based on a predetermined set of criteria such as score on the ACT or SAT; GPA; and Class Rank. These scholarships are different at each school and often have a different dollar amount for different test scores.
Performance Based Awards--These are usually awarded for outstanding achievement such as athletics, music, dance, theater, etc. These awards can be full-tuition or partial amounts. These require a high level of performance or require an audition.
Business/Corporate Awards--These are offered by a company or group. They can be national competitions or state-wide competitions. (Examples: Best Buy Scholarships, Coca-Cola Scholarships, Society for Women Engineers, etc)
These are difficult to win because the pool of competitors is usually large.
Local Scholarships--Local clubs and organizations offer some scholarships, but these are not available until the senior year (often these do not become available until the 2nd semester of the senior year.) Examples: Junior Service League, Kiwanis Club of Shawnee, Gladys Gibson Scholarship, Shawnee Regional Hospital Scholarship, etc.
Grants: FAFSA (Many times these awards are still referred to as Pell Grants.) Students can receive money based on family income by completing the FAFSA or Free Application for Student Aid. This is a government form that can only be completed by high school seniors after Jan. 1st of the year they plan to begin college. Many families will earn to much to qualify for grant money (money that does not need to be paid back), but most will qualify for student loans through the FAFSA application.
Essay Contests There are often essay contests for students in 9, 10, 11, and 12th grades. The dollar amount fluctuates and depends on the sponsoring group. Some are national scholarships, and students are competing with thousands of students from across the nation. Some are state-wide, so the pool of applicants drops. Essays are time consuming, and students need to determine how much time they have to devote to essay contests. Hint: Essay contests have strict requirements. Students may be disqualified for not double spacing an essay. Be attentive to every detail in the requirements.