- Scholarship Cautions
- Common Scholarship Categories
- Freshman Scholarship Advice
- Sophomore Scholarship Advice
- Junior Scholarship Advice
- Senior Scholarship Advice
Scholarships are the most publicized and talked about form of financial aid. When looking for a scholarship, students and parents need to keep the following in mind:
- Most scholarships are provided by the colleges themselves. If you are applying for a scholarship from a particular school, you must first make application for admission to that school. Usually the smaller the school the less competition there is for scholarship monies.
- A one-year scholarship is only for one year; a renewable scholarship can become a four-year scholarship
- When students and parents hear the words “financial aid,” they usually think scholarships. It is important to remember that most financial aid is not awarded in the form of scholarships but loans and grants.
- Smaller, local scholarships are often much easier to get than those sponsored by large organizations or businesses. Coca-Cola, for example, receives almost 10,000 applications for their 250 scholarships. A local Rotary Club may receive less than 10 application for their scholarship.
- Beware of scholarship scams. You don’t have to pay anyone to search for scholarships for you. There are plenty of free search sites on the Internet. Come to the College and Career Center for a list of these websites
Common Scholarship Categories
While it is not easy to obtain scholarships, students and parents who are willing to invest the time and energy may find that their efforts pay off. There are thousands of private scholarships every year. Most scholarships fall into one of the following categories:
- Academic – The majority of academic scholarships are given out by colleges themselves. The higher a student’s GPA, class rank, and test scores, the greater the scholarship opportunities.
- Minority – In order to have more diverse student body, many colleges are eager to attract minority students to their campuses. A number of these colleges offer scholarships to qualified minority applicants. Minority students should contact the financial aid office of any college they are considering and ask if minority scholarships are available
- Athletic – Outstanding athletes are often offered large scholarships. To insure that all athletes are prepared for college level work, the NCAA and NAIA have strict eligibility requirement that athletes must meet before they can receive a scholarship or even play a sport in college. These requirements can be very confusing. Athletes need to meet with your counselor as early as possible to discuss requirements and to make sure they are taking the right courses. For more information visit the NCAA website
- Talent – In order to win a talent scholarship, a student must truly be outstanding. They must also understand that there is usually a great deal of competition for these scholarships. While most talent scholarships are awarded in music, art, theater, and dance, talent scholarships are awarded in a variety of other areas (e.g., leadership, public speaking, film making, etc.) While clubs, organizations, and corporations all offer talent scholarships, most of these scholarships are awarded by the college the student plans to attend.
- Local – Local organizations provide numerous scholarships to students in their communities. These scholarships are generally smaller in amounts, but they are easier to obtain because the competition isn’t as great.
- A grant is money that is given to a student to help him/her pay for college, usually because of financial need.
- Grants do NOT have to be repaid.
- A Pell Grant is a federally-funded grant that provides billions of dollars each year to lower-income families. As the largest need-based student aid program, the Pell Grant is the foundation for most financial aid packages. The maximum Pell Grant award is approximately $7,395 for the 2023-24 school year.
- When a family fills out the FAFSA, they automatically apply for a Pell Grant. This should be done as soon after January 1st as possible. If parents do not have tax information completed, they can use estimated figures. Keep in mind if a family falls into a financial crisis due to sudden unemployment, exceptions can be made. Student’s should talk to the financial aid office at the institution they are planning to attend for help with this exception.
- Apply electronically HERE. (Remember this is a free service, you never have to pay for the FAFSA.)
Freshman Advice for Scholarships
- Start looking for scholarships today. It’s not too early! There are scholarships out there for students of most any age.
- Check the Scholarship List each week for updated information.
- Your grades don’t to have to be perfect to get scholarships. However, your eligibility for scholarships increases GREATLY when you keep your GPA above a 3.0.
- NOW is the time to get involved in clubs, activities and community service! Keep track of your volunteer and service projects and hours, as well as any certificates, awards and honors you receive.
Sophomore Advice for Scholarships
- Start saving your essays that might be adapted to college admissions essays or scholarship application essays.
- Stay involved in school and community activities.
- Begin to incorporate leadership into your activities. Many students believe that leadership is limited to President of the National Honor Society or Vice President of the student council. While these are great examples of leadership, there are a lot of other ways to be a leader. If you are helping coach a little league team, working as a camp counselor, of if you are tutoring others, you are a leader. If you organized the church dinner or were chairperson of a committee, you have leadership experience.
- Keep your resume up to date with all of the great things you’ve been doing.
- Take the PSAT for practice. This test is the only way you will qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. Can only be taken for practice as a sophomore.
Junior Advice for Scholarships
- Keep your grades up and stay involved in school and community activities.
- Get registered on Goingmerry.com, Keys to Success Utah, Utah System of Higher Ed, CollegeGreenlight.com, and Collegeboard.org scholarship search engines.
- Check out the Provo High School Scholarship List for Scholarship Opportunities
- Start thinking about your interests to begin thinking of a career/major and begin looking into colleges that would best fit you.
- Start thinking about whom you’d like to ask to be references for scholarships. These should be persons who have seen your dedication and hard work. You need to give at least two weeks for someone to write a letter of recommendation for you.
- Take the PSAT in October. This test, taken as a Junior, puts you in the “running” for the National Merit Scholarship (depending on your scores.)
- Try an internship in a career that interests you. Talk to Mrs. Marshall in the CCC to sign up for the Youscience Aptitudes for some career exploration
- Take the ACT test (possibly twice), plan on taking it again as a senior.
Make an appointment with Mrs. Marshall in the College & Career Center before you leave for summer break to see what you can do to prepare for your senior year.
Senior Advice for Scholarships
- Take the ACT early so that you can take it again and scores will back before college application and scholarship deadlines.
- Check the Provo High School Scholarship List for updates frequently.
- Get organized. Set up a file by months for scholarship applications by when they are due.
- Plan on spending at least one hour a week searching or completing scholarship applications. Submit them early. Don’t wait for the actual due dates. Applications will not be accepted late. (If you don’t submit an application, you won’t get a scholarship.) They get easier and almost enjoyable after you have done a couple. Plus your odds go up too.
- Apply to at least three colleges–your “safe” school (don’t overlook UVU), your “reach” school and your “dream” school. Situations may change and you want to have multiple options when you graduate.
Please visit the links under the scholarship menu to become more familiar with the scholarships, awards and opportunities that we, at Provo High School, have had experience with. You are also encouraged to visit the College/Career Center for applications and advice.