While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the daily lives of everyone, if you are a high school student, now is a great time to start looking for potential grants and scholarships while social distancing. Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors can apply to national, regional, and local scholarship and grant programs.  Furthermore, you may be able to set up activities and coursework ahead of time so that you qualify for specific awards.  It is important to keep up to date and informed as we do not know the exact impact the COVID-19 pandemic might have on grants and scholarships, so keep an eye on those that you want to apply to.

Where do I find scholarships and grants?

There are many search engines that will give you lists of available scholarships based on the criteria you choose.  Here are a couple you should visit:

Scholarships.com – You can sign up for a free account and get more specific information about individual scholarships you qualify for as well as email updates, but there is also a directory that you can search without creating a profile.

Fastweb.com – This is another site that asks you to sign up for a free account and then matches potential grants and scholarships to your profile.  Fastweb emails students with due dates and requirements for each scholarship.

Cappex.com – Like the two previous sites, signing up for a free account gives you access and emailed updates about scholarships, but you can search potential awards without signing up.

The College Board –  That’s right, the place for all your SAT and AP test information also has a scholarship database as well as helpful tips for financing your college education.  You may already have an account after signing up for the SAT or AP exams.  Explore the different options and learn more about how people pay for their education.

National and regional scholarships often offer more money, but more students apply for these awards, making it more challenging to get chosen.  Many local businesses and nonprofits also offer scholarships and grants to high school students, so ask your guidance counselor for any information on local scholarships that you may qualify for.  There may be less competition, and earning five awards worth $200 a piece is the same as earning one $1000 award.

How do I qualify and then apply?

Reading the fine print for each scholarship is important.  Too often students look at the title of the scholarship and assume they don’t qualify.  Even if you know you’re a long shot, it’s worth applying.  The worst thing that can happen is you aren’t selected.

When reading the qualifications, make a checklist of the things that you’ve already done and a checklist of things you need to do.  Maybe the award requires you to take a foreign language for at least three years in high school, but you’ve only taken two years of Spanish so far.  If you’ve already signed up to take Spanish during your senior year, then you probably qualify for the scholarship.

Many, but not all, scholarships require an essay or personal statement.  The good news is that many of these essays are similar to those you might write for college applications or even other awards, so you might be checking two things off your to do list all at once!  At the very least, you’ll be able to pull bits and pieces from individual essays to help you mold the perfect response.  Keep in mind that your essay may have to stand out amongst hundreds, if not thousands of others, so writing an exceptional introduction is important.

Finally, know the deadlines.  Yes, technically you don’t need to submit an application until the day it is due, but judges might read through hundreds of applications and essays, so turning everything in ahead of time may help your application get seen earlier.

How can Education Station help?

For years, we have specialized in helping students successfully navigate the college application process. As such, we are well aware of how much our rising juniors and seniors have to get done, and we are committed to helping them put forth their best efforts. Our role as advisors includes gathering information about awards, helping students plan a strategy for satisfying requirements, and reviewing applications for completeness and accuracy.  If you are interested in our services, feel free to reach out to our co-founder, Christine Chapman at 617-823-5403 or email our team at support@educationstationhopkinton.com.