Scholarships: What Parents and Students Need to Know Now

For many high school students and their families, the thought of going to college represents the
fulfillment of a lifetime dream – but the price tag can be daunting. Fortunately, scholarships for
college students are plentiful and chances are, there is at least one out there that is perfect for

If you are a high school senior, now is the time to start researching and applying for
scholarships, many of which have fall deadlines. Before you start, know that many colleges and
universities require students to first apply for for federal and state grants because much of the
information contained therein is typically used in considering eligibility for scholarships.

What is the Difference Between a Scholarship and a Grant?

According to, a scholarship is “a grant or payment made to support a student’s education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement.” For students with outstanding skills, academic and merit-based scholarships are available to reward excellence in academic performance. If sports are your strength, athletic scholarships can be an option for top athletes. Scholarships are also available based on your major or career path, often through essay contests. Many non-profits offer scholarships for students from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds. Additionally, the military and other alternative sources offer scholarships to seniors who are willing to make the commitment to serve with them before or after going to school.

How Do Grants Affect Scholarship Awards?

The terms “scholarship” and “grant” are often used interchangeably. There are, however, many differences between the two. From Collegeboard, “Most scholarships are merit based. This means that they are awarded to students with certain qualities, such as proven academic or athletic ability. Many scholarships have rules — maintaining a certain GPA, for example — that
you have to follow to continue receiving aid. Most grants are need based. This means that they are usually awarded based on your or your family’s financial situation.”

Scholarships and grants can both originate from the government, private organizations, and
directly from colleges and universities.

5 Scholarship Opportunities

Civic-minded? Try the Rose Scholars Program. This scholarship offers up to $200,000 and the deadline to apply is September 30.

Most Likely to Be a Leader? Check out the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which offers $20,000 for successful leaders in a school or community setting. This scholarship has an application deadline of October 31.

If you are a straight A student with a GPA that exceeds a 4.0, the Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship may be of interest and is renewable each year.

Are you an exceptional, Pell-eligible student who is a minority? The Gates Scholarship is worthy of your time, although the September 18 deadline is fast approaching.

Athletic? There are countless scholarships available for student athletes, too many in fact to cover here. A helpful website for athletically-inclined high school students in search of a scholarship is Unigo, which allows you to search for scholarships by sport.

How to Find the Scholarship That is Right for You

If none of the above apply to you, fear not; there are countless scholarships out there. All you have to do is research.

● Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), here.
The information you provide on your FAFSA will be used to determine your scholarship eligibility
in most cases. This is an important step in your college application process, so you’ll be glad to
have gotten it out of the way.

● Talk to your guidance counselor.
You should have a senior advisor at school who is well-versed in scholarship opportunities that
are well-suited to your strengths, areas of interest, and background.

● Consider consulting with a college advisor.
There are professional college advisors whose main responsibilities are helping students find the
right college or university for them and also connecting them with scholarship opportunities.

● Do your own research!
Google is your friend here. Use it. A quick search yields some interesting results, including a
scholarship for duck calling, a National Marbles Tournament scholarship, and a scholarship for
writing a zombie apocalypse story. You really cannot make this stuff up.

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring Today

At Planting Seeds Tutoring, our mission is to empower students to become passionate about
their education by providing a positive environment that allows them to master the skills
needed to become successful independent lifelong learners. We are also committed to making
sure our families and parents have access to the resources they need to ensure their students
are successful in pursuing their education. To find out more about whether or not your student
would benefit from support with their academics or to learn more about the services offered at
Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, Dallas, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company,
visit our blog, our website, and follow us on Facebook.

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