No matter where you go to school or how much your family earns, your dream of a college scholarship can become a reality.
Just ask the 82 high school juniors and seniors in NYC who won a total of $72,000 in scholarships between January and August of this year.
And—get this—they scored their scholarships without having to write an essay, fill out an application, or meet a minimum GPA or family income requirement. Instead, students earned scholarships for specific actions they took to prepare for college.
The NYC Department of Education and the College Board are working together to connect students with Opportunity Scholarships that reward students with $500 to as much as $40,000 for taking up to six easy steps towards going to college.
For example, Jomille Jerez, a student at the Comprehensive Model School in the Bronx, won $500 just for building an application list of at least six colleges. “Never believe that you’re not able to receive a scholarship because you’re not from a wealthy background or school,” says Jomille.
Beyond building your college list, these five other actions will also put you in the running for an Opportunity Scholarship:
- Practice for the SAT. Students are eligible for $1,000 awards by taking the free Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy for six or more hours.
- Improve your score. Scholarships of $2,000 are available to high school seniors who practice for the SAT for 12 or more hours and improve their SAT score from a previous SAT or PSAT/NMSQT taken in their junior year.
- Strengthen your college list. Students who create a college application list on BigFuture with a mix of safety, match, and reach schools are eligible for $500.
- Complete the FAFSA. An award of $1,000 is available to students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who aren’t legally eligible to complete the FAFSA may still qualify for this scholarship.
- Apply to colleges. Students who apply to at least two colleges they want to attend are eligible for $1,000.
Finally, the College Board offers a $40,000 “Complete Your Journey” scholarship to 25 students nationwide who complete all six of those steps! You can find more information about how to get started and see some winners’ stories on the College Board’s website.
One of those winners is Michelle Lee from the High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies in Lower Manhattan, who says, “For those who don’t have enough time to apply for many scholarships, the College Board Opportunity Scholarship is extremely easy to complete. Not only is it free to enter, but it will also help junior to feel less pressured for the upcoming senior year.”
Current high school seniors (Class of 2020) should start working towards becoming eligible for this year’s Opportunity Scholarships as soon as possible, especially as the “Practice for the SAT” and “Strengthen Your College List” scholarships close on October 31, 2019. Juniors (Class of 2021) can sign up for the program beginning in early December 2019.
So: what are you waiting for? Start earning money for college TODAY!