a month ago
Paying for College


I am a Sophomore in High School; I am looking for some scholarships opportunities to help pay for education after graduation. I am currently undecided in terms of colleges and majors. Are there any scholarships available? What should I look for in colleges? Do you have any advice for what I should do in the next 2 years?

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Accepted Answer
a month ago

Thoughts on scholarships:

First, if you are low-income, you will likely qualify for some financial aid (you will fill out the FASFA in senior year).

Check out Fastweb, Scholarships.com, ScholarshipOwl, Scholarships360, Collegexpress, and other scholarship websites. My two tips: 1) Choose scholarships that require some work on your part. The one-click wonder no-essay scholarships are entered by everyone. You have a better chance of winning if you enter ones requiring essays, projects, pictures, even GPAs or transcripts. 2) Choose scholarships that fit your interest, talent, etc. There are specific scholarships for students interested in that field or a hobby. Some of the websites I just recommended (like Fastweb) take all your preferences, interests, and goals and then suggests related scholarships. Other times you have to search for them yourself. But it is worth it. Entering scholarships that are related to your interests/hobbies/majors/talents gives you an advantage. AND it becomes fun, not a burden! Just share your passion and it will go places.

Many colleges offer merit scholarships. Based on your GPA, EC's, and transcript, they may offer you a larger merit scholarship. This is where applying to colleges that may be target or safety schools is a great idea. If your stats are above the school's average, they will offer you more money to attend their school (it raises their stats and looks great for the college). Also, don't give up on scholarships. Even after you graduate high school. All of the websites I suggested have scholarships for college students, and colleges have small scholarships you can enter during your time there. Just keep at it and you will see results!

Thoughts for colleges:

Many students have a dream college before they know what they want to major in. While that is not bad, it is not ideal because you end up shutting your mind to other schools that may have better programs for the major you eventually choose. My advice is to figure out what general area you want to study. You can use career quizzes (on BigFuture Collegeboard)- just know that a machine cannot determine what is best for :) I found the quizz helpful because at the end it recommended jobs related to my likes. Some were options I did not know existed, so it got me thinking. Then I began researching different career options. I was trying to decide between 2 things and had no idea what to choose. UNTIL I did 2 things.

First, I followed some wise advice I heard: Try the career for 10 hours. If it flew by, then do 100. If it didn't move on. The goal is discover what you could do the rest of your life and STILL enjoy it.

So I did it. I kept gardening and visiting famous gardens (horticulture) and volunteered at a local VBS (teaching). I found that though I enjoyed teaching, it drained me, while horticulture envigorated me.

Secondly, I looked at colleges with education and horticulture programs. I got pretty bored going through the education information pages, but when I began looking at horticulture programs, I got so excited!! Like, super excited...I spent hours looking at it without even realizing it.

In the end, I knew the path for me. When you know, you know. It takes time, but it should, so don't be discouraged and don't rush yourself. High school is meant to be a time of exploration, so explore and explore until you discover The Thing for yourself. And don't be afraid to do something abnormal. Nothing says you need to go with the tide or majority. Just do what is best for you and you will exceed.

Once you know generally what you want to study, go to BigFuture and use the college search engine. It is literally a lifesaver. You put in the general major, your preferences, your stats, and they give you tailored recommendations. After that, go to each college's website and make sure they have the exact major you want (if you know what that is). I found that I put in horticulture/agriculture majors and got things like plant science and botany. Those are fine, but I wanted a horticulture focus. So just know that not every college recommended will have the exact major you want. If you don't know what major you want, then still look at each college to see what this college emphasizes in the program and if that's what you want to emphasize in your education.

Pieces of advice for the next 2 years: Take your time. Don't rush on big decisions. Like I said and everyone says, you will know when you know. That being said, don't sit idly. If there are things you love, pursue them. Find that thing you are passionate about- it is what makes you YOU. Not only that, but it will be the thing that makes you stand out from 1000s of other applicants. Find your passion and then actively pursue it. Don't try to fit the box and be like your peers. You are unique. If you can, get a head start on things. Take initiative always. What you do now will determine how prepared you are for college. You can do small things, like entering essay scholarships, to prepare for writing admission essays. Never say you can't. You only can't if you say so. Develop healthy study habits early on. Balance your mental healthy with life- all work (school) and no play is not good for you. Leave time for hobbies and doing things you enjoy. I saw my hobbies become my career goals. Not only did I enjoy it, but I was preparing myself. Find ways to explore the things that interest you. You will never regret it!

Hope this helps. I apologize if this reponse overwhelms you :) I truly hope it encourages you and answers some of your questions! Lmk if you have any additional questions.

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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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