College Scholarships 

Saahithi Gaddipati, Copy Editor

“On behalf of [insert name] University, I am pleased to congratulate you on your acceptance into our program for the fall 2023 semester. We were very impressed by your academic history and believe that you will prove that our confidence in you is not unfounded.”

If you are heading off to college, or are planning to, it is likely that you will see a paragraph similar to that above cast beneath the glaring blue light of your computer. However, the work does not simply end with getting into college, as one must consider affordability as well. Once the college application process is finished, it is assumed that a person has already submitted their FAFSA and begun the process to receive their college-based aid. Senior Aryan Puthran says, “ FAFSA is a government-sponsored form designed to help with financial need-based funding. The form allows you to qualify for financial aid to help you attend college.” Almost all colleges will have an individual fill out the FAFSA when applying for need based aid. Aside from this, some colleges offer merit scholarships. For example, Washington State University states on its website that if a student is a Washington resident and has a 3.6+ GPA in high school, they may receive the University Achievement Award, which provides $2,000-$4,000 for the course of two years. Others, like Washington State University’s “Cougar Commitment ” scholarship, award money for completing actions, such as visiting campus. Sometimes, college merit scholarships are more vague on their criteria, and simply take a holistic view of applicants, considering many factors rather than one. Upon acceptance, a university will notify a student how much aid they qualify for. 

However, there is also an additional form of aid a student can receive, at almost any time through their educational journey: outside scholarships. According to IHS’ College and Career Center, “Scholarships are gifts. They do not need to be repaid. There are thousands of them, offered by schools, employers, individuals, private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups, and professional and social organizations.” Senior Kennedy Eller comments on how she found these scholarships, stating, “I used scholarship websites like and similar sites to keep my scholarships under control and organized.” Although there are such a plentiful numberof scholarships, it is important to note that they all differ, with scholarships varying in application requirements or mission statements. Some scholarships might require an application essay, while others may simply ask you to sign up for a lottery drawing. 

Although some scholarship processes may seem similar to the college application process, as they both may consist of essay writing, there is a slight difference. Collegevine writes that “college essays help adcoms get a sense of students’ personalities. They want to see whether you’re a good fit with their institution and student body and what you will contribute…Meanwhile, scholarship committees are looking for students who stand for the interests of the organization and will represent it well. These organizations often align with and support particular talents, industries, demographics, or causes, so the students to whom they award scholarships must embody these ideals as well.” Puthran confirms the importance of aligning with a scholarship provider’s interest and mission, stating, “The key is to find scholarships you know you can answer accurately and that you are interested in. Apply to as many as you can, but do not let quantity over quality happen. Make sure you put effort into the ones you apply to, quality applications are more likely to get chosen.” Ultimately, spreading yourself too thin will not lead to ideal results, in scholarship results, but also in everyday life and in terms of emotional wellbeing.

Even if one does limit the scholarships they apply to, they still often need to keep track of multiple deadlines, portals, and essays. Organization is a tricky but crucial part of staying on top of your outside scholarship process. Senior Kylie Hall says, “One thing that helped me stay organized during the college application process was using spreadsheets and checklists.” There are various venues to do this, from a simple pen and paper to AI-based platforms. Some useful resources include Notion, Excel Sheets, and Google docs. Puthran adds on, saying, “I made a calendar of all important dates and made sure to work on applications in my spare time, being cautious of due dates and requirements.” 

However, no matter how organized you are, the scholarship process will still be stressful. Senior Brendan Chytil says, “The pressure to apply to colleges was a lot and I do not know if I could have handled the additional pressure from applying to scholarships.” Whether one decides to apply for scholarships or not, it is important to research, look at all the options, and stay organized. 

There are a variety of scholarships for all sorts of students! Depending on what one is passionate about, what one’s background is, and what their strengths are, these scholarships will appeal to specific students. Good luck in your scholarship journey!