After successful College Application Week events and FAFSA workshops, GEAR UP schools are now turning their attention to helping seniors complete scholarship applications.
North Marion High School held a Scholarship Week during the last week of January where all seniors had an opportunity to work on their Oregon Student Access Commission (OSAC) scholarship applications during Advisory period. "The counselors have been prepping the seniors for weeks about the OSAC scholarship and had a training for the senior advisors so they knew exactly what needed to be done," said Susie Snelling, the GEAR UP School Liasion who visited the event. “Before the week even started over 40 seniors had already completed the application and at the rate the other seniors were working at the end of the first day, many more will follow their lead.”
Seniors at Brookings-Harbor High School (and current college students) can get help with both their FAFSA and scholarship applications on Wednesday mornings in February at the Curry Country branch campus of Southwestern Oregon Community College. "[It] builds bridges with the college and helps students," said Gerry Livingston, Talent Search coordinator.
Promising Practices in Hosting a Scholarship Event
- Timing is everything. Following a successful FAFSA night several weeks ago, Glendale High School is also holding a Scholarship Week for seniors. "[We want] to catch all of the last minute people before the OSAC early bird deadline," said GEAR UP coordinator Emily Morningstar.
- Make it fun. Offer snacks and prizes for students who complete scholarship applications.
- Support students based on their needs. At North Marion High School, the advisors made a plan to take all of the students who had already started the process to one room and the students beginning the process to another. That way, they could give instructions based on where the students were in the process. All of the information was up on the board so the students didn’t have to ask basic questions.
- Make it a full-year process. Ask English teachers to assign scholarship essay questions as an assignment and encourage edits and revisions. Several GEAR UP schools have also used the Path to Scholarships® curriculum.
- Celebrate success. Present scholarship awards in an assembly setting in the spring. Figure out approximately how many hours a student spent on an application and announce an hourly rate for that scholarship.
Host Your Own Scholarship Week
Utilize our Scholarship Week Toolkit to host an event at your school. You can download it as part of the It's A Plan! Checklists. The toolkit includes a Scholarship Scavenger Hunt to encourage students to search for and apply to a variety of scholarships including institutional aid and merit-based funds.