Six Ways to Maximize College Scholarship Opportunities

Six simple ways to ensure that you get an extra bonus for the giant college expense.


Courtesy of Kennedy Gayheart

RaiseMe is a website designed to help students save money based on things they do both in and out of school.

People always say that high school will be over in the blink of an eye, and they’re right. College is quickly approaching and deciding on where to go can be stressful, especially with the expenses that college can bring to your family. However, scholarships and extra financial aid is all around, you just have to search for it! Here is a compiled list of 6 ways to ensure that you maximize your college scholarship opportunity:

  1.   Keep those grades up!

Merit scholarships are offered by every school and can be a huge help if you maintain good grades. One helpful way to get an idea of a savings range is to look up schools you might be interested in attending and to look at their scholarship opportunity. It’s never too early to start saving.

A helpful bonus for Kentucky students is the advantage of receiving Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarships, or KEES money. KEES money is awarded for unweighted grade point averages. The higher your GPA, the more money you will receive. Students can earn up to $2,000 per year towards college. This money stems from all four years of high school, so it’s important to maintain a good GPA throughout your time in high school. The one catch to this advantage is that in order to receive the scholarship money, you have to attend a college or university in Kentucky.

One extra scholarship that KEES money provides is an ACT bonus. With a score of 28+ on the ACT, students can earn up to $500 extra per year towards college. Again, the catch is that you have to attend an in-state school in order to receive the scholarship. On the KHEAA website, there is a chart of corresponding scores/savings.

  1.   Sign up for RaiseMe (participating schools only).

This website keeps record of all of your grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, community service, work experience and more starting at the beginning of your freshman year in high school. Participating universities then give you money for each thing you enter on your portfolio. By simply adding in everything that you have done throughout your high school career, you can earn money. This program starts at the beginning of your ninth grade year, and extends to about halfway through your twelfth grade year. You can start at a grade level in between, such as tenth or eleventh, and add in all of your information/grades from previous years. It gives you the same amount of money no matter when you sign up, as long as it is sometime between freshman and senior year. Scholarship amounts vary depending on the university, and not all schools participate. It’s definitely worth checking out, see if a college you are interested in participates.

  1.   Participate in community service.

Colleges and universities are always looking to hand out scholarships to the most deserving students. Community service is one thing that looks the best on a scholarship application. If you start participating actively in community service events and keep track of your hours, you will be well on your way to earning more scholarships. The judges for scholarships are looking for the applicants to impress them, so make sure you can create a good and long resume for yourself while you can. Don’t wait until the last minute to get started on this, the more community service, the better.

  1.   Participate in clubs and sports while you can.

Another thing that judges look for when deciding who deserves a certain scholarship is what sorts of clubs the student participated in during high school. A student who is more involved within their school community looks better on an application than a student who simply maneuvers their way through school without participating much in extracurricular activities. One extracurricular to be involved in is some sort of athletic team. Even if you are not planning on playing in college or you are not the best, participating in a school sport can be super fun. Plus, it gives you an outlet to meet new people and try different things.


This website displays hundreds of scholarships that students may have never seen before. You can apply for all sorts of things. For example, you can get a scholarship for donating your old prom dress or for participating in a certain club in school. They offer essay and non-essay scholarships, so some are easier to apply for than others. If you apply to a lot of these online scholarships, it could possibly turn into a decent amount of money when it all stacks up.

  1.   Search the web.

Similar to the website above, simply searching the internet for scholarships can end up getting students some unexpected money. There are thousands of scholarships floating around the internet, waiting to be taken and never do because students don’t search for them. Take advantage of the tools at your disposal and get some extra cash. While you most likely won’t win all of the scholarships you apply for, it is worth a shot. Again, small scholarships added up can be a big help in paying the expense of college.

Students have more resources than they think at their disposal. By taking advantage of these opportunities, you are bound to get some extra scholarship funds that you were not expecting before reading this. The biggest takeaway from this article is this: apply, apply, apply. You won’t receive anything if you do not try. College is a big deal, and paying for it may just become a little less of a burden.