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BigFuture Scholarships for Classes of ’24 and ’25

yellow diamond shaped sign reading college ahead with arrow

One part of your student’s college search may be searching for financial resources. They can start with your college’s financial office for what opportunities are available through the college, but there are a few other options too.

Companies that offer scholarship databases often allow you to search for scholarships that pertain to their major, location, or hobbies and interests.

A few of those are:;;

There are also organizations which offer specific scholarships your student may be eligible for based on a set of characteristics or by completing a few steps. One example is the BigFuture Scholarships from College Board.

About the BigFuture Scholarships

College Board wants to help your child plan for their future. Their BigFuture Scholarships are designed to encourage students to complete six tasks to plan for life after high school. Each time a step is completed through the BigFuture site, your student is entered in a scholarship drawing for $500 and one for $40,000.  That’s it. Yes, really! 

Scholarships can be used to cover tuition, fees, books, and other relevant educational expenses. Yes, really! 

So, what do they have to do? Things they are probably already doing or plan to do. Things like making a career list, building a college list, exploring scholarships, completing the FAFSA and applying to colleges. Yes, the things you don’t want to have to nag them about all spring!

Here’s the information on the tasks and what your student will need to do to earn entries into the scholarship drawings. And, as always, we are here to help at any step along the way!

BigFuture Tasks

Start A Career List

Deadline: End of February of Senior Year 

  1. Log in to their College Board account. 
  2. Search for careers on BigFuture.
  3. Add three or more careers to their list. 

Boom! They’ll be earning entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

BigFuture includes information on over 1,000 careers as well as a quiz to help match with your student’s interests and aspects that are important to them (pay, type of work, education and skills needed, etc..) If that sounds overwhelming, don’t stress! Beth can help your student filter through the information if needed. 

Build a College List

Deadline: End of June of Senior Year 

  1. Log in to their College Board account. 
  2. Search for colleges on BigFuture.
  3. Add six or more schools to their list. 

Your student has earned more entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

On BigFuture, students can filter schools by affordability, interests, location, major, type, and more. When building a college list, the cost of tuition is one factor to consider. is another source for helping parents and students find schools that fit their tuition range. And, Beth can help your student use this list to find a college that is the right fit for them!

Start a Scholarship List

Deadline: End of February of Senior Year 

  1. Log in to their College Board account on Scholarship Search.  
  2. Answer questions to complete the Matching Criteria information.
  3. Review the list of other scholarships they qualify for.
  4. Save three scholarships to their list. 

Once again, your student has earned more entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

Scholarship Search filters scholarship options based on how the requirements match your student’s profile. As your student builds a list of possibilities, Beth can help your student create an organizational system for keeping track of all the deadlines and requirements.  

Explore Scholarships

Deadline: End of February of Senior Year  

  1. Log in to their College Board account on Scholarship Search.  
  2. Answer questions to complete the Matching Criteria information.
  3. Review the list of other scholarships they qualify for.
  4. Click Go Apply for at least one scholarship to learn about the requirements or fill out an application. 

Yes, really – your student just needs to follow those steps to earn more entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

Students will not have to complete the applications at the time they are exploring. They can save them to their list, so rest assured, Beth can help with those applications and their requirements!

Complete the FAFSA

Deadline: End of February of Senior Year 

  1. Take action to unlock financial aid by submitting the FAFSA or submitting your state’s financial aid form.
  2. Log in to BigFuture. Confirm your qualification for the drawing on the dashboard by:
    • verifying that you completed the FAFSA (from the Student Aid Report you will receive in the mail after submitting your FAFSA)
    • Verifying that you submitted a state aid form, or
    • Verifying that your student is legally ineligible to submit both the FAFSA and a state aid form 

And, your student has again earned more entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

Need help completing the FAFSA or finding out about your state aid form? Beth can help with that!

Apply to Colleges

Deadline: End of February of Senior Year  

  1. Go to their college list on BigFuture. 
  2. Confirm the colleges they have applied to are there.
  3. Add any additional colleges applied to. 
  4. Update the status of their applications (Applied, Accepted, Waitlisted, Denied).  

And, that equals more entries into the monthly scholarship drawings! 

Again, Beth can help with those applications and their requirements as well as any of the other steps along the way. 

Dates and Deadlines

Scholarships for $500 and $40,000 are awarded monthly until February of your student’s senior year. Completing any step enters them in the drawings on the first day of every month. For $500 scholarships, College Board selects 150 winners from the class of 2024 and 150 from the class of 2025 every month. For $40,000 scholarships, we select a total of two monthly (one from class of 2024 and another from class of 2025). Drawings occur on the first day of every month. ​

Find out more about the BigFuture Scholarships and get your student’s account set up at:

Know the 5 Basics of Financial Aid Resources to Pay for College

You’ve gotten to the point of your college search where you’re waiting for those acceptance letters. A time of anticipation and tentative excitement. You may also start to feel a sense of being overwhelmed as your brain starts the natural shift to thinking about “how the heck do people pay for all this?”.  We have you covered! There are strategies and tools we can help you take advantage of to continue confidently along your college planning path.

For a start, it’s important to know the five basic categories of financial aid sources.

National Merit Scholarships

Scholarships granted to those students who score in the highest percentiles on the PSAT test in October of the Junior year. Those students who receive these high scores then submit an essay, resume, and other scholastic data to the National Merit Scholarship Organization. This source is supported by many nationally ranked businesses who fund this program. The committees involved then select the student recipients, and the donations are then made directly to the school of the student’s choice.

Grant Programs of the Federal Government

Students who are eligible are those whose family’s adjusted annual gross income is less than $50,000 as determined by the combined filing of IRS forms. Students who have trust funds, or other assets, normally do not qualify for grant aid. Financial aid amounts can be determined when the student files the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, available online at  In fact, most colleges that grant any other type of financial aid (nonfederal) usually require that this form be submitted.

College Discretionary Scholarship Promise

These scholarships are given to students with outstanding SAT/ACT scores, high grade point averages or athletic skills. The private schools develop their own requirements regarding the granting of scholarships and will use this money to attract top students, students from special populations or students with special talents, i.e. football.  Some of the private schools with high tuition costs are also now offering financial aid support to those students from middle income families who might not be able to afford the high cost of private school tuition.

Student Loans and Work Study Programs

These are Federal sponsored loans that require FAFSA also be filed. The difference is that in order to receive these loans the student must promise to repay these loans at a future date. There are also non-federal, low interest, long term loans available for college bound students. Some of these loans are need-based, and some of them are options for credit-worthy parents to borrow funds for their child’s education. In addition, there are twelve federally funded curriculum areas that offer work opportunities for students through work study programs. Some college campuses also offer similar opportunities.

Private Scholarship Foundations

These scholarships are awarded by associations, businesses, private individuals, and charitable organizations for a variety of reasons from ethnicity to talent, to academic interest, to parent occupation, etc. They range in amounts from $50 to $5000. They usually have at least four requirements and can be researched at any public library that carries a database or reference volumes or online through various scholarship search engines.  For the database, students enter their personal data and the computer program will college all scholarship opportunities that fit the profile of the student.  Thousands of these scholarships remain unclaimed annually. Students pay only paper costs for these services.

Take it One Step at a Time

Don’t feel that you need to tackle all five right away. Take them one step at a time!

In College Pathfinder, the LaunchPad newsletter, we share opportunities for scholarships along with tips for completing financial aid applications. One of the best first steps is to make sure you are subscribed to College Pathfinder here!

Then work on completing your FAFSA and making a super-complete list of all the activities and sports you’ve been involved with as well as a list of your interests and hobbies.

Want some help taking those steps? Reach out to Beth today!

Test-Optional – What to Do?

The pandemic made last year and like no other for college admissions. The most significant change is that many schools have decided to go test-optional. Test-optional means you do not have to submit your ACT or SAT scores if you don’t want to and you won’t be penalized for it during the admission review.  

During the admissions cycle for the class of 2021, regardless of the school’s elite status, more than 1,000 campuses have dropped SAT/ACT as an admission requirement and admission officers have reviewed a record number of applications due to the number of students taking advantage of this option.

… test scores are important but not nearly as significant as students and parents think.

– Jeff Selingo

What to Do

In his book, Who Gets in and Why, A Year Inside College Admissions, released just before the pandemic, Jeff Selingo says, “..test scores are important but not nearly as significant as students and parents think.” Admissions officers use scores mainly to check against the transcript, asking questions such as do the grades and transcripts line up?  

It has been discussed among many college advisors that if you have a score lower than 1300, it is advisable not to submit your score. Anything below that, you may want to choose to go test-optional. 

What Happens Then

So, what factors does an admission counselor look at when reviewing an application without test scores? Many put the most weight on GPA as well as the rigor of the curriculum. They will also look at essays, teacher and counselor recommendations, and extracurricular activities. 

Don’t despair if your GPA is lower! There are many schools out there that provide excellent education and accept students with lower GPAs. Your selection of a major may be a deciding factor. 

Try to find opportunities while in high school to show your interest in this field and list them in your extracurricular activities list. Showing an increase in grades, an internship, a volunteer opportunity, or a unique project may be just the advantage you need to overcome a lower GPA. 

Looking for some help with discovering your strengths or figuring out how to showcase your accomplishments for your college applications? We can help! Contact us today.