Scholarship resources provide students with opportunities

Nora Smith, Opinions Editor

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Different scholarships can be found online through websites such as Fastweb, Niche and Cappex, community foundations and college. Graphic by YuLian Leshuk

There are many scholarship applications available to students who know where to look. Scholarships can be found online, through the Northbrook community, through colleges and elsewhere. Below are several types of resources offering scholarship applications.

Online Scholarships

Online scholarships can be found on several free websites, and there are many different scholarships available.

Elizabeth Hoyt, editor of Fastweb, a website that connects students to colleges, scholarships and financial aid, said in a phone interview that Fastweb is “a middleman for scholarships.”

“We let [the student] know about the opportunities that are available, and then from there it’s up to the student to actually click through our site and go for the opportunities,” Hoyt said.

According to Hoyt, Fastweb’s database provides information for over 1 million available scholarships, each offering varying dollar amounts up to $200,000. Scholarship opportunities are found by Fastweb’s research team, then the opportunities are checked for legitimacy and added to the database.

Another online scholarship provider is Niche, a website that helps people find the schools and neighborhoods best for them in addition to finding scholarship opportunities.

Jessica Hair, marketing outreach coordinator for Niche, said in a phone interview that Niche connects users with scholarships that have dollar amounts ranging from $500 to $10,000.

Niche’s scholarships are granted based on the organizations’ criteria, so underclassmen and juniors may be able to apply for certain scholarships in addition to seniors, Hair said.

Alex Stepien, CEO of Cappex, a student resource to find colleges and scholarships, said in a phone interview that Cappex connects students to over 20,000 scholarships with values ranging from $250 to $200,000.

“Based on your profile information, [Cappex is] going to match you with scholarships that it looks like you will qualify for, and then [Cappex will] link off to that individual organization’s website, where they’ll have that application,” Stepien said.

Cappex allows users to see how difficult it is to apply for a scholarship on a one to five scale, said Stepien. Some applications require essays and letters of recommendation while others only require basic background information.

All three websites are free to users. Accounts include detailed profiles which allow the sites to find scholarships best suited to the user.

Hoyt said with dedication and hard work in searching, students will see results on Fastweb.

“Apply early and apply often,” said Hoyt. “You can’t win if you don’t apply.”

Community Scholarships

Community scholarships are expected to be available to seniors in the first week of February through an application that can be found in the scholarship section on Naviance, an online student resource for college and career preparation.

  David Boyle, coordinator of college counseling, said he plans to have the application open for five or six weeks. The application mainly consists of an essay. Announcements will be made over the intercom to keep students updated about the application.

Community scholarship funds are raised by various local organizations, with each organization providing a varying dollar amount. In the past, these amounts have ranged from $500 to $10,000, Boyle said.

Mike Tarjan, assistant principal of student activities, said the recipients of the scholarships will be announced at the Glenbrook North High School Annual Awards Ceremony on May 25, 2018.

Memorial Scholarships

There are 20 or more memorial scholarships established in honor of someone who had an impact on the GBN community, said Tarjan. Private donors establish these scholarships, provide the funding for them and select the recipient.

Boyle said, “We have some scholarships where [donors] want a particular criteria because it’s memorializing their daughter who they lost while she was in high school, so they want to award that to someone who has very similar characteristics.”

Memorial scholarships have been included on the same  Naviance application for seniors as the community scholarships in past years and are expected to be included again in 2018, Boyle said.

“[Combined], we give out over $100,000 in scholarship money,” said Tarjan. “That’s crazy to me.”

College-Granted Scholarships

College scholarship policies are different depending on the college but are generally granted upon admission and are based on the applicant’s merit.

Scott Siegel, senior associate director of admissions for Indiana University Bloomington, said there are also talent-based scholarships available to certain students.

Those applying regular decision have limited options in terms of scholarships, as the majority are granted upon early action, said Siegel.

Stefanie Duff, admissions representative for North Chicago at the University of Missouri, said at Mizzou, automatic, merit-based scholarships can be awarded at any time, even after admission.

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