Scholarship & Award Information
Scholarships are a form of financial aid. They are a grant or funds that do not need to be repaid. They differ from other forms of financial aid in that they are based on some type of outstanding ability in one or more areas, such as academics, art, music, athletics, or community service. Scholarships are not necessarily based on financial need, as are all other forms of financial aid. Some, however, do have financial need as a factor.
Scholarships come in many forms and amounts. They can range from as little as $100 to help pay for books, up to tens of thousands of dollars for all four years of college. Most academic scholarships come from one of five sources: 1. Federal government 2. State government 3. Individual colleges 4. Local businesses and organizations 5. National businesses and organizations. The vast majority of scholarships come from the colleges themselves. These may be campus-wide or for a specific major. Montana colleges have several excellent scholarships available for entering first-year students.
Generally, the better your grades, the higher your test scores, and the more activities and community service you participate in, the better chance you have of winning a scholarship. However, many scholarships are based on financial need. Often times, there are some scholarships with very narrow restrictions and only a few students would qualify. If in doubt, check with Mrs. Morgan. You have nothing to lose and everything to win when you apply for scholarships.
Scholarships, Criteria, and Deadlines
Be attentive to the scholarships as they are posted via the counselor’s monthly update, on the bulletin board, and on the district’s website. It is impossible to put every scholarship that colleges, universities, and vocational schools offer out for seniors to apply for. It is your responsibility to search out scholarships that suit your needs. The counseling office will pass along scholarships that arrive through the school.
Please check the criteria carefully. For example, if the scholarship requires you to attend a Montana school and you are going out-of-state, you will not qualify.
Scholarships have deadlines. Be sure to give yourself enough time to complete applications thoroughly. Do not wait until the last minute to get applications completed, references turned in, or transcripts sent. Many applications must be typed. It takes time and effort to put together a quality application.
Seniors are strongly encouraged to take the ACT or SAT before December of their senior year. It is best to take both tests by the end of the junior year. Often, extra-curricular events in the fall will conflict with test dates. If tests are taken during the junior year, this can be avoided. All Montana juniors have the opportunity to participate in the ACT during March at no cost. Most colleges will accept results from either test. However, it is the responsibility of the student to check with the college to find out which test is required.
When you apply for a scholarship from a college, you must also pay the application fee for admission. Do not expect to receive a scholarship if you have not been admitted to the school. At some colleges, the admission fee is waived. Be sure to ask someone in the admission office if they offer this option.
Applications for all Montana colleges are available in Ms. Henderson's office. Most out-of-state colleges do not furnish Thompson Falls High School with applications for admissions. Students must write, call, or email and request applications from the admissions office. The most efficient way is to apply online. Check the college’s website for information.
Several representatives from colleges and vocational schools around Montana will be visiting our school during the year. Listen to the daily announcements for these scheduled visits.
Use the following helpful hints as you begin the process of applying for scholarships. The students who are most successful at earning scholarships are students who follow these points:
1.Remember that applying for scholarships is the responsibility of the student.
2.Thompson Falls High School is not notified of all scholarships available at a particular college, so students are encouraged to write to the college they hope to attend and ask for information on first-year student scholarships.
3.Don’t procrastinate! Get busy on this part of your college planning early and stay on top of it. Your success will depend on your perseverance, organization, and your ability to meet deadlines.
4.Be sure to give your teachers, counselor and personal reference adequate time to write recommendations for you. Two weeks is a good rule of thumb. Give them a list of activities and awards that are noteworthy in the recommendation. When given sufficient time, teachers can write a meaningful letter that truly reflects each student’s unique qualities.
Montana University System Honor Scholarship
The Montana University System Honor Scholarship (MUSHS) is a four-year renewable scholarship that waives the tuition and registration fee at the eligible Montana college you decide to attend.
To apply for this scholarship you must:
Ø have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.4 GPA
Ø graduate from a state-accredited Montana high school
Ø have been enrolled full time and in attendance in an accredited Montana school for at least 3 years prior to graduation, including their senior year
Ø be a U.S. citizen
Ø have taken the ACT or SAT on or before the test dates of December of the senior year.
Ø be on track to complete the MUS rigorous core requirements by high school graduation
Applying for the MUS Honor Scholarship is a multi-step process. You need to:
Ø take the ACT or SAT by December of the senior year; documented test scores taken by these dates must be included with the MUSHS application
Ø apply for admission and be accepted by one of the eligible colleges in Montana by February of the senior year; a college acceptance letter from one of the eligible campuses must be included with the MUSHS application
Ø complete the MUSHS application
Ø submit the completed packet to Mrs. Morgan by March 15 of the senior year.
Recipients will be selected based on their class ranking and their ACT/SAT scores. For more information please visit http://www.mus.edu/
Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)
WUE is the Western Undergraduate Exchange, a program coordinated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Through WUE, students in most western states may enroll in many two-year and four-year college programs at a reduced tuition level: 150 percent of the institution’s regular resident tuition. In all cases, WUE tuition is considerably less than nonresident tuition. Students residing in the following states may be eligible to participate:
Alaska Colorado Hawaii Idaho
Montana Nevada New Mexico
North Dakota Oregon South Dakota Utah Washington Wyoming
For more information go to:http://wue.wiche.edu/
There are many companies which offer scholarship searches and financial aid advice. Some may charge fees for services that are often available free through other companies. The companies that advertise "free money" for college, guarantee a scholarship, or say that the information they have is not available elsewhere are the ones to be wary of. Check with Mrs. Morgan before paying any company for services related to scholarships or financial aid.
Download a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) athttp://www.fafsa.ed.gov/or call 1-800-4-FED-AID. Submit online or mail in the form as soon as possible AFTER October 1 of the senior year. Keep a copy. Parents save your year-end payroll stubs to show your earnings for the year. You might need them for financial aid eligibility reviews by schools.
The Student Assistance Foundation and the Montana Department of Labor and Industry partnered to offer at no cost the Montana Career Information System (MCIS).This powerful tool is the premier source of career related information. Use it to learn more about occupational interests, education options, programs of study, scholarships and financial aid. Go tohttp://www.smartaboutcollege.org/ and under the red heading Get to College you will find a link to MCIS. Click on that link and register to use the MCIS. If you use nothing else, this tool will give you some incredible information.