There are many different types of scholarships available for many different types of students.  Many students wait until their Senior year to begin applying for scholarships ... but many scholarships can be awarded earlier and saved until college.

Scholarships are free money.

  • Thousands of scholarships are available.
  • Three basic types: National, State, and local.
  • Scholarships can be either need-based or merit-based. Need-based scholarships are dependent on your financial need, which is often determined by your expected family contribution (EFC) that you receive by filling out the FAFSA. Merit-based scholarships do not take into account your financial need but rather your grades (GPA), extracurricular activities (sports, leadership positions, and volunteer service), and standardized test scores (ACT/SAT).

National: From corporations or foundations. Example: Coca-Cola Scholarship for $20,000 or Dell Scholars for $20,000.

Pros- large amount of money, may provide mentorship

Cons- Competing against a large pool of students across the country

State: From a variety of businesses, foundations, and other entities. Example: Ford Family Foundation Scholarship which pays for 90% of your schooling expenses or the Harrington Family Foundation which awards $16,000 to Oregon leaders.

Pros- Still large awards, smaller pool of applicants, may provide mentorship

Cons- May have rigorous requirements, may be specific to one major such as forestry 

Local: From local businesses, organizations, or individuals. Example: Ivy B. Thomas which is only for CHS students, the Lyons Club, or M-I Community Foundation.

Pros- A much smaller pool of applicants, competing against those who put in work

Cons- Awards can be much smaller

Institutional Scholarships: Scholarships available only to students who have been admitted to a college or university. These awards can vary widely. For example: WOU has a diversity scholarship that is worth $6,000 and is renewable for three years. They also have a full-ride scholarship, the David S. Brody Scholarship, which pays for full tuition and room and board, which is  worth approximately $100,000 over four years. CHS had a grad who won this award last year (2019).

Pros- Only competing against other admitted students.

Cons-  Some scholarships are major specific

Points to note: You can only win scholarships that you apply for. Sounds simple enough, but if you don’t apply for a scholarship because it’s only $500, then you won’t win.

Small scholarships add up. If you win a couple of $500 scholarships and one $1,500 award, it can add up quickly.

Before you apply to any scholarship: carefully read the requirements and look at the deadline. You need to make sure that first, you qualify for the scholarship. Most scholarships have a GPA requirement, make sure you meet that requirement. Next, all scholarships have deadlines, make sure that you have enough time to complete the scholarship and get all required materials before the deadline. For example, some scholarships require an official transcript, which you can only get from Mrs. Love, the CHS registrar. You will need to give her at least two weeks notice. The same goes for letters of recommendation which many scholarships also require; you need to give your teachers or recommenders at least two weeks notice to write the letter for you.

Consider creating an email just for scholarships and other college related business. You should not be using your CHS student email for your scholarship applications.

Be wary of scholarship websites that seem too good to be true. If they ask for your email to create an account, that is acceptable, but you should never have to pay anything for scholarships. 

Look out for other programs such as CAMP, TRIO SSS, and other programs schools may have.


Scholarships are free money. You should be applying for as many scholarships as you qualify for. Many students do not want to go into debt for their education, applying for scholarships is a great way to achieve that goal.

  • Local Scholarships
    Scholarships available to CHS students exclusively or within a small region.

  • General Scholarships
    Scholarships available to a much broader audience - statewide or nationwide.

  • FastWeb Scholarships
    A free service that matches members to relevant scholarship opportunities.  About 1.5 million scholarships valued at over $3.4 billion dollars, something to meet every student's educational goals, activities and interests.

    A free college scholarship search and financial aid information resource. 

  • OSAC Scholarships
    OSAC awards grants and scholarships of more than $118 million to thousands of Oregon students in their quest to achieve a college education. You will also find the Oregon Promise application on their website. Visit or click here.