You probably know all about traditional scholarships like those for students with good grades, witty essays, and unique backgrounds.
But did you know you can earn smaller scholarships for more attainable goals like earning an A in a class or taking a leadership role on your basketball team? Welcome to the world of micro-scholarships.
Silicon Valley start-ups like Raise.me are connecting students with schools to start earning for college right away, just by signing up and logging their achievements.
What is a micro-scholarship?
A micro-scholarship is a scholarship offered online through sites that match students with colleges to earn money towards tuition.
On sites like Raise.me, students sign up and select the schools they're interested in attending.
As you take part in activities that make progress towards high school graduation, you can also earn scholarships from individual colleges and universities.
What types of micro-scholarships are offered?
Award amounts vary based on activity; one student in Pennsylvania, for example, earned $400 for taking an advanced placement course.
Other micro-scholarships recognize students for their community service, extracurriculars, work experience, for taking a foreign language course, or for visiting a college campus.
How do I qualify?
Students in high school and community college can create an online account with Raise.me and start earning right away. The site gives students credit for past achievements as well as future ones.
In order to get the funds, students must be admitted to, and choose to attend, the schools offering the micro-scholarships.
More than 250 schools participate—from state schools like Penn State, Oklahoma, University of San Diego, and Arizona State to private universities like Carnegie Mellon, Oberlin, Tulane, and NYU.
Paying for college is often a piecemeal job—savings, grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs are all part of the puzzle.
Add micro-scholarships to the equation and you could reduce your debt load as well as help to keep yourself on track as you get ready to apply to colleges.
Carol Katarsky is a contributing writer for Nitro. She is an award-winning journalist with extensive experience writing about both finance and education. Her corporate and non-profit clients include AIG, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Project Management Institute. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, son, and one cat more than she should. Read more by Carol Katarsky