Our 2016 Scholarship Submissions Statistics!

As of midnight on March 20, our 2016 scholarship is now closed and we are busy enjoying the beautiful efforts from our applicants. This year, we had 5 times the applications from last year (so we may need to extend the date by which we contact awardees…we’ll keep you posted)! Meanwhile, here are some fun facts and stats on our applications.

Our biggest pool of applicants came from California at 15.9%.

States stats

Though the scholarship is available to students from high school seniors to college juniors, the vast majority were high school students.

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Of our two prompt options, most preferred to respond to “What is your opinion on how education affects the quality of life?

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The creative writing medium was the most popular again this year with 48.5% of the applications.  

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featured image: Joel Penner via flickr

2015 Scholarship Awardees

The time has come to announce the 2015 multimedia scholarship winners! The winners have been emailed, and once they accept their award, we will begin the process for sending out each $1,000 prize.

The Winners:

  1. Art: Ashtyn Berry, accepted
  2. Music: Blake Bogenrief, accepted
  3. Video: Isiah Bowie, accepted
  4. Creative Writing: Diamond Patrick, accepted
  5. Photography: Moriah Yeh, accepted

Each prize consists of a $1,000 check to their University in their name. To see their beautiful work, visit our Past Winners page!

If You Didn’t Win:

Try again next year! Watch for the 2016 scholarship requirements this summer!

Please know that we were impressed with the passion and creativity displayed in so many of the entries!  If you would like to know your piece’s evaluation and why you didn’t win, send mary@honorsgraduation.com an email!

Thank you everyone for your participation!

Featured Image CreditRhian Tebbutt Photography

Financial Aid: Helpful Advice from the HGU Team

Across the country, high school seniors are receiving their letters of acceptance to their chosen colleges.  Next up: financial aid.  Check out some advice from a few of us at HonorsGradU (most of us aren’t too far removed from that game, and some are still there) as you consider your college financing plan!


 

Scholarships

Ashley: Apply for everything!

“I never applied for any [scholarships] because I was always under the impression that you had to maintain a certain GPA or be some kind of genius to qualify for any scholarship. Turns out, I could have been earning scholarship money every year, just because my parents never went to college. Being a first generation college student can get you a scholarship. Who knew?”

Mary: Follow up with your scholarship donors!

I got a scholarship from my city’s rotary club.  Six months later, I found out that they were willing to offer additional funds if my college GPA met their standard, and I ended up getting my books unexpectedly paid for that semester!”

Ashley: Think outside the GPA/ACT’s box

“There are scholarships like ours, where you apply with an essay or a project, there are scholarships for students with specific ethnic or cultural backgrounds, scholarships for being an honor student with a great GPA, all kinds of options. All you have to do is apply, and even a tiny $50 scholarship for being a red-head would be helpful in financing someone’s education. I had a friend who spend all summer every year just scouring the web for any scholarship he could apply to. ”

Loans

Brittany: Don’t wait for graduation to start paying back

“If you can’t afford [college], take out student loans and get done as quickly as possible. Besides that, I’d say that you should pay off your interest even while you’re going to school if you can afford it! My sister has done that and says it makes a world of difference as far as how much they will owe once she’s graduated.”

Jared: Finish faster with loans instead of dragging out school

“It recently hit me that I will not be able to go to school full time without financial aid in the form of loans. Unless I get married and can get money from the FAFSA, I will have to take out student loans. It kind of still upsets me when I think about having thousands of dollars of debt after school, but I figure that I will have a good job, and I won’t have to go through school slowly. I think I prefer being able to graduate in 4 years instead of dragging it out and trying to pay for it all myself.”

Long-term Thinking

Jared: Start with a junior college & use academic advisers!

“Another option is to go to a junior college to get your associates degree. This can help you save a lot of money. If you work with an academic adviser they can help you prepare to enter a 4 year university and make sure that your credits will transfer. Community colleges are very affordable and even have programs that can help you get jobs after a 2 year degree.”

Bart: Get your finances–and your true passion–in order before you start school!

“If you think you can’t afford college, have you considered putting it off for a year, getting some real experience, and finding out what you are passionate about?”

Working During School

Bart: Find authentic job experiences during college

“Try as hard as you can to have your work while at school mean something. Find a job that has something to do with what you might want to do with your life…frankly, your work experience might be the only thing you have going for you in the job search after you graduate.”

Bart: Prioritize physical and mental health over graduating a semester earlier

I worked a job full time at night (9pm to 6am) while going to school full time. That went ok for about a year until I crashed and suddenly couldn’t function at all, and had to learn how to adjust my life to handle work and school in a more healthy manner (I cut back on classes and switched to working during the day until graduation). (see more about Bart’s story in our post on studying).

Heard of any other awesome financial advice? Share in the comments below!

Photo Credit

4 Perfect Happy Graduation Songs

With each rising generation of high school graduates comes new songs that define the high school experience. While nostalgia is a definitely a prevalent reason to have graduation ceremonies, it’s also about celebrating the future! For those of you agreeing that graduation songs should be a celebration, not a mourning, here are a few suggestions:

1. Hall of Fame by The Script

2. Firework by Katy Perry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3P9fyJEu6E

3. Here’s To Never Growing Up by Avril Lavigne

4. Brave by Sara Bareilles

Featured Image: Leeds College of Music

What To Bring On Graduation Day

Graduation season is a busy time of year! Everyone has so much to remember, especially the graduates. Here to make life a little easier, we’ve created a must-have list for what you need for the big day! Schools will have their own rules, too, so be sure to find that information from a counselor or graduation representative.

Before You Arrive:
  • Hydrate & Eat! It’s so important to remember to keep yourself well-fed and hydrated. It seems simple, but it’s easy to forget amid graduation pictures and parties. The key is to drink 16 oz or so a couple hours before the ceremony, but you should be keeping hydrated at all times. Stop drinking an hour before the ceremony to prevent having to go to the bathroom during it. The last thing you want is to be the one that fainted at graduation.
  • Apply sunscreen if the ceremony has an outdoor portion. Even if it won’t be that sunny, you can still get sunburned.
  • Charge batteries. Phone, camera, mom’s camera–teach mom how to use the camera if she doesn’t know already! You don’t want anything to get in the way of the memories.
  • Be hygienic. Remember that you will be in close proximity with people, so don’t forget the deodorant.
  • Go to the Bathroom: go right before you leave! Chances are you’re going to be nervous, so try to go as often as you can before you have to be in your spot for the ceremony.
Bring to the Ceremony:
  • Cap/Gown/Honors Regalia. Make sure you don’t forget the most important part! If your school doesn’t supply you with these, make sure to purchase them well in advance. Find out things like if the tassels are supposed to be plain, or include the graduation year. If your organization is doing honor cords, be sure to get the right color. Encourage everyone to purchase from the same place to ensure continuity. Honors Graduation provides these for schools, organizations and students. Click here to check it out.
  • Semi-formal comfortable clothes: you don’t want jeans and a t-shirt, but you also don’t want a 3-piece suit or evening gown. A happy medium is slacks and a button up, or a summer dress. Schools may have their own specifications, but this usually is the standard. I would recommend girls wearing something with pockets, for reasons further down the list.
  • Comfortable shoes: you’ll be walking and standing for pictures, so be sure to wear practical shoes.
  • Tide To-Go Pen. Need I remind you that besides a wedding day, this might be one of the most photographed events of your life?
  • Gum. This might seem odd, but it’s especially helpful if you’re way down the list as far as the order for crossing the stage. If you get strong, minty gum, it will help keep you awake and the peppermint will help with nerves. Just make sure to spit it out before walking up to receive your diploma! That brings us to the next point:
  • Everything must fit in your pockets. Chapstick, extra bobby pins, tissue pack, etc. Bringing purses or book bags is generally frowned upon. Sometimes you don’t go back to the same seat after receiving your diploma and you don’t want anything to get lost. Have your family carry anything you might want for later. Cell phones should stay untouched in the pocket until after the ceremony to locate your family/friends. Having it on and out during the ceremony is not respectful to the other graduates.

 

Good luck, and congratulations on this milestone achievement!

Featured Image: Sarah Starkweather