What is the College Board?
Have you encountered the College Board yet? Whether or not you’ve already started your scholarship search for College Board scholarships, you have used their services if you’ve taken the PSAT, SAT, or an Advanced Placement course! In addition to managing a lot of the academic pieces for applying to college, the organization provides College Board scholarships, which we will dive into below.
The College Board is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization. Their goal is to prepare students for a successful transition to college. They connect students with opportunities through programs like College Board Opportunity scholarships, also known as BigFuture scholarships. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. It now helps more than seven million students annually as they consider the cost of college and begin their search for scholarships for college.
Does the College Board offer scholarships?
Yes! The College Board has several different scholarships for college that we will cover in this guide today.
In particular, the College Board Opportunity scholarships—now referred to as the College Board BigFuture scholarships—are perfect for your scholarship search to defray the cost of college and provide opportunities beyond merit-based scholarships. But first, before we get to College Board scholarships, let’s define merit-based scholarships.
Scholarships for College: Beyond merit-based scholarships
As you begin your scholarship search and consider the cost of college, you’ll realize there are many scholarships for college. At CollegeAdvisor, we create guides to merit-based scholarships. A merit-based scholarship is awarded by a college, community organization, or private company based on a student’s achievements and accomplishments. Merit-based scholarships are different from need-based scholarships, which students receive based on their financial need. Students can use both to help cover the cost of college. In fact, merit-based scholarships are one of the best ways to cover rising college costs because you don’t need to repay them as you would with a loan.
In your scholarship search for scholarships for college, you will find many merit-based scholarships. Within this category, there are subcategories. Some merit-based scholarships are only for students who meet certain qualifications. For example, first-generation students, students with high test scores, or students who help a lot in their community. However, most merit-based scholarships take your grades and academic achievements into account, so they don’t always work for every student.
Here at CollegeAdvisor.com, we’ll help you find and apply for scholarships for college to help cover the cost of college.
Check out our many articles about the merit-based scholarships that could help you, such as:
- National Merit Scholarship, awarded primarily based on PSAT scores
- Coca-Cola Scholarship, awarded to 150 exceptional high school seniors nationwide
- Vanderbilt Scholarship, awarded to students independent of a family’s financial status
- Gates Scholarship, awarded to 300 high school seniors from low-income households annually
- Hope Scholarship, awarded to residents of Georgia based primarily on high school GPA
Now that you know some merit-based scholarships for your scholarship search, we’ll turn to College Board Scholarships. These are not merit-based scholarships. Read on to learn how to win College Board scholarships. In particular, College Board Opportunity scholarships, recently rebranded as the College Board BigFuture Scholarships.
What is the College Board Opportunity Scholarship?
The College Board Opportunity Scholarships program launched in December 2018. They had a commitment of $25 million in scholarships over 5 years, beginning in 2019. According to their site, College Board “created the College Board Opportunity Scholarships to guide students through the journey to college…and motivate and reward them with scholarships along the way.”
The College Board Opportunity Scholarships program determines winners through random drawings rather than a criteria-based selection process. Even though the College Board Opportunity scholarships are sponsored by the College Board, they are not SAT or ACT scholarships. In fact, they have no connection to standardized test scores. Furthermore, half of these scholarships for college are for students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year. This makes College Board Opportunity Scholarships accessible and within reach for a range of potential College Board Opportunity Scholarship winners.
Complete tasks to qualify
Students can earn entries for College Board Scholarships by completing tasks such as building an online college list or preparing for the SAT. Students with more difficulty covering rising college costs are eligible to receive additional entries. In addition, students who build their college lists or enter the College Board Opportunity scholarships search earlier will have more chances to win College Board Scholarships, as student names remain in the entry pool as long as they are eligible.
College Board Opportunity Scholarship vs. Big Future Scholarships
So, how are College Board BigFuture scholarships different from College Board Opportunity scholarships? They aren’t. In 2021, College Board Opportunity Scholarships became College Board BigFuture Scholarships, beginning for juniors in the class of 2023.
It is important to realize that although the College Board Opportunity Scholarships rebranded to College Board BigFuture Scholarships for the class of 2023, eligibility and the six steps students must take haven’t changed. However, the amount of money given each month and the number of students who win have changed over the years.
Currently, College Board scholarships are drawn monthly for the class of 2023. Random drawings occur from the end of January 2022 through February 2023. Each month, two $40,000 scholarship winners are selected, along with hundreds of $500 scholarship winners. In order to join the list of winners of College Board scholarships, students need to complete at least one of the six BigFuture College Planning Steps to become eligible for College Board BigFuture scholarships. We will dive into the steps in the next section, but they include: building your college list; practicing for the SAT; exploring scholarships; strengthening your college list; completing the FAFSA; and finally, applying to colleges.
In order to win one of the College Board scholarships for college, you need a free College Board account. Then, simply start completing the six steps for BigFuture Scholarships, and you’ll automatically enter into the draw. Pay attention to the start and end dates for each step, as they differ.
Accessible and equitable
As you can see, when it comes to scholarships for college, College Board scholarships are accessible and equitable. College Board Opportunity Scholarships simplify the college planning process while rewarding effort and action. Also known as College Board BigFuture Scholarships, these scholarships for college do not require an application or essay. College Board scholarships do not require participation in PSAT, SAT, or other testing—just participation in the six BigFuture Scholarships Planning Steps. You can use your College Board scholarships at any accredited 2-year or 4-year institution for tuition, board, books, and other necessities.
Now that you know what College Board scholarships exist, let’s take a closer look at the required application materials. This will help you prepare to join the list of College Board Opportunity scholarship winners. Before we discuss the six College Planning Steps to follow, let’s look at College Board Opportunity scholarship eligibility.
How do I sign up for College Board Opportunity Scholarships?
Great news! College Board Opportunity Scholarships, also known as BigFuture scholarships, are open to all students who attend high school in the United States, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories—regardless of GPA, test scores, citizenship status, and family income—no matter what their plans or goals are after high school. U.S. citizens and residents attending Department of Defense Education Activity schools abroad can also take part in this program.
How can you earn College Board Opportunity Scholarships?
According to the College Board, students can earn $500 and $40,000 scholarships each month, starting as a junior in high school, just by completing individual college planning steps. The more actions you complete, the more chances you have to earn a scholarship—complete all six actions and you’ll be eligible for the $40,000 Complete Your Journey scholarship. Furthermore, if the cost of college is a barrier for your family, students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year have extra chances at BigFuture Scholarships, because they’re eligible for two entries in each drawing.
What factors decide College Board Opportunity Scholarship eligibility? Students who create a College Board account will enter the College Board Opportunity scholarships (now BigFuture scholarships) search earlier and will have more chances to win College Board Scholarships, as student names remain in the entry pool as long as they are eligible. There are six steps you must follow in order to win College Board scholarships. Let’s dive into them.
College Board Opportunity Scholarship Eligibility
|Steps||How do I qualify?||Amt.||Start Date + Deadline||CollegeAdvisor Resources|
|Step 1: Build your College List||Explore colleges that interest you on College Search. Add 6 schools to your list to qualify.|
$500 + $40k
|December 6, 2021 – June 30, 2022||Finding balance: Picking a great list of colleges|
|Step 2: Practice for the SAT||Use Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy to get ready for test day. Start with 1 Timed Mini Section or 1 Diagnostic Quiz to earn your entry.|
$500 + $40k
July 1, 2022 -February 28, 2023
Preparing for Standardized Testing
|Step 3: Explore Scholarships||Do a scholarship search. Find other scholarships for college and aid to help you pay for college. Explore a personalized list of scholarships for college and select “Go Apply” for at least 1 to learn about requirements.|
$500 + $40k
July 1, 2022 -February 28, 2023
|Step 4: Strengthen College List||Make sure your list has a mix of colleges – at least 3 reach, 2 ‘match’ and 1 safety – to qualify for College Board scholarships.|
$500 + $40k
July 1, 2022 – October 31, 2022
|Your dream school: What it is and how CollegeAdvisor.com can help|
|Step 5: Complete the FAFSA||Fill out the free government form to apply for financial aid. To enter, confirm that you already submitted the FAFSA or are ineligible to complete it.|
$500 + $40k
October 1, 2022 -February 28, 2023
Financial aid and FAFSA 101 (webinar)
|Step 6: Apply to Colleges||Apply to 2 or more schools you want to attend to earn an entry.|
$500 + $40k
October 1, 2022 -February 28, 2023
|The new 2021-2022 Common App essay prompt|
College Board Opportunity Scholarships- Additional FAQs
Now that we have covered what College Board scholarships exist in your scholarship search for college, let’s zoom in on a few more details that will help you on the quest to secure College Board Opportunity Scholarships (rebranded as College Board BigFuture Scholarships).
What happens once I win a College Board Opportunity Scholarship?
So, you made College Board Opportunity scholarship eligibility and succeeded in your scholarship search. If you become one of the College Board Opportunity Scholarship winners, College Board’s partner, Scholarship America, will email you with instructions to officially accept the College Board Opportunity Scholarship (or CollegeBoard BigFuture Scholarship). You’ll receive a check made payable to your institution in the mail, the summer after your senior year (upon verification of home address and where you plan to enroll!)
What if I don’t end up enrolling in a qualifying institution?
According to the College Board, if a student wins College Board scholarships, “after completing paperwork to officially claim their scholarship (which must happen within 60 calendar days of being notified that they were selected for a scholarship per the Official Rules), they’ll receive additional instructions in the spring of senior year.
Winners of $500 awards will have until October 1, 2024 to access their scholarships. Winners of $40,000 awards must spend their funds on undergraduate studies by October 1, 2029 after which they must forfeit unused funds. If a student is taking a gap year, they’ll be able to wait one year before using their scholarship at the institution where they enroll.”
What do College Board Opportunity scholarship winners have to say about their experience winning College Board scholarships?
Although the scholarship search for scholarships for college can be overwhelming, everyday students like you win College Board scholarships every month. And the best part is, they aren’t merit-based scholarships, so more students have a chance to shine beyond academics!
Winners of the College Board scholarships for the current application cycle are not College Board Opportunity scholarship winners, but the first batch of College Board BigFuture Scholarship winners. This round is still going, so you have time to establish eligibility and become a candidate for College Board scholarships every month.
Students who have won $40,000 College Board BigFuture scholarships in this cycle say:
– “Receiving this scholarship opens the door to so many colleges and universities.”
– “I hope to transform my dreams of becoming a doctor into reality with this.”
– “My life has forever been changed.”
How to win College Board Scholarships- Final Thoughts
By now, you should have a good idea of the six steps that will help you win College Board scholarships, as well as College Board Opportunity scholarship eligibility. You have learned that the College Board Opportunity Scholarships program launched in December 2018, with a commitment of $25 million in scholarships over 5 years, beginning in 2019, and was rebranded as College Board BigFuture scholarships this past academic cycle. Most importantly, you hopefully have an idea of how to win some of the $25 million offered in College Board scholarships simply by preparing for college!
Let’s summarize how you can easily include College Board Scholarships in your scholarship search:
1) Create a free College Board account.
Then, log in to BigFuture using your College Board account.
Students who create a College Board account will enter the College Board Opportunity scholarships (now BigFuture scholarships) search earlier and will have more chances to win College Board Scholarships, as student names remain in the entry pool as long as they are eligible.
3) Use your College Board BigFuture account to complete the six steps: practice for the SAT; explore scholarships; strengthen your college list; complete the FAFSA; and apply to colleges.
Not only will you be automatically eligible for scholarships for college, but you will make yourself a stronger candidate for your top schools with each step. For example, you can build your college list on BigFuture and become eligible for the corresponding monthly drawing by adding at least six schools.
If you are taking the PSAT or SATs, you can practice by logging in to complete either (a) a Timed Mini Section or (b) a Diagnostic Quiz to practice using Official SAT Practice on the Khan Academy website. Note that your College Board and Khan Academy accounts must be linked.
“Lower Income Students” are those eligible for a fee waiver from the College Board; and/or attended a high-poverty school where 75% or more students had free or reduced lunch; and/or have a family Adjusted Gross Income of $60,000 or less. If you qualify, you have a chance to enter separate and additional drawings. Make sure you have the documents you need to prove eligibility so you can enter more chances to defray the cost of college!
Tips on How to Win College Board Scholarships
In addition to the College Board Opportunity Scholarship (or College Board BigFuture Scholarship), the College Board can help you find scholarships for college with their Scholarship Search tool. According to their website, simply sign in and enter your information “to find matches from over 6,000 programs, totaling over $4 billion scholarship dollars yearly”. You can filter your scholarship search to find matches based on your background, by categories like Interests, Situations (such as being a child of divorce, or an employed student), Affiliations (such as the Boys & Girls Club), Citizenship, Professions, and even a list for Miscellaneous to cover the unique aspects that make you, you!
The best part is that College Board Scholarship Search lets you apply for scholarships online and then reuse that information for other applications without you having to retype your data, saving you time and money. You can also access College Board Scholarship Search through the Common App. Once you submit your first common application, you will receive an alert in the Financial Aid Resources tab. Click, and the site will prompt you to connect with Scholarship Search. Either register or log in to your pre-existing College Board Scholarship Search account, and you are ready to go!
CollegeAdvisor Merit-Based Scholarship Resources!
In this article, we have covered College Board scholarships and how to win these accessible scholarships for college. We have also discussed the difference between the College Board scholarships and other merit-based scholarships for college.
To recap, a merit-based scholarship is a sum of scholarship money awarded by a college, community organization, or private company based on a student’s achievements and accomplishments. Merit-based scholarships are different from need-based scholarships, which are awarded based on a student’s financial need. You can use both to help cover the cost of college. Merit-based scholarships are one of the best ways to cover rising college costs because you don’t need to repay them in the way you do with loans.
Check out our guides
In the past, CollegeAdvisor has created guides to applying for merit-based scholarships. In your scholarship search for scholarships for college, you will find that many merit-based scholarships. Keep in mind that most merit-based scholarships take your grades and academic achievements into account, so they are not for everyone.
Here at CollegeAdvisor.com, we can help you connect to and apply for scholarships for college to help cover the cost of college. You learned about a few merit-based scholarships earlier in this article, but there are many more! Our merit-based scholarships archive can help you learn about important dates and eligibility requirements for over twenty additional merit-based scholarships.
Other merit-based scholarships to explore include:
- The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, awarded through partner universities and NGOs
- The National Eagle Scout Association Scholarship, awarded to Eagle Scouts beginning their senior year of high school through their junior year of college.
- The Burger King Scholars Program, awarded to employees, their partners, their children, and high school seniors in the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
- School-specific scholarships from Rutgers, UCSD, Vanderbilt, WSU, Emory, Ohio State, and more!
Here at CollegeAdvisor, we are committed to helping you succeed in the college admissions process and your scholarship search with expert support. Whether you want to read our many free articles or get matched with a personalized advising team, we are here for you. Good luck with your scholarship search!
This article was written by D. Lagomarsino. If you want to get help with your college applications from Lori or other CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Experts, register with CollegeAdvisor.com today. Also, check out our other guides to Merit-Based Scholarships as you embark on your college application journey