From my experience…opportunities for high schoolers!

Me and my handy scholarship folder!
Me and my handy scholarship folder!

Okay, here’s a piece that I’ve been asked to put together by a few people and that I’ve put off for a while because, really, who wants to think about this kind of stuff during the summer?

But, I do realize that there are students out there—like me—that are EXTREMELY anxious to get on their feet, and summer is really not a bad time to get started on this stuff. I know that many students are stuck with other things during the school year such as sports, clubs, homework, essays, etc. So, I figured I would go ahead and share my advice first hand.

First of all, I want to start with this:

I don’t mean to boast, but almost everyone realizes that I received a lot of scholarships this year as a graduate. It’s not something that I am overly proud of, but many people are a bit aggravated with me and feel that I don’t deserve them because I got so many.

What I have to say with that is…I DO deserve them. And the reason I DO is because I worked hard for them, just like everyone else did or could have. When people congratulate me on so many scholarships, I can sometimes see the smirk on their face of disgust. Honestly it hurts. I just don’t really understand how someone could be so harsh about my success…

It was to the point that I was ashamed to walk to the stage to receive an award because I felt so many people behind me filled with anger and jealousy. I shouldn’t feel that way.

That being said, this post is not AT ALL a way to boast about my success. It’s not a post about how much money I received and a list of all the scholarships I won to shove it in anyone’s faces. It is merely a compiled list of scholarships that I applied for, and I want to reassure you, I did NOT RECEIVE all of them. Most are opportunities that I strived for, because why not?

So, here goes. I also tried to sort this in a way that you can take part in every opportunity each year:

  • Rogers Explorers: Rogers Explorers is a three-day, two-night free program focused on cultivating skills in leadership, technology, math, science, and community service. It is for incoming freshman and you apply your EIGHTH GRADE YEAR. For more info visit:
  • University of Kentucky Robinson Scholars Leadership Program: This program serves 29 counties in eastern Kentucky to promote college attendance. You apply to get in FRESHMAN YEAR of high school if you qualify, but this does not guarantee you the Robinson Scholarship (A full-ride to UK) —in fact, I didn’t receive it. You must comply with a strict set of guidelines during your four years of high school to stay in the pool to qualify for the scholarship. This includes community service, enrichment activities, workshops, meetings, GPA, extra-curricular, etc. There’s a whole book on it! But I must say, it is a GREAT opportunity. I met SO many wonderful friends through this program that I will keep as I continue my education this fall. It also has a lot of perks (paying for your tests, advising, etc.)  Your junior year, you may apply for the actual scholarship. If I’m not mistaken, they give one out to each county! For more info visit:
  • Rogers Scholars/Rogers Explorers Program: Regrettably, I did not apply for this opportunity, but my friend, Haley, did and it seems to have treated her well with scholarship offers 🙂 You apply your SOPHOMORE YEAR and it is a week-long FREE intensive program just before your junior year. For more info:
  • Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts: If you have a passion for your talent, you may want to take a shot at this. This opportunity is for incoming Juniors or Seniors, so you apply your SOPHOMORE or/and JUNIOR YEAR. It is a three-week free summer program where everything you do is focused on your passion whether it may be dance, architecture,creative writing, drama, instrumental music, musical theatre, new media, visual art or vocal Music. From what I’ve heard it is very INTENSE but very rewarding! For more info:
  • Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program: If you haven’t heard about this, I am truly unable to explain it all in short, but here are the basics. It is an extremely competitive 5-week program during the summer that you apply for during your JUNIOR YEAR. It is completely free if you are accepted and comes with a LOT of money with the right ACT score. At UK, I received the Presidential Scholarship (full-in state tuition for 4 years) with my 28+ ACT score and 3.30+ GPA. It is an amazing program, and I encourage EVERY junior to apply! For more info:

Now after going through the “programs,” I am at a point where I should discuss actual scholarship opportunities. I know not everyone wants to read a big bulk, so I will try to keep it to a minimum. Here are the scholarships I applied for my senior year (some of them with success):

  • The All A Classic Scholarship: (50) $1,000 Non-renewable Scholarships for those seniors eligible. The application:
  • The Christy Owens Scholarship: (1) $1,000, available to any graduating senior from Harlan High School in memory of Christy Owens. Visit:
  • The Whitaker Bank KHSAA Sweet 16 Scholarship: (4) $1,500 scholarships open to high school seniors that participate in KHSAA sanctioned sports and sport activities Visit:
  • KY Farm Bureau Education Foundation: Kentucky Farm Burea has SEVERAL scholarship opportunities that I encourage everyone to apply for here:
  • Upper Cumberland Counseling Association Human Services Scholarship: What a mouthful! Could not find a link for this one, but be looking out if you are thinking about going into the Human Services field, seniors!
  • Rick Fox Family Scholarship: Another local scholarship that I couldn’t find a link to. Be on the look out 🙂
  • Harlan County Farm Bureau Agents Scholarships: There are TWO of these local scholarships with the same application, hint*hint.* Kill two birds with one stone, seniors!
  • AXA Achievement Scholarship: (52) Scholarships—one from each state including D.C. and Puerto Rico—awarded $10,000!! That’s big money that I didn’t get, but it did’t hurt to try! More info:
  • Buick Achievers Scholars: This one was sort of a long-shot…my family does not even own a Buick, but they send out (100) $100,000 Scholarships over four years ($25,000 each year). That could cover tuition, room & board, books, and MORE—possibly even a Buick, ha! Couldn’t help myself but to try!
  • A.F. and Emma Whitfield Scholarship: Up to $2,000 per year for four years! Be on the lookout for this one too!
  • Harlan County Community Scholarship: One-time local scholarship that you can’t miss out on. This year I received $1,250, while others received a minimum of $750! VisitL
  • Harlan Alumni Scholarship: For seniors at Harlan High School
  • KY Blood Center Blood Drive Scholarship: Check your school if they have blood drives regularly!

And, I guess I can leave you with more, if you’re curious:

  • For those at HARLAN HIGH SCHOOL:
  • For those at HARLAN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL: Check on your school’s website. I don’t know much, but I’ve found many scholarships on their page, and I am sure the counselors will keep you up to date.
  • Don’t forget to visit your future college’s website for more scholarship information!
  • There are NUMEROUS opportunities on the internet. Almost every company wants to give some money out for students, because everyone realizes how expensive it is to get an education now-a-days. When you’re bored, go on a search! It will be very rewarding in the end!


  1. APPLY for EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. What have you got to lose? It’s a bit of hard work, but it is definitely worth it.
  2. SAVE your essays! I’ve found that many of my scholarship essays were easily tweaked to form a different scholarship essay. This definitely saves time.
  3. Keep track of EVERYTHING. Compile all your extra-curriculars, community service, honors, awards, etc. that would enhance your scholarship applications into one-place. If it’s easy to find, you won’t have to stress over these things.
  4. Ask for recommendation letters EARLY! Teachers are beyond busy with what they have to do on a regular basis, so give them a GOOD amount of time for your letters. Set them with a deadline after two or three weeks. Give them more time to write you an AMAZING letter rather than a rushed one!
  5. Don’t forget to apply for colleges EARLY! Some require it to be considered for their scholarships, so I definitely wouldn’t want to miss out.
  6. Use the COMMON APPLICATION. Plenty of schools will take these and it is extremely convenient to use if you are considering several colleges! Visit:
  7. And, of course, don’t you DARE forget to fill out the FAFSA!!!!!! This is VERY important! The FAFSA launches on January 1st and money runs out quickly, so get what you can! Some say they don’t need to fill it out because they believe they won’t get any money, but to receive ANY scholarships from schools this HAS to be filled out and it is FREE! Visit: (NO OTHER SITE BUT THIS ONE!!)

If anyone has ANY more questions for me, feel free to leave a comment! This was a rather rushed and unorganized blog, but I will always do what I can to help.

Thanks for reading,





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