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What outside scholarships/awards, if any, help admissions into the most selective colleges?

bb10128bb10128 11 replies4 threads Junior Member
edited September 20 in College Admissions
I noticed there are many outside scholarships, most of them are not well known. Use two random examples: 1) NSHSS Foundation STEM Scholarship, 2) Coca-Cola Scholars Program.

Would winning any such scholarships help my child's admissions chances for the most selective colleges?
edited September 20
11 replies
Post edited by skieurope on
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Replies to: What outside scholarships/awards, if any, help admissions into the most selective colleges?

  • RichInPittRichInPitt 3023 replies48 threads Senior Member
    edited September 18
    I’m not sure that a scholarship would mean much in the admissions process. The accomplishments/awards/efforts that went into garnering a scholarship should be the inputs to the application.

    The analogy is being an AP National Scholar. The title itself is meaningless, but the AP scores the serve as qualification for the award may (or may not) be what’s meaningful.

    There are so many awards out there that listing and quantifying them would be an endless exercise. An IMO Gold Medal would be beneficial to college admissions. A high school “prettiest eyes” award wouldn’t.

    There’s a very long thread here on CC somewhere that attempted to list a bazillion awards/accomplishments and rate their impact on a 1-10 scale. The accuracy/value of such a list is debatable, but it at least provides a long list and the input of many, many CC’ers to your question.

    13+ years’ worth : https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/high-school-life/302001-list-of-top-prestigious-awards-p1.html
    edited September 18
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  • bb10128bb10128 11 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Thx Rich.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35930 replies404 threads Senior Member
    edited September 20
    Coca Cola is one of the best known scholarships, at least to the college savvy. It's highly competitive and announces well past the December college app deadlines.

    NSHSS- well just look at the qualifications to get this. It has standards, but not on the order of what a "most selective" is looking for. Not a tip. Lots of kids get invited, no one is quite sure even how those folks get their names.

    The most selective colleges aren't going to swoon over most awards. Some of the higher math competitions, yes. But again, not some magic touch. These colleges want a solid holistic app, depth and breadth, done right, in and out of the high school.

    The sort of awards that get a tippy top AO excited are more about rare, high performing kids who didn't have the same opportunities as others. They're not just "awards," but solid mentoring opportunities, over a few years. Not a contest, but the result of vetting.

    Adding, the Natl AP Scholar looks for 4s in all AP tests. A string of just 4 scores isn't particularly competititve for a Top10.
    edited September 20
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  • bb10128bb10128 11 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Thanks lookingfwd. Could you elaborate on your points on "rare, high performing kids who didn't have the same opportunities as others"? Sorry that I do not quite understand what you mean. Are you referring to programs like RSI, ROSS which are not awards/scholarships but certainly "proves" a student's caliber?

    Sorry about my ignorance on "Coca Cola". Just started researching this whole scholarship for admissions thing. Would going down the list on the list below increase my "savvy" hopefully? Any other worthwhile list to go thru?
    https://blog.****/top-scholarships-for-high-school-seniors

    My child just made National AP, with one 4 in biology, seven 5s in math, physics, cs, history, etc. He is academically strong, but lacks accomplishments like IMO, Siemens or Intel, etc. So he would be in the same pool as many other kids.
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  • oldcmcalumoldcmcalum 123 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited September 22
    I'm not an Admissions Counselor, but based on my research and my D's experience, there are some awards/honors that seemed to help her admissions and some scholarships release semifinalist/advancement information early enough (Nov/Dec), that they can be conveyed to admissions reps. On the scholarship side, my D was a finalist for US Senate Youth Program and made it to the final round of the Coca Cola Scholars program and knew about status in both of those programs early enough to communicate them to admissions at her top schools. My D was also a finalist for the US Presidential Scholars program which while super selective, is often dismissed and advice is colleges won't care because most nominations are focused on the top ACT/SAT scores in the state and colleges already know your scores, but for my D whose scores were average at best, we know her nomination came from leadership and community service and was probably from State Sec of Education.

    I think there are other selective awards/programs that are so selective they are impressive. For example, D spent a summer with US State Dept NSLI-Y program in Amman and she also spent a summer working for City Year as part of the Bank of America Student Leaders programs. NSLI-Y is pretty choosy, but admission rate isn't freakishly low (~15%), but for BofA, the "admission rate" for our area was well below 1% (4 interns selected from 600+ applicants)

    At the end of the day, my D (2020) was admitted to a number of schools where her stats were not above their 50th percentile, but she had good, upward trending grades, strong rigor, and I think some of the selective programs and awards reflected her passion for leadership and community service.
    edited September 22
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  • bb10128bb10128 11 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Thanks oldcmcalum. I will be sure to check out these ideas you mentioned.
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  • MWolfMWolf 3066 replies14 threads Senior Member
    @bb10128 There are no downsides to applying for a scholarship. Even if they do not help with admissions, they help with tuition, which is often a far bigger problem.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 6100 replies97 threads Senior Member
    edited September 22
    MWolf wrote: »
    @bb10128 There are no downsides to applying for a scholarship. Even if they do not help with admissions, they help with tuition, which is often a far bigger problem.

    External scholarships really only help at schools that stack FA.

    At schools that don't stack, outside scholarships often reduce dollar for dollar the previous need based (sometimes even merit based) aid package.

    Of course if the applicant didn't have any financial need, they would realize the full value of the outside scholarship.
    edited September 22
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35930 replies404 threads Senior Member
    @bb10128 That's a good link, but mostly it's talking about money awarded. In terms of boosting admit chances, it's a tough question when speaking of "most selective." (That really starts with HYPSM.)

    @oldcmcalum notes others. But more than enough kids will have a pattern of good achievements. What seem to be smaller efforts (the sort of community service or how a hs kid extends him/herself,) is part of the picture. Holistic.

    Yes, to NSLI-Y. Programs where you do something, play a role, have some impact, even small. Not just experience a milieu or culture- or win. Some programs that offer a stipend, not where Mom and Dad pay. But they'll still scrutinize the app/supp for overall what comes across. Every section matters.

    You do not need Intel, Siemens, etc. Most admits at tippy tops don't have them or never even participated.
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  • bb10128bb10128 11 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Thanks lookingforward. I have now gone thru quite a few more lists on the Internet. I feel I have a pretty good handle on this situation now. Thanks to you and all the other CCers who helped out.
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  • MWolfMWolf 3066 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Mwfan1921 wrote: »
    MWolf wrote: »
    @bb10128 There are no downsides to applying for a scholarship. Even if they do not help with admissions, they help with tuition, which is often a far bigger problem.

    External scholarships really only help at schools that stack FA.

    At schools that don't stack, outside scholarships often reduce dollar for dollar the previous need based (sometimes even merit based) aid package.

    Good point to remember when applying for multiple scholarships.
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