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    College Board Opportunity Scholarships: Everything You Need to Know

    By Lisa Freedland

    Lisa Freedland is a Scholarships360 writer with personal experience in psychological research and content writing. She has written content for an online fact-checking organization and has conducted research at the University of Southern California as well as the University of California, Irvine. Lisa graduated from the University of Southern California in Fall 2021 with a degree in Psychology.

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    Updated: May 2nd, 2024
    College Board Opportunity Scholarships: Everything You Need to Know

    Applying to college? If so, you’re eligible for the College Board Opportunity Scholarships! These scholarships award you for going through the typical college application steps. Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about these scholarships, from what they are, to eligibility requirements, to the application process, and more.

    What are the College Board Opportunity Scholarships?

    The College Board Opportunity Scholarships award students for going through the steps of applying to college, including researching colleges, applying to them, and all those in between.

    We’ll delve further into each step later, but for now you should know that there are six total – each of which gives you a chance of winning a scholarship. Students who complete each of these are then entered to win a larger, $40,000 scholarship. 

    Without further ado, let’s get into eligibility requirements and the application process!

    Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for the Opportunity Scholarships, applicants must be residing in any U.S. state, the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.), Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, or any other U.S. territories. Alternatively, applicants can be U.S. citizens or residents who attend a U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school outside the U.S. or its territories.

    Students who apply must be juniors or seniors in high school. Further, for the current class of 2022 scholarships, applicants must have been juniors in high school as of December 2020. If you were not a junior at this time – do not worry! These scholarships recur every year and you will have the chance to apply later on. 

    Lastly, applicants need a College Board online account. Luckily, these can easily be set up here.

    Are there income requirements College Board Opportunity Scholarships?

    Nope! Anyone is eligible to apply for the Opportunity Scholarships – no matter their family income. However, students defined as “Lower Income Students” will be able to enter separate, additional drawings for more chances at winning scholarships. Additionally, “Lower Income” students attending high school in Connecticut have extra opportunities to enter drawings (on top of those given to “Lower Income” applicants from any state or territory).

    Students deemed “Lower Income” by College Board should be/have at least one of the following:

    • Eligible to receive a fee waiver from College Board
    • Attending a high-poverty school (where 75% or more of the students receive reduced-price or free lunch)
    • A family Adjusted Gross Income of $60,000 or less

    How do I apply for the College Board Opportunity Scholarships?

    Now that we’ve gone over what these scholarships are and their eligibility criteria, let’s go over how you can apply! The Opportunity Scholarships do not have a “traditional” application process – there are no essays or letters of recommendation required (although you may need these for your college applications).

    To start, you first need to create a College Board online account (if you don’t have one already).

    After this, so long as you complete the required college application steps, you’re entered to win scholarships. The steps are as follows:

    Build Your College List

    Students should go to College Board BigFuture and create their own college list with at least six schools. Applicants should be logged onto BigFuture with their College Board account.

    Practice for the SAT

    Applicants must log into Khan Academy and complete either a “Timed Mini Section” or an SAT practice Diagnostic Quiz using the Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy. Your Khan Academy and College Board accounts must be linked to get credit for doing so.

    Explore Scholarships

    Students must log onto Scholarship Search using their College Board account and complete a set of prompts. Doing so will generate a personalized list of colleges for each student.

    Strengthen your College List

    Create or edit your college list on College Board BigFuture to narrow it down to one “safety” school, two “match” schools, and three “reach” (harder to get accepted to) colleges. You must be logged onto BigFuture with your College Board account to be credited for doing so.

    Complete the FAFSA

    Students should complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) with their parent or guardian. For applicants who are not citizens or do not meet the required residency requirements to fill out the FAFSA, they may complete their state’s financial aid form instead (if available). If this is not available to applicants or they are also ineligible to fill out their state’s financial aid form, they may still earn credit for doing so (and earn an entry into the scholarship drawing) by indicating so to College Board.

    See also: FAFSA Guide

    For those who have never filled out the FAFSA before, this guide provided by the U.S. Department of Education provides detailed steps that may help you through the process. 

    1. Apply to Colleges: Apply to a minimum of two colleges and provide proof of your applications if selected as a winner of an Opportunity Scholarship. Alternatively, if you have applied binding Early Decision to a university, you may still earn entry into the scholarship drawing by informing College Board of your decision.
    2. Complete Your Journey: Complete all the above steps (#1-6)

    Remember: the more steps you complete, the more drawings you’re entered into and the greater your chances of winning scholarships!

    Timeline (for the Class of 2022)

    Each scholarship associated with one of the steps has a different opening and closing date, in which the students can complete the step and earn a drawing entry. However, the scholarships are awarded on a monthly basis. The eligibility for such monthly drawings ends at 11:59 pm EST on the last day of each month between the opening and closing date (see below). So, for each step completed, the applicant receives one entry in the monthly drawing for that scholarship. 

    For your convenience, here are the opening and closing dates for each scholarship:

    • Build Your College List
      • Opening Date: December 7, 2020 
      • Closing Date: June 30, 2021
    • Practice for the SAT
      • Opening Date: December 7, 2020
      • Closing Date: October 31, 2021
    • Explore Scholarships
      • Opening Date: July 1, 2021
      • Closing Date: February 28, 2022
    • Strengthen your College List
      • Opening Date: July 1, 2021
      • Closing Date: October 31, 2021
    • Complete the FAFSA
      • Opening Date: October 1, 2021
      • Closing Date: February 28, 2022
    • Apply to Colleges
      • Opening Date: October 1, 2021
      • Closing Date: February 28, 2022
    • Complete Your Journey
      • Opening Date: December 4, 2021
      • Closing Date: February 28, 2022

    Available Prizes

    By now, you probably know that each step is associated with a scholarship. 

    However, you may be wondering, “How much is it?”

    Great question!

    For each step a student fulfills (#1-6), they are entered into a drawing to win $500. If all six steps are completed, however, the student is entered for a chance to win $40,000 (for “Complete Your Journey”). 

    There’s more good news – there’s more than one winner (which means the greater chances you have of winning)! Let’s get into the details about the scholarships and how many winners there are for each.

    • Build Your College List Winners 
      • $500/winner
      • January – March 2021: 250 winners per month + additional 250 winners per month chosen from “Lower Income” applicants
      • April – June 2021: 50 winners per month + 50 “Lower Income” winners per month
      • 18 “Lower Income” winners who reside in Connecticut 
    • Practice for the SAT Winners 
      • $500/winner
      • January – March 2021: 250 winners per month + additional 250 winners per month chosen from “Lower Income” applicants
      • April – October 2021: 50 winners per month + 50 “Lower Income” winners per month
      • 22 “Lower Income” winners who reside in Connecticut 
    • Explore Scholarships Winners 
      • $500/winner
      • July 2021 – February 2022: 50 winners per month + 50 “Lower Income” winners per month
      • 8 “Lower Income” winners who reside in Connecticut 
    • Strengthen Your College List Winners 
      • $500/winner
      • July – October 2021: 50 winners per month + 50 “Lower Income” winners per month
      • 4 “Lower Income” winners who reside in Connecticut 
    • Complete the FAFSA Winners
      • $500/winner
      • October – December 2021: 250 winners per month + additional 250 winners per month chosen from “Lower Income” applicants
      • January – February 2022: 50 winners per month + 50 “Lower Income” winners per month
      • 17 “Lower Income” winners who reside in Connecticut 
    • Apply to Colleges Winners
      • $500/winner
      • February 2022: 150 winners + 150 winners chosen from “Lower Income” applicants
      • 7 “Lower Income” winners who reside in Connecticut 
    • Complete Your Journey Winners
      • $40,000/winner
      • February 2022: 12 winners + 13 winners chosen from “Lower Income” applicants

    And that’s it! We wish you good luck on your college (and scholarship) application process. If you have any more questions about the scholarships, we suggest checking out this very detailed FAQ provided by the College Board itself.

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