Advice on How to Take Advantage of Opportunities to Receive Scholarships

Jing McIntosh-Yee, Staff Writer

In the midst of rising college tuition and the daunting student debt crisis, paying for college can sometimes feel like an impossible task. However, scholarships are a critical opportunity to offset the substantial cost of post-secondary education.

It is important to differentiate between need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships. While a student’s tuition can be deducted through a need-based financial aid award, there are also individual scholarships that students can apply for depending on whether they meet the qualifications for that particular scholarship.

“What we like to tell students is conduct your search for colleges and universities without restricting your consideration of a college just because of cost,” said Phil Trout, the college counselor at MHS.

Looking for scholarships, on the other hand, can sometimes be a challenge for students. While there are some general scholarships open to all students, there are scholarships that require students to meet certain requirements.

Claire Sester, ‘23, said, “finding scholarships wasn’t too difficult, however, a lot of them had specific criteria that didn’t match me or the activities I did in high school.”

Although applying for scholarships can be tedious and time-consuming, an hour’s work can earn a couple thousand dollars towards college. Every little bit helps, and a thousand dollar scholarship could pay for books or travel studies.

“Students have to carve out the time to be able to do some research. Make a goal to apply for three scholarships every week. It is our hope that students will take advantage of the scholarship opportunities and resources,” said Trout.

One helpful resource that Minnetonka provides for students is through Single Sign-On in Naviance, where there is a whole section on scholarships.

“One of my favorite websites is, [because] it has a national scholarship list. The reason why it is one of my favorites is they do not sell your name, so you don’t get unwanted emails from other sites,” Trout said.

If finding or searching for scholarships online seems like a daunting task, scholarships can be found even through talking with your teachers or parents about the possibilities. Guidance counselors are a great place to start, and are happy to be available for students.

Sester said that she “mostly found scholarships through Naviance, but I also heard about some through teachers. I also got a scholarship through where my mom works.”

Whether you are applying for local scholarships, FAFSA or just trying to figure out which schools may be right for you, Trout always welcomes students and parents seeking assistance with post-secondary planning.