scholarships

Micro-scholarships, unbeknownst to many upcoming high school students, are scholarships that students can earn from select colleges and universities based upon their achievements in 9th through 12th grades. They are designed to make college more affordable for all students. More than 200 institutions offer micro-scholarships through RaiseMe.

RaiseMe (www.raise.me) is a free and easy-to-use website that allows students to enter their achievements and see how much money they could earn from any of the schools they follow through the site. Each institution delegates the scholarships they offer and how much money they award. For example, one college could offer you $500 if you received an A or B in English while another could only offer you $50. It all depends on the choices of the establishment. Even if your school of choice does not offer any micro-scholarships, you can still follow them on RaiseMe and view their statistics.

There are four institutions within West Virginia that offer micro-scholarships: Wheeling Jesuit University, West Virginia University, West Virginia University Institute of Technology and WVU Potomac State College.

Micro-scholarships are not just for outstanding grades. RaiseMe also allows you to input your extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports and organizations. You can also enter your community service hours, work experiences, test scores and things that you have done to prepare for college; tours, camps, classes, etc. For optimal results, it is best to start as a freshman and enter your information as you progress through high school. This will help you to keep your profile updated and it will alert you to every micro-scholarship for which you are eligible.

When you set up your RaiseMe account, you start by signing up as a student or as an educator. For me, I chose student and was then asked if I attended high school, community college or neither. (I chose high school.) I then decided to create my own password and pair it with my email address, in place of my phone number or Google account, to complete the process of signing up for RaiseMe.

After that, I began the construction of my RaiseMe profile. First, with questions about myself, and then, with inquiries about the school I currently attend and the schools I am interested in. Then, you choose whichever institutions you wish to follow. From there, all you have to do is input your grades, sports, community services, and any other achievements and watch the micro-scholarships add up.

RaiseMe is based on the honor system. It is up to you to truthfully enter your grades, test scores, etc. Colleges will verify everything you submit. If they find that any of your information has been falsified, you are liable to lose any or all of your yet-to-be-earned scholarships.

The only catch with these types of scholarships is that you have to apply to and attend whatever school you chose to receive their micro-scholarships. That is, so long as they offer any. Micro-scholarships are granted in addition to regular sports or academic scholarships.