Apply to Colleges
About the Scholarship
Once you have a strong college list with a balanced mix of schools, it’s time to apply.
Students who apply to 2 or more colleges will earn a chance at a $500 scholarship.
The scholarship opens on October 1. Seniors can earn entries for this Opportunity Scholarship from October through February.
How to Qualify
Once you apply to colleges, log in to the College Board Opportunity Scholarships and list the schools you’ve applied to. Apply to at least two colleges to earn one entry in this Opportunity Scholarship drawing.
- Join the College Board Opportunity Scholarships program.
- Go to My Action Plan and select the Apply to College scholarship card.
- List at least 2 colleges you've applied to.
Tips for Applying to Colleges
- How should I decide where to apply to college?
Once you've made a list of colleges you're interested in, the next step is to narrow down the list to colleges you'll apply to. If you're at this point in the process, you've probably already looked into things like location, size, and majors. If you haven't already, research things like financial aid packages, variety of academic programs, special programs like study abroad, clubs and activities on campus, and housing options. You can also use the BigFutureTM Compare Colleges tool to compare schools you're interested in.
- How many colleges should I apply to?
Most counselors recommend that students apply to 5–8 colleges they’d be happy to attend. It's good to apply to some colleges that are a bit of a stretch for you and some you feel will likely admit you.
- What are the Coalition and Common Applications?
They’re standardized applications you use to apply to multiple schools. Instead of filling out 6 different applications, you simply fill out one and submit it to each college.
- The Coalition Application is accepted by more than 150 institutions. The platform includes The Locker, a private space for you to collect and organize materials throughout high school you might want to share with colleges and universities.
- The Common Application is a standardized application used by nearly 900 colleges. Each year, nearly a million students use the Common Application to submit over 4 million applications.
- Should I apply early?
It depends. If you’re sure about which college you want to attend, early decision or early action might be the best choice for you. If you're not sure, keep in mind that early decision application plans require you to commit early. You may want to keep your options open.
Increase Your Chances
Whenever students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year apply to 2 or more colleges, they’ll earn an extra entry in monthly drawings and have double the chances at a scholarship.
Dates and Deadlines
You can list the colleges you've applied to in My Action Plan beginning in October and through the end of February. Scholarships are awarded at the end of February. The drawing occurs on the first day of the following month.
300 students will be randomly selected at the end of February to receive a $500 scholarship. Of those scholarships, 150 will go to students whose families earn less than $60,000 per year.
If you’re selected for a scholarship, you’ll be notified by email and prompted to go to your My Achievements page.
You should submit your college applications and then update your College Board Opportunity Scholarships' Colleges I've Applied To list in your My Action Plan page. If you’re selected as a winner of the Opportunity Scholarship, you’ll be required to provide confirmation of your applications to the colleges on your list.
Yes. You can earn entries by applying to two- and four-year institutions.
You can still qualify for this Opportunity Scholarship if you applied binding early decision. On the Apply to Colleges scholarship card, once you’ve listed the college where you applied early decision, enter “early decision” in the second text box to earn your entry. You should consider preparing other applications as you wait to hear back from your early decision school since you may only have a few weeks left to apply to other schools if you need to.
Keep in mind, early action and early decision are different. If you applied early action, you’ll need to indicate a second college where you’ve applied to qualify for this scholarship. For more information about applying early decision versus early action, review this article.
After you enter two colleges on your Colleges I've Applied To list, you'll see your My Action Plan progress tracker update when you've earned an entry. After the drawing, you'll be able to see your earned entry from the My Achievements page.
Yes—but please keep in mind that, per the official rules, if you’re selected for a scholarship, we will not be able to disburse scholarship(s) to colleges that are not Title IV institutions.