Strengthen Your College List
About the Scholarship
You’ve built your college list—now it’s time to strengthen it. As you head into your senior year, think about where you may want to apply.
Students in the class of 2022 who create a balanced list by updating their college list on BigFuture™ to have at least 3 reach colleges, 2 match colleges, and 1 safety college will earn a chance at a $500 scholarship.
The College Board will award 100 Opportunity Scholarships every month from July through October.
How to Qualify
Sign in to your College Board account and create a balanced list on BigFuture with at least six colleges—including three reach, two match, and one safety—to earn one entry in the monthly drawing.
- Join or log in to the College Board Opportunity Scholarships program.
- Sign in to BigFuture to view your college list and/or add colleges.
- Add at least 6 colleges to your list, including 3 reach, 2 match, and 1 safety.
- While it won’t affect your eligibility for this scholarship, it’s a good idea to keep your list updated as your interests and preferences change in later months. Make sure to keep at least 6 colleges on your list, with at least 3 reach, 2 match, and 1 safety.
Tips for Strengthening Your List
- How can I balance my list?
Once you’ve made a list of colleges you’re interested in, narrow it down to the ones you want to apply to. You’ll need a minimum of 6 colleges on your list, including 3 reach, 2 match, and 1 safety. Your school counselor is a great resource as you evaluate colleges and choose the ones you’ll apply to.
- How are reach, match, and safety colleges defined?
This scholarship defines reach, match, and safety based on SAT and ACT scores, but remember: test scores are only one factor for admission. Consider GPA, coursework, extracurriculars, and more to decide if a college is right for you.
Compare your highest SAT or ACT score to those of last year’s first-year class. If you don't yet have an SAT or ACT score, you can estimate your score based on a previous PSAT-related test score or take a practice test on Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy®.
- REACH: Your SAT or ACT score is lower than the average score range of last year’s first-year class—but don’t let that stop you! Colleges consider the whole package.
- MATCH: Your SAT or ACT score is solidly in the same score range as last year’s first-year class.
- SAFETY: Your SAT or ACT score is higher than the average score range of last year’s first-year class.
Increase Your Chances
Whenever students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year strengthen their college list, they’ll earn an extra entry in monthly drawings and have double the chances at a scholarship.
Dates and Deadlines
Scholarships are awarded at the end of every month from July through October 2021. A new eligibility window starts on the first day of each month and ends at midnight on the last day of the month. The drawing occurs on the first day of the following month.
On the drawing dates, 100 students will be randomly selected to receive a $500 scholarship. Of those scholarships, 50 will go to students whose families earn less than $60,000 per year.
When you’re selected for a scholarship, you’ll be notified by email and prompted to go to your My Achievements page.
Strengthen your list by sorting your colleges on BigFuture based on your SAT or ACT score. Within college search results, you can sort your list by reach, match, and safety colleges as you find ones that interest you. Remember to also consider size, location, affordability, and other factors as you narrow down your list.
With a balanced list, you’re adding colleges you may not have considered before. As you narrow your list, make sure to look at factors such as location, cost, size, and majors. These other factors can help you determine what colleges are an overall good social, financial, and academic fit for you.
It’s important to build a list that reflects your wants and needs while keeping in mind which colleges can meet those needs and help you succeed.
BigFuture defines match based on your highest SAT or ACT score. Your counselor may have advised you that you’re a good fit based on other factors. To qualify for this scholarship, we recommend finding another match college based on your SAT or ACT score to ensure you have a balanced list.
Your My Action Plan progress tracker will update when you’ve earned an entry. After the first drawing, you’ll also see your earned entry on the My Achievements page.