Cash out: It’s college time


Courtesy of Spinditty

Scholarships can pave the way to a debt free college experience.

Hailey Herrera, Staff Writer

One of the only exceptions to the proverb “Nothing in life is free” (besides samples at Costco) is scholarships.  The only price to pay is the time you take to write a few hundred word essays or even just input your information onto the website for a chance to win at least $1,000.  Sign me up! 

Many students think that the beginning of senior year starts the clock on when you can start applying for scholarships, but that isn’t always the case. Many scholarships offered on the website Unigo, note that students “Must be 14 years of age or older at time of application.” But, unless you’re a super smart, genius child who is in high school at the ripe age of nine, you can apply when you stroll on to campus freshman year. 

But if you didn’t skip 10 grades, you can start right when you get to Central and sign up for AICE classes. Your AICE Diploma (plus 100 community service hours) gets you one of the best scholarships you can get in the state of Florida: the Bright Futures Scholarship, which is funded by lottery ticket sales. There are two ways to get this financial aid opportunity, one way is to get your AICE Diploma and the other way is to achieve a 3.5 weighted GPA with either an ACT score of 29 or an SAT score of 1340. Either way you need 100 community service hours. Even though you will be eligible, you still have to go through the application process on the FFAA website.  

“I haven’t started applying for scholarships yet because I’m lazy,” said senior Paris Truong. “I can apply in college, though.”  

If you’re like Truong and senioritis is hitting you hard and you ended up procrastinating on filling out scholarship applications, one, you’re not alone and two, it’s not too late. Unigo has some scholarships that have a deadline as late January 2024.  The most that these scholarships require is a 250-word essay on topics such as “what superhero would you want to switch places with and why” or “what ice cream flavor would you be and why.” 

Another scholarship that can be found on Unigo is the “All About Education Scholarship.” In 250 words, all you have to do is tell them how $3,000 in your pocket would help you with your college tuition.  

Here’s one for all you Environmental students or anyone who truly loves the environment. In any form of art (multimedia, song, dance, poetry) address the prompt, “The Funny Thing About Climate Change.” Of course for official rules and contest information follow the hyperlink to Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest.  

Yet another scholarship opportunity but without an essay, Niche. com offers a $2,000 and $1,000 scholarship. All you have to do is provide some personal information. The company that runs the site is Sallie Mae, a U.S. company and former government entity. 

Another no essay opportunity can be found through who offers a “Too Cool to Pay for School” scholarship for $1,000.  This scholarship is very unique due to the fact that you can re-apply every quarter.  The dates to enter this year are: March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31.  

More scholarship opportunities can be found on and Scholarship Owl.  These are clearinghouse websites that will help you narrow down your options through a series of questions and both websites are free. Based on your answers, the websites will match you with scholarships they think will work best for you. 

If you don’t want your inbox to explode as your bank account will after applying for all these scholarships, you can create a separate email account just for financial aid responses. Gmail accounts are free to use and with your account you can make a Google Voice number attached to it.  A Google Voice number is a phone number that you can use to make calls and receive text messages without worrying about if your phone number will be published all over the internet.  

Deadlines are definitely fast approaching, so get your applications in.