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GAME CHANGER: Micro-Scholarships Tied To Student Achievement

Making It Tangible!.....By empowering students to match their achievements to micro-scholarships awards from colleges/universities.

Photo of Beatriz
22 18

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As a High School Counselor working with 99% first-generation college students that come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and who are also English Language Learners, it is a challenge to make a connection between academic achievement (choosing to enroll in rigorous courses) extracurricular achievement (choosing for student to become active member of his school and community) and merit-aid scholarships 

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

RAISE ME has make the intangible, tangible by allowing students to see in real time how much more money they could be eligible for if they choose a college course, retake a college entrance exam, volunteer, or visit a college campus

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RAISE ME 2.png

How Participating Colleges are Added to RAISE Me on a weekly basis


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Photo of Michael Meagher

I am not clear whether these scholarships are need based. Can you enlighten me?

Photo of Riya Choksi

Great idea, very inspiring :)

Photo of Madeline Whisenant

I love this idea. I would have loved this in high school. I felt as if I didn't have enough opportunities to get merit-based scholarships for my work in high school. I think it would even be awesome to have this extend into College education. Say getting a 4.0 first semester gets you more money in scholarships, being president of a club gets you another small scholarship, etc.
These small achievement based scholarships remind me of the way video games can motivate goals through achievements, points, and upgrades. This article explains more in depth the psychology behind it.
I think this methods taps into those motivators of achievement, satisfaction, and recognition. I think its a great idea to utilize what we've learned about human psychology and channel that into education.

Photo of Trevor z Hallstein

This is an interesting way for students to get real-time feedback on how their performance in high school impacts their future education choices. Do you have some feedback from the high school students you have worked with on how this program changed their interest and ability to attend college?

Photo of Beatriz

Hi Trevor,

Yes! it has certainly changed their interest since now they see a dollar amount attached if they take an AP, IB, or Honors class. They can also see how to better prepare for college. Most of my students have to work and thus request partial schedules Junior and Senior years and then they often don't want to challenge themselves because they know they are not going away to a 4-year so these colleges courses are irrelevant.

Photo of Angela Shang

Thanks for your contribution! Thinking back to my own experiences in high school, my peers and I always had to try and strike a balance between getting involved in lots of extracurricular activities and maintaining a high GPA and ranking. Having a resource like that would reward us for striving to accomplish a lot in high school would have been a great motivator!

Photo of Beatriz

It is indeed, especially for students who are the first ones in their families to attend college because they lack the information and/or the modeling.

Photo of Jim Rosenberg

Great idea.

Photo of Beatriz

Thank You Jim! I also felt this was a great opportunity and motivator for my first generation college students

Photo of Kai Huang

Awesome post, I think this could be a potential motivator for high school students to join other organizations and do well on their tests.

Photo of Beatriz

Hi Kai,

It is...I have seen my student realize the importance of community services and/or joining more than 1 club on campus.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of Beatriz

Thank You!!!! I have been working with RAISE ME for the past two years. We started with a cohort in the 10th grade and now they are 12th graders with an average of $40,000 micro-scholarships earned so far from some of the participating colleges. The good news is that it is merit-aid money and not counting any other awards they may qualify for once their FAFSA forms are completed. We are also using RAISE ME with our inaugural IB Class of 2017, here is their picture on a CNN MONEY article:

Photo of Shane Zhao

Exciting to hear Beatriz! How many universities participate now and how might this program expand to include more partnering colleges?

Photo of Beatriz

I am not quite sure of how many universities are participating as they are being added on a weekly basis. The staff of RAISE ME is continuously reaching out to colleges/universities and those partnerships are announced on the student dashboard as they are added. Students also have the ability to follow the colleges they are interested in and I assumed RAISE ME will show this interest to prospect colleges/universities. Hope I answer your question.

Photo of Alper Ekmekci

Hi Beatriz, seems as a great initiation point for high school student to earn their scholarship. I checked the website and some news about it but I'm still unsure about one function of the service. How is differentiate from the current admission office scholarship support system? Owing to the program, a transparency on earning scholarship and a motivation to high school students are the leading advantages. Do you think there are some more? Thanks,

Photo of Beatriz

Hi Alper,
Thanks for your question. My understanding is that RAISE ME is working closely with those colleges who are interested in increasing their applications from students who are traditionally underrepresented and money is always an issue for most students. I work with first generation college students and their parents. Having RAISE ME as a classroom activity or during a parent night has been a tremendous help in having them see how taking an AP Class, IB Course, Retaking a SAT or ACT test, Doing Community Service, etc...helps them earn money from participating colleges. To me, this is the biggest take away, making the intangible, tangible! showing parents how to prepare to be eligible for college admissions and on the other hand we can start talking about how to pay for college (need based vs. merit aid). Preparing for College and Paying for college are two processes in this country that still very confusing to the great majority of our families. I have found RAISE ME to be a great tool for both motivation and preparation with my families

Photo of Jennifer

Very cool idea! This is a great way to inspire students to start thinking about their college future and highlighting the connection between achievement and scholarship .

Many students don't start thinking about scholarships until late in their senior year during the college application process. It's awesome that RAISE ME is encouraging high school students to begin thinking about funding their education earlier and provides a resource to do so.

Photo of Beatriz

Thank You Jennifer! You are so correct about my Seniors thinking about money until Senior year or worst after they get their financial award letter, then the race to apply to local scholarships begin as they see their out of pocket contributions or the gap amount.

Photo of Beatriz

How a High School Student earned $80,000 in microscholarships

Photo of Gavin Cosgrave

Interesting post, Beatriz. I checked out (you might want to include the link) and signed up. The concept seemed really cool, and it was a well designed site. There seemed to be very few colleges that were offering the scholarships, but I like the idea and the simplicity!

Photo of Beatriz

Thanks! I just did add the link to their website.