Funding Your Future is a General Intelligence article series intended to introduce high achieving rising high-school seniors to large, fall-deadline scholarships. This week, Funding Your Future will highlight the Horatio Alger Association scholarship and the many benefits that it could provide future recipients. Make sure to continue reading until the end to see student perspective and advice from Nicholas Rutherford and Josue Herrera Rivera, two recent recipients of the scholarship. 

THE AWARD: There are a large variety of scholarships available through the Horatio Alger Association. This article will mainly be focused on the state scholarships, which are $10,000 each over four years. National scholars can earn up to $25,000 over four years and are able to attend a conference in Washington DC.

THE ELIGIBILITY: The eligibility for the Horatio Alger Association state scholarships are: 

  • Be enrolled as a high school senior at the time of applying
  • Have intent to pursue an undergraduate degree
  • Demonstrate financial need ($55,000 or less adjusted family income)
  • Be involved in co-curricular and community service activities
  • “Display integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity”
  • Have above a 2.0 GPA
  • Be a United States Citizen

THE APPLICATION: Each year, the four-year undergraduate application opens on August 1st and closes on October 25th. The application consists of typical information found within a scholarship application such as transcripts, biographical information, financial information, etc. Along with this, you will be required to write essays regarding the adversities that you have overcome. Near the end of the application, you will also choose one of the Horatio Alger Society members and write about why you admire them. This will all be due on October 25th. Then, semi-finalists will discover their status in early December. There will be no further tasks for semi-finalists, unlike many other national scholarships. From there, finalists are notified in early January.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: Nicholas Rutherford is a student from Rhode Island. He was a College Prep Scholar and National College Match Finalist with Questbridge, and though he didn’t match, he was accepted via regular decision to the University of Pennsylvania. In high school, Nick was involved in wrestling, chess club, Boy Scouts, Sea Cadets, teaching, judo, long-distance running. His hobbies include gardening, reading, and working out. He was a recipient of the Horatio Alger Society State scholarship and a Mensa scholarship. At Penn, he is planning to double major in Political Science and Psychology.

Nicholas states that his favorite part of being a Horatio Alger Society State Scholar is being “a part of a big organization that has a wide range of resources, opportunities, and connections. These things are actually incredibly valuable. For instance, Horatio Alger provides its scholars a hotline phone number that they can call 24/7 to receive free emotional, legal, and financial help for problems they have. Horatio Alger also has this online community with many members from different colleges and jobs, from all around the world. They can be an amazing source of advice. Additionally, Horatio Alger can help with finding internships and will occasionally offer special opportunities.”

Nicholas’ NUMBER ONE piece of advice is to “make sure to spend time on your essays. really explain the challenges you’ve gone through and how they’ve affected you. This scholarship is supposed to be for people who’ve gone through hardships, so make sure it’s clear that you fit into that category.”

Josue Herrera is a Salvadorian student who grew up in Houston, Texas and is now attending Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Josue attended Alief Early College High School and Houston Community College simultaneously, where he graduated with his Associate’s of Science degree and his high school diploma. Besides being a Horatio Alger State Scholar, Josue has also received recognition from the Alexander Hamilton Scholars Program, Dell Scholars, and the Children’s Defense Fund Houston. Although undecided about what he wants to major in, Josue plans to be a community leader in his home district in order to fix the different inequalities low income people of color face on a day to day basis. As a recipient of the Questbridge Match Scholarship at Hamilton, he is part of the Questbridge Scholars network on campus and plans to join different clubs once COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

Josue’s advice is to “complete the application early. I found out about the scholarship really late and had to complete all the application requirements in the span of a few days. The website crashed multiple times because of the large amount of people who waited until the last minute and I almost wasn’t able to turn in my application on the day it was due. Thankfully, the Association gave us an extension and I was able to submit everything. The Association has a support line that was really helpful when applying and as a scholar. You can ask them anything about the program and they can assist you with requesting funds and accessing all their resources.”

In addition to this, Josue advises applicants to “be as genuine as possible.” Although it can be difficult to open up to a panel full of strangers, it is important to note that “you are sharing these experiences with people who have gone through similar things and can help you achieve your goals. The application itself can be emotionally draining so I would suggest completing it in a safe environment with sufficient support.”

Josue also states that “You have the option to request a recommendation from an adult you know, regardless of their connection with you. I would suggest finding someone who knows your story and who you’re close with to provide this recommendation. Your recommenders can help the Association capture the role you play in your community.”

Like Nicholas, Josue is excited about the “resources the Association has to offer. Not only do scholars receive monetary support (in my case $10,000 over four years) for college but we also receive complementary counseling services as well as a mentor we can reach out to. In addition, we recently were given the opportunity to take free college classes for credit through UNC Wilmington’s online school. As a first generation and low income student, I am excited to join such a supportive community of leaders and take advantage of all the resources available to me.”

Like always, I wish you the best in your scholarship search. Make sure to look at past Funding Your Future articles to see more fall-deadline, large, national scholarships to apply to, and keep an eye out for future ones! 

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