Scholarships have evolved greatly over that past 10 years. With advancements in technology and the growth of social media, companies and organizations are getting creative in their qualifications and submissions as well. fastweb_logoCompanies like Castle Ink and Wholesale Halloween Costumes accepted submissions through social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) while others like Direct Textbook allow you to submit your short essay through a form on the web. No transcripts or recommendation letters required. You can find more opportunities like this using for your scholarship search.

FL Bright FuturesHowever, there are still a few organizations like the Florida Lottery, funder of the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program, who require students to complete volunteer hours with community-based programs. It is common for one particular step to be overlooked by Hillsborough County high school students when completing volunteer hours: pre-approval from the guidance counselor. 

Many students show support for a special cause by completing service projects or volunteering on a regular basis to accrue hours. If it is not properly documented, though, it will not count towards the Bright Futures requirement. Students must begin that process with this form. Students are allowed to begin community service hours for this scholarship during the summer prior to the student entering ninth grade. All hours must be completed prior to graduation.  

To meet the service hour requirement, MERGE, Inc. suggests that students start early. Choose up to three social issues and set a goal to complete 100 hours addressing those issues. Use a separate form for each cause so that you can document as many hours as possible. If a student starts during the summer before entering ninth grade, he or she could focus on earning 25 hours each summer.

The summer before…
…9th grade 25 hours
…10th grade 25 hours
…11th grade 25 hours
…12th grade 25 hours
Total 100 hours


Any hours earned throughout the school year would be a bonus! There are many benefits to completing volunteer service hours:

  • Support a great cause (education, health, poverty, military veterans, etc.)
  • Build new skills; great experience to write about for essays and résumés
  • Build relationships with organizations and other volunteers
  • Learn something new or gain a fresh perspective


Are YOU ready to volunteer? Check out these websites and more: