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Encourage students to use Scholly to start a scholarship search and determine what kinds of scholarships they qualify for. The app is a good way to empower students to take ownership of their future. Teachers might also expand on the sample essay section, encouraging kids to write essays that use these topics as starting points for longer essays that explore their own character, background, and interests. The essays are a good place to engage in discussions about plagiarism and original work.Continue reading Show less
Scholly is a scholarship-search app for high school and college students. The app has two sections: Scholarships and Essays. In the Scholarships section, students start their search by selecting their own characteristics (home state, GPA, and intended college major) in the Parameters section. Once students have filled out their profile, they can make an in-app purchase and pay to search scholarships in earnest. The app then generates a list of scholarships users can sort, explore, and save for later use. Users can choose to export their saved scholarships as a CSV (comma-separated values) spreadsheet and email the document to an address of their choice. The scholarship list draws from a wide range of state and national scholarships that are available both to incoming and current college students, and the app's developers update the scholarship list regularly.
For students who don't want to pay for additional access, the Essays section is available for free. This section includes five essay prompts and sample essays that touch on themes of Community Service, Goals, Knowledge, Leadership, and Strongest Subject. Along with the app, students can access the web version of Scholly with the same user account.
While Scholly isn't a stand-in for professional college advising, it has some excellent resources that can support and empower kids who might not have access to sophisticated college-counseling resources. For example, there's good information built into Scholly's interface; for example, when kids select the types of scholarships they plan to target, a pop-up states that everyone who applies for need-based financial aid should also apply for merit-based aid. This is a key point that isn't obvious to most students, and it's something some kids might never hear otherwise. In general, this app's mission is a solid one; indeed, Scholly is so compelling that its developer famously pitched the app on the television show Shark Tank and almost instantly secured funding from some of the show's investors.
It's too bad that so much of the app's content is locked behind its pay wall. One of the core insights of most scrupulous college counselors is that you shouldn't pay for access to scholarship applications, and finding a pay-to-play model in an otherwise encouraging app is a little surprising. Plus, the Essays section is a little mystifying: The sample essays aren't especially well-written, and some have a religious slant (the words "crusade of Christian service" are used) that some users might find off-putting. With a little more explanation, this section could be helpful; it seems that it's intended to show kids that a few essays on these broad themes will serve their applications for a wide variety of scholarships. Some explanatory text on that subject might be more useful than these easily copied sample essays.
Key Standards Supported
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
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