How to Find Outside Scholarships to Help Pay for College

Paying for college is a big concern for many families, but fear not: as you may have heard, there’s lots of free money out there to help you pay for college. You just need to know where to look and then make the time to go after it!

If you’re a high school junior or younger, this is the prime time for tracking down outside scholarships. Let’s get to it.

Start at Your Counseling Office

First things first — drop in or make an appointment at your high school’s counseling or guidance office to ask about local scholarships. You can also check for a directory of local awards in the guidance section of your school’s website. These awards are typically sponsored by local businesses, community foundations, or area chapters of groups like the Lions Club, Rotary International and others. Maybe your school even holds an awards ceremony in the spring where these scholarships are doled out to the senior class. Don’t miss these!

Yes, Check the Internet

By far the largest source of information about outside scholarships is, you guessed it, online. Scholarship and college search sites like FastwebCappex (one of Hope’s partners) and make it easy to find scholarships for which you might qualify. You can even filter for opportunities that match your demographic and academic background.

As with anything online, be vigilant — make sure you’re only taking the time to pursue scholarship opportunities from reputable companies and organizations. And don’t spend any money to access scholarship directories or hire a company to do the search for you, either. There are plenty of reputable (and free!) resources out there.

Now, Get to Work!

Of course, it’s not enough to simply find these outside scholarships. No, you actually have to apply for them, and this is where my best advice comes in. If you can, make searching and applying for outside scholarships your part-time job (or one of them!) during your junior and senior years.

It seems like every year there’s an inspiring story about some high school senior who applied for hundreds of outside scholarships. Sure she got turned down for most of them, but she was awarded the other 20, and they added up quickly. What if you spent 30 minutes a day working on scholarship stuff? You might be surprised at what you can earn by investing the time and showing up every day.

Getting Paid

So you’ve received some outside scholarships! That’s awesome. Most organizations will want to be in touch with your college or university of choice to find out where to send the award money. Others will write a check made out to you that you can use for books, tuition, or even a new computer for school.

Leave No Stone Unturned

And finally, make sure you’ve maximized all of the internal scholarship opportunities available at your schools of choice. Have you applied for academic scholarships? What about auditioning for an artistic award? Lastly, be sure you’ve filed for need-based aid.

So there you have it! Some quick ideas on finding outside scholarships to pay for college. As with anything, what you get out of this has much to do with the time you spend doing it. Good luck!

What to Expect for First Year Advising

Freshman advising is an incredibly laid back experience. The process depends on whether you declare a major your first year.

Not sure on your major yet?

If you don’t declare a major your first year, your advisor won’t change. Your First Year Seminar professor will be your advisor until you declare your major. There’s no need to worry if you don’t know what you’re going to major in, most programs can still be completed in four years if you declare your sophomore (and in some cases, junior) year. Before classes even begin (during Orientation week), you are required to meet with your advisor to go over the classes you’re enrolled in. Then, at the end of your first semester (and all semesters to follow), you are required to again meet with your professor and go through the classes you’re planning on taking for the following semester.

Declare a major

You can request a professor from the department for your major directly on the major declaration sheet, or you may be assigned an advising professor. You should meet with your new advisor, especially if you’ve never met them before, just so the two of you can get to know each other outside of the constraints of a classroom. From there, your advisor can give you specific, thoughtful advice regarding your major, and the classes they believe would be best for you.

Your advisor is the person who can help you with just about anything and everything. They’re there for you and they want to help you, and watch you succeed. They can help you figure out what classes would be best for you and help you find internships and summer jobs. They can be excellent references on resumes, and a great source of guidance.

Your responsibilities are to take initiative in scheduling appointments and having a valid reason to meet with your advisor. Whatever you schedule an appointment for, you should be prepared for the meeting. For example, when you have your semestral meeting with your advisor regarding classes to take, you should have the classes you’re planning on taking already in mind to share with them.

Exploring majors

Hope’s liberal arts emphasis allows you to explore multiple possible majors, while still working towards graduation. This means that you’re free to take courses ranging from the arts to math, and still receive helpful credits along the way. Hope also offers a career development center where you can take tests that show you which field you would be best in. Your advisor is another great source of advice when exploring majors and planning for your future. 

How to be Sick in College

This post is not about how to get sick in college. It’s not hard. Colds spread around campus as the wind blows. This is what to do when you get sick in college.

You do the math. Sore throats, runny noses, a dizzying and total lack of energy + 9-5 college classes + work + homework = a disaster.

Here’s what you should do when you get sick in college:

  1. Go to bed. Put down the books and pens and climb up that loft. It doesn’t matter if it’s 8:00 p.m. on a Friday night. Just go to bed.
  2. Take the medicine your mom or dad would’ve given you. Cough drops, Vitamin C, cold & flu relief, etc.
  3. Drink some tea. My favorite for colds and sore throats is lemon. Don’t underestimate the power of teas.
  4. If necessary, go to the Health Center. They’re on campus for your needs and to take care of you when a check-up is needed. They’re also giving out flu shots!
  5. Don’t you dare go to things. If you’re sick, promise yourself one thing: that you’ll say no to whatever type of invite you get. You’re sick, you can’t be out in the cold at an apple orchard or running through a corn maze. You’d just get sicker and be more miserable. Stick yourself to the futon, grab a snack, and watch some Netflix.
  6. Toast. This one might seem dumb, but I find when my throat is coated with all sorts of the wrong stuff, toast helps take it down. Trust me and have a slice of toast for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
  7. Water. Keep drinking water while you’re sick to keep your body hydrated and at least a little bit energized.

I hope you remember some of these things the next time you get sick, whether or not you’re in college. And please don’t underestimate toast and tea. They are honestly what gets me through being sick.

My tea bag told me to smile, even when I felt a million miles away from flashing a grin. So I did, red nose and all.


7 Tips: When You Get Sick Three Weeks Into College

You barely know your friends, you’re just getting into a routine with your classes, and now you have a nasty cold. What do you do? As a recent head cold survivor, I have seven tips that can make being sick less awful.

1: Drink orange juice. Don’t be a pansy about it, either. Down that stuff.

2: Throw a pity party. Invite your friends! If you complain about being sick for long enough, someone might bring you soup.

3: Watch Netflix. Nothing is better than wasting away the hours in front of a screen. You’re sick, so you can’t think about important things anyway.

4: Wear a blanket. It’s still pretty hot outside, but it sounds like a nice idea, doesn’t it?

5: Procrastinate on your homework. You’re too young to spend time working when you could just sit there, blowing your nose every few minutes.

6: Drink Emergen-C. It tastes horrible. But you’re sick, so you don’t really care that much. Plus, the stuff actually works.

7: Go back to bed. You were made to stay in bed.

Get well soon!

Danny sneezes.
Danny has the sniffles, so he uses a napkin because Kleenex are scarce.

Dear Hope College

Dear Hope College,

Let me preface this post with some honesty – Hope was NOT my first choice. I didn’t want to come here because I had family that has been here. I wanted to go somewhere different, not following in the footsteps of my family. Four years later, I find myself struggling leaving behind an institution that has changed me for good in so many ways. Although I am ready to graduate and apply the things I have learned, leaving behind the friendships among my friends and professors will be the most challenging part. I know I won’t be able to call my friends who are 5 minutes away and see if they want to go to dinner, or go watch a movie, and that very thought scares me. Plus, being 6,000 miles away is going to make it more difficult, but this is all part of the challenge.

Since my freshman year, my faith has grown exponentially. Not only did Chapel and the Gathering help in this process, but the intentionality my friends and professors had in my spiritual journey really propelled me. The pure intentionality that is characteristic of the Hope College community is very unique and cannot be found anywhere else. Without the supportive community Hope harbors, I would not be the same adult I am today. This is what attracts so many students to come here. It’s amazing.

Additionally, Hope has provided me with opportunities that no other college could have given. Firstly, I was accepted into the Nursing program, one of the most difficult programs to get into. Without this backbone in my college career, where would I be!? The experiences that I’ve had within the program also led me to other opportunities including becoming a teaching assistant (TA).

I was also able to visit Washington D.C. for two years in a row; one year to meet presidential candidates and the other to discuss and learn more about social injustices. I was accepted to study abroad in Vienna with Hope’s Vienna Summer School, yet again providing me with an unforgettable experience. The memories and friendships formed are ones that are merely unforgettable.

One of my highlights throughout my entire college career is my involvement in student life, with Student Activities Committee (SAC). Becoming a student leader and leading an influential group on campus has allowed me to grow in ways I could not have imagined. Through this organization, I gained skills, an influential mentor, and life-long friends. I continuously rave about how hard-working my organization is and I am incredibly proud. Leaving behind an organization such as SAC will be tough knowing that it is going to exponentially grow.

It’s crazy to think about everything that has happened these past four years. A lot of things make sense now. I now understand why some opportunities were closed for me; God had a better plan for me and opened other doors for me. All of my experiences too now make sense, because all of my hard work has paid off and I am headed to serve in Cameroon with the Peace Corps. My jigsaw puzzle is complete, for now!

This liberal arts college, this campus, and these people make Hope what it is. Knowing that I have been part of Hope’s heart and soul is the very reason why I don’t want to leave. The individuals who have supported me through my triumphs and set-backs, from the moments I celebrated to times I cried, thank you so much for being there for me. You too, Hope College, thank you for being there for me. Hope is more than just a school with a great accolades; Hope is a community in which you are supported, loved, and appreciated. And for that, Hope College, I thank you.

With much love,
Marvin Solberg

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What My Burrito Bowl Tells Me About My Life

You betcha. You read the title right. Everyone’s burrito bowl (or burrito, or quesadilla) truly explains their personality. Each little ingredient in your delicious Mexican food reveals a little part of you, it’s not rocket science. Before I tell you what my burrito bowl tells me about my personality, we should warm up. For you who Vine, you’ll understand. For those who love Chipotle, you’ll understand. If you’ve never seen this video clip before, you will understand once its done.

So, like that little boy, Chipotle is my life. Despite that the nearest Chipotle is in Grandville (only a 20-minute drive!) it’s so worth visiting. I mean, I could get into that Chipotle vs. Qdoba war, but it really comes down to your preference. Let me tell you that although I love Chipotle, I also thoroughly enjoy Qdoba. Plus, there are more Qdoba spots around the area so it is more accessible. But, Chipotle for life.

White Lime & Cilantro Rice

This is my foundation in my burrito bowl, but rice in general is a foundation in my life being that it is a staple. Being Filipino and all, I eat rice with every meal (practically). In addition, it represents me as a human, it is my backbone. I always know that this will be a constant both in my burrito bowl and life. Not to mention that it is so tasty. If you don’t have this in your bowl, you’re missing out.

Pinto Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you toot. This layer goes on top of my foundation. So, it’s like the floor above the basement in a house. What does this mean? My pinto beans are another level up to my rice. It is the very platform that I need to maintain an adequate burrito bowl and life. My pinto beans represent my values and other ideas and thoughts are firm and somewhat resistant to change. They can be alternated with black beans from time to time, but that rarely happens.


So Chipotle chicken is really good. I want to be able to make chicken like that. But what my chicken represents in my life are my passions. I have a passion for Chipotle, dance, academics – nursing in particular, traveling, and so much more. Each little piece of chicken could easily represent a passion. Not only does it represents my passions, but it also represents my drive to pursue my passions seeing as it is a protein source (thanks Nate!).

Pico de Gallo Salsa

Otherwise known as mild salsa, this is my next layer to my life. It represents my adventurous side. It’s not too spicy that I take life-threatening risks, but it’s not bland to the point that I’m mundane. Pico really shows my various adventurous sides. From time to time, I take a bite of my food and get a good piece of red onion – that would represent my wildest adventures like going to Europe twice in one year! This layer is also constant in my life.

Sour Cream

Yeah, some people are not a fan of this, but it’s good and I only eat it when I go to Chipotle. This represents my adaptable side. Because sour cream is not a solid, it’s not constant and can take many forms. It’s important to remember that life will throw crazy things at you (cheese), so you’ll need to be prepared to expect the unexpected and be able to adapt to the issue. By doing so, you’ll decrease your stress and you will produce a good outcome.


As I mentioned above, cheese is what life throws at you. It can be a long problem (long shreds of cheese) or it can be a short problem (short shreds of cheese). It can taste good, or it can taste bad. It can be scattered throughout your ball, it so it represent many things going on at once. But because it’s on top of my sour cream, I can adapt to it. My sour cream almost absorbs the cheese and I end up going with the flow.


The very last layer of my burrito bowl, but an important one. They represent my friendships and connections. Unfortunately friendships comes and go, and this would represented by the lettuce on the outside perimeter of my burrito bowl. Once I put that fork in there, some lettuce pieces fall out. On the other hand, the lettuce that stands tall in my plethora of food represents my best friends. They don’t fall off, especially when I mix my food!

My layers of Chipotle all working together!
My layers of Chipotle all working together!

So you have all of these layers of food, then you mix it. Eating it with out mixing it is a crime. When you mix it, it represents that each layer works with each other to make me who I am. Writing this blog was actually more difficult than I thought it was going to be. Some of my friends say I have a problem (because I’m at Chipotle once a week), but I just enjoy it so much. And connecting it to my life was even harder, but I think I successfully did this. I hope you enjoyed it folks! I hope you can find meaning in the little things in life because that makes life so much better. If you haven’t already, make sure to read my other blogs, follow me on Twitter, and on Instagram!

Reasons Why You Should Go To Admitted Students Day

April 18th is approaching, and there are questions out there about Admitted Student Day, so I thought I would answer them for everyone! If you can’t make it, just remember that it’s completely OK! You won’t lose priority in choosing your roommates and it won’t put you “behind” by any means. What this day is intended for is to give you a taste of what happens at Hope, and it also provides you opportunities to take care of some business!

If you can’t decide whether or not you should come, let this blog post convince you to come. Here are reasons as to why you should come:

1. If you’re committed to coming to Hope, it’s a wonderful excuse to come and explore campus again (or for the first time!) It’s pretty during all seasons, so you might as well get a little taste of what Hope is like in the spring! Exploring Holland can also be advantageous. i mean, you will be living here shortly, so why not explore the town?

2. So many students will be here! It is a wonderful opportunity to meet those who you’ve been in contact with on Hope on Facebook, or just to meet fellow Dutchmen! Maybe you can get your roommate situation settled, or just meet other with your same interests. In addition to other students, important faculty will also be here. President Knapp will be there, and other key Hope faculty that will definitely be an integral part of your Hope College experience!

3. Other than students and faculty, organizations and clubs will also be present during Admitted Student Day! You can meet with clubs you may be potentially interested in joining. And those weirdos whose blogs you have been reading all year will be there, too (myself included!). It’s a great time to ask any questions you have about Hope, transitioning from post-high school life to college, and just any other general questions. (By the way, us student bloggers are AMPED to meet you)!

4. Admitted Student Day is another chance to convene with other with your similar interests, including fields of study. I definitely think this is something to take advantage of. Experts from various disciplines will be present to answer any questions you have, and they also want to meet you!

Here's a cliché Hope College picture. I challenge you take on while you're here!
Here’s a cliché Hope College picture. I challenge you take on while you’re here!

Hopefully, this is enough to convince you! Admitted Student Day is truly a blast. You will be able to get all of questions answered, hopefully making you less nervous! Us student bloggers as well as the entire Hope community are very excited to see you and meet some of you! If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! If you haven’t already, make sure to follow me on both Twitter and Instagram!

P.S., I dare you to take picture with anything Hope and post it on the Hope on Facebook page!

Here’s Why I’m Ready To Leave College.

Firstly, I would like to thank all of those who read my last blog post, “Things Seniors (STILL) Don’t Want To Hear.” It was a stunning success, and I appreciate all of your continual support and positive comments. This is why I love my job so much, being a student blogger and all.

With that interjection out of the way, let’s cut down to the chase. Whether I believe it or not, (believe me, sometimes, I’m in denial) I am ready to graduate and leave college (23 days!). The days continue to fly by and I am closer to liberation from higher education and transition myself to adulthood.


1. I always tell my closest friends and others the following: “I’m ready to be done with school, but I’m not ready to leave my friends.” Despite that I have my best friends here in one place, I really want to be on my own. Having my friends not even 5 minutes away has been a fairy tale for the past 4 years, but I have to think to myself that it’s just not like that outside of the college world (with a few exceptions, of course). I’m ready to take on this challenge by leaving. If I made friends in college, I’ll be able to make friends at my workplace or outside of my workplace. But hands down, leaving my friends WILL be the hardest thing. I am forever grateful to Hope College for bringing these people into my life. Without them and their support, I would not be where I am, and where I am headed.

2. The point of college is to have social experiences, academic experiences, and learn from the two. For 4 years in a row, I have been in classes and situations where I have learned so much. Now, it’s time to actually apply what I have learned. What’s the point of learning all of these concepts and ideas if you don’t actually use them? (there goes all your $$$)! I mean what’s the point of nursing school if I’m not going to be a nurse?

3. The college bubble has been so good to these past four years, but simultaneously, I also want to pop the dang thing. Graduation is my way of popping the Hope College bubble. It is SUCH a warm and welcoming community; that’s one primary reason I chose this fine institution! Again, we ALL have to realize that wherever we end up, the social atmosphere might be vicious or unrelenting. Those are powerful words, but it’s the truth. As much as I want to live in the friendliest of all cities, it’s just not realistic. We will have to work with people who are not as cheery as us, and by leaving college, we will get the experience doing so. Just let me go already!

4. This one goes out to all of the parents too, but I am done spending crazy large sums of money that I don’t have. I am so glad I have the education I do, it’s one of the best investments you can make! But, money does not grow on trees. And even if it did, that tree is obviously not budding yet. I just want to use what I learned throughout these four years, do them, and get money for doing them.

5. Lastly, have you heard the phrase “college is the best four years of your life?” Let me tell you, I am not a believer in this. If college are your best years, then shoot, what’s exciting about the future? Nothing. Another reason I’m excited to dart out of here, all of the experiences, memories, and opportunities that lie ahead of me! There is so much outside of the college world, and I’m about to take in as much of that as possible. I mean, college has been the best part of my life, but I’m still young. There is just so much out there; I’m ready to do all of it!

College Friends!

College has truly provided me with the tools and opportunities to help me become the man I am today. My values, ideas, and interests have been molded by my college experience. In return for such a wonderful and priceless experience, I am ready to become a productive citizen of the United States and give back to those who are deserving. I thank God for putting me in my dream vocation of nursing to help those in need. Hope College has been so great, but it’s time for my next chapter!

Thanks for reading another senior related blog post, all! Again, thank you all for the support by reading and providing feedback on my posts. That’s when I know I’m doing a great job. If you haven’t, make sure to follow me on @HopeMarvin15 on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram at MarvSolberg!

Last Intramural Season!

This truly makes me sad to say that the last intramural season I will ever participate in at Hope has just started. Intramurals have really been such a highlight for me through my four years here and I honestly will miss playing various sports and hanging out with friends. This season, I’m playing co-ed soccer and ultimate frisbee, which happen to be my favorite intramural sports besides tennis. The soccer team I’m on is a ton of fun, but this year we are in the most competitive league, which will be really difficult but I’m excited. As for frisbee, I’ve been a part of a championship team for the past couple of years and I have no doubt that the streak will continue this year. The best part about intramurals is having fun, but also winning shirts! I thought it would be fun to have this post be a flashback on the many teams I’ve been on in the past four years.

Freshman Year

Not knowing anything about intramurals, I took the opportunity to participate in as many sports as possible. My friend Tim and I played tennis together and won the “Less Competitive” division. I was also on a women’s volleyball team, which was a ton of fun because I never really played before so it was definitely a learning experience. I also had the chance to play ultimate frisbee and at first, hated it because nobody on the team knew what was going on. However, it was fun just goofing around and struggling together. I joined a co-ed soccer team as well, which was interesting because nobody knew each other, so we all got to know each other pretty quickly.

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Sophomore Year

Again, I played tennis with Tim but we unfortunately didn’t win this year when we joined the “More Competitive” league. This was the first year I got involved with co-ed soccer, basketball, and inner tube water polo. Soccer was a ton of fun but water polo was a huge struggle because it was so hard to see with everyone splashing and being completely lost with the rules. Fortunately this year I joined a different Frisbee team with people that understood the game and it was a lot of fun! We won and got a championship shirt from it, which was an added bonus. At the same time, I played co-ed soccer with some friends and all I can say was that it was VERY entertaining because we had soccer players on the team as well as people who have never played the sport before. Good thing we were in the “Less Competitive” league!

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Junior Year

This was probably my favorite year because I played tennis with Tim and we played some of our best tennis ever! We won “More Competitive” and man that felt like a huge accomplishment. In addition, I played co-ed volleyball and still managed to under-perform in that sport, but oh well! As for soccer, my team was really good but ended up losing in the finals. However, we won Frisbee! I was on the same team as sophomore year and it’s the same team I’m on senior year and I’m sure we’ll pull out another win.

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Senior Year

Unfortunately, Tim and I couldn’t play tennis this year, which was the biggest disappointment because it was my favorite intramural. However, I played women’s indoor soccer and we lost in the semi-finals. Right now I’m on the same co-ed soccer team as last year as well as Frisbee team. I’m very interested to see how this season goes for these two sports and if we can pull out two championships or not!

That’s all I have for this week, so don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Healthy College Dorm Snacks

I’ve learned throughout the year how important it is to be healthy at this time in my life. No one is around to moderate the health value of the things you’re putting into your body. At Hope I’ve learned to not only value my education and classes, but also my body and my mind. It’s a really good idea to keep healthy snacks in your dorm room.

It can be really tempting to just stock cookies, candy, and other empty foods in your room. Here are some of my suggestions of healthy foods that you can keep in your room to make sure you stay on track!

1. Fresh Fruit

You don’t truly appreciate the fresh things at home until you get to college. I miss having strawberries and blueberries readily available to me. I’ve started buying my own and keeping them in the fridge. They’re a great sweet alternative to other sugary foods!

Another thing to mention is the Holland Farmers Market, which is around for a good portion of the year in the fall semester! It’s a great place to go to get all of your fresh goods for the week!

2. Low-sugar cereal

Cereals can be packed with refined sugars, but I’ve found one that I like that doesn’t contain as much. It’s the Kashi Heart to Heart honey one. Another good option is Cheerios! These are great for breakfasts and also just light snacking!

3. Nuts

Nuts are not only really yummy, but also very filling. They’re good for you in moderation, and can hold you over from meal to meal and during classes!

4. Snapea Crips

I can’t obsess over these things enough. It’s hard to describe the salty crunch, but I promise they’re delicious. The perfect alternative to a potato chip, I think!

5. Rice Cakes

Yes, they might be the most boring food to ever grace the earth, but when paired with something like hummus, or peanut butter and jelly, they’re so great! Sometimes I like them plain, but mostly I like to spread something on top of them for a great treat.

6. Low-Sugar Granola Bars

Granola bars can be really bad for you if they’re packed with sugar. Luckily, not all of them are. I really enjoy the Kashi brand, but there are plenty of others to check out at the store. These are great for on-the-go breakfasts or snacks!

I hope this post gives you some good ideas to staying healthy in college! Every Thursday Hope has a shuttle that runs to Meijer, so if you need anything you’re able to go!

This week we have Good Friday off, but I’m staying up in Holland for the weekend. Hopefully I do something fun to write about and share!

If you have any questions for me you can contact me at, through Facebook, or my twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!