You made it to college. Congratulations! This is an exciting time, and it’s the result of all of your hard work over the years continuing to study and grow. With the 21st Century Scholarship, you have the tools you’ll need to succeed in this new phase of your education.
Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars College Success Guide is designed to help you adjust to the study habits and lifestyle of college, as well as to give you helpful tips on how to maintain your 21st Century Scholarship in college.
Feeling stuck? Or, not sure what resources your campus has to offer? That’s ok! There are plenty of places on your campus to turn. Check out our College Incentives Guide for information and resources just for 21st Century Scholars on your campus.
If you are getting ready to graduate, be sure you visit our Alumni page for more information on how to stay involved with the Scholars program after you graduate.
Keeping Your 21st Century Scholarship
To maintain your full 21st Century Scholarship, you must do all of the following:
- Earn at least 30 credits each academic year.
- File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Indiana’s April 15 deadline
- Complete the College Scholar Success Program each year of college to maintain your Scholarship (find out more below). (Only for high school class of 2021 and beyond.)
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as determined by your college. SAP usually includes a minimum grade point average (GPA) per semester, as well as a limit on incomplete and withdrawals from courses. Contact your college’s financial aid office for questions about SAP.
College Scholar Success Program
Beginning with the high school class of 2021, each year of college, in order to maintain your scholarship, you must complete four annual College Performance requirements. Additionally, you must choose one activity from both the College Engagement and Career Preparation categories. Review the chart and dropdown menus below for more information on the College Scholar Success Program and tips for completing activities.
Don’t forget, after you complete these activities, log into your ScholarTrack account at ScholarTrack.IN.gov to report your progress.
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Bridge programs provide students with academic and social experiences over the summer between high school and college.
Bridge programs typically take place in the summer between high school and college, but can begin earlier and extend into the first year. They provide incoming students with academic and social experiences before the fall semester begins. Bridge programs typically last a week – or more – and you might even earn college credit during the program.
Examples of a summer bridge program include:
- IU Bloomington’s Groups Scholars Program
- Vincennes University Summer Bridge Program
- University of Indianapolis’ Bridge Scholars Program
To find out more about summer bridge programs on your campus, contact the admissions office.
Orientation is usually a day or weekend program where new students are able to learn their way around campus, create their first semester schedule and connect with other students.
Student orientations vary from one day to one week, depending on the college or university. New student or transfer student orientations are a great way to become familiar with your campus and the resources that are available on it. If you don’t already know, be sure to ask if there is a 21st Century Scholars office on your campus.
Examples of a student orientation include:
- Purdue University’s Boiler Gold Rush
- Vincennes University’s START VU
- Indiana State University’s Transfer State Start-Up
To find out more about new student or transfer student orientations on your campus, contact the admissions or orientation office.
A first-year experience or seminar is designed to help ease the transition from high school to college by providing social and academic experience—generally during the first semester of school.
A first-year experience (sometimes called a first-year seminar) is designed to help ease the transition from high school to college. While some of what you learn will be similar to what you learned during your orientation, first-year experiences are more in-depth and last at least one semester. First-year experiences are a great way to build connections on campus and explore all the resources available to you.
Examples of first-year experiences include:
- IVYT-111 at Ivy Tech Community College
- UCOL 101U at Indiana University East
- FYS 101 and FYS 102 at Butler University
To find out more about first-year experiences on your campus, contact your academic advisor.
Learning communities are specialized living environments that help students connect inside and outside the classroom. Communities can be centered on specific majors or meta-majors (a set of similar majors) or on shared experiences. Some are a designated section in campus housing while others provide living space inside classroom buildings.
Examples of Living-learning communities include:
- Health Professional Living-Learning Community at Ball State University
- Honors College Living-Learning Community at Purdue University West Lafayette
- International Connection at University of Evansville
To find out more about living-learning communities on your campus, contact the admissions or residence life/housing office.
Campus involvement encompasses many different ways that you have interacted with and have become engaged on campus—such as intramural sports, clubs, or service events.
There are a lot of options when it comes to campus involvement, from intramural sports to clubs to other kinds of programs and events. To satisfy this requirement, you should participate in a campus activity that is officially sanctioned by the college or university. These activities can be done both in-person and virtually.
Examples of campus involvement include (but are not limited to):
- Join a Student Club
- Attend or Participate in Student Government
- Join a Service Organization
- Participate in a Day of Service
- Attend a play or other campus performance
- Attend a Cultural Event
- Fraternity & Sorority Life
- Join an Improv Group
- Campus Employment
- Participate in a Virtual Book Club
- Participate in an Online Speaker Series Hosted by Your Campus
- Join an Honor Society
To find out more about getting involved on your campus, contact the student activities office.
Study abroad / study away is a program that allows you to complete part of your degree away from your campus – on another campus in the United States or in another country.
Study abroad is a program that allows you to complete part of your degree away from your campus – on another campus in the United States or in another country. Study abroad programs vary in length from a full semester – or more – to just a couple of weeks. Study abroad might sound out of reach for financial reasons, but it doesn’t have to be. Be sure to talk to your Study Abroad Office about grants or scholarships you might be eligible for.
Acceptable activities to meet this requirement can include both international and domestic study opportunities.
Examples of study abroad / study away include:
- Purdue University’s Purdue Promise Study Abroad
- Alternative/Service Breaks Program
- National Student Exchange
An informational interview is a way to learn more about a career you’re interested in by talking with and asking questions from someone who is working in that field.
An informational interview is a way for you to learn more about a career you are interested in. To complete this activity, set up a meeting with someone who has a career you’re interested in and talk to them about what their job is like, what advice they have and any other questions you may have.
The career center on your campus or your professors can help you set up an interview with someone in your field of choice. You can find sample questions to use during an informational interview here.
A job shadow is a time where you to follow around an individual in a position or profession you’re interested in to learn more about what that entails.
It’s one thing to read or hear about a particular career, but shadowing a professional on the job can show you some of the day-to-day aspects of this career that will hopefully let you know if you’re on the right path. Set up a day, or part of a day, to shadow someone who works in your field of interest to gain a better understanding of what your future career will be like. Learn more about job shadowing here.
The career center on your campus or your professors can help you set up a job shadow with someone in your field of choice. You can also use an online directory like LinkedIn.
Some other activities that could be tracked within this category include:
- Career Inventory/Assessment
- Strong’s Interest Inventory
- Strengths Finder
- Indiana Career Explorer
- True Colors
A professional resume is a document used to share your education and experience with a potential employer.
One of the most important documents you’ll craft during your time in college is a professional resume. Start early by keeping track of your skills and accomplishments you’ve gotten from various experiences, paid or unpaid, throughout college. Your resume should be updated at least once a year and reviewed by faculty, professionals in your field of interest and your campus career center.
The career center on your campus can help you begin the resume writing process. Learn more about what you’ll want to include in your resume here. You can also utilize an online platform, such as LinkedIn, to help boost your resume’s presence online.
A portfolio is a compilation of documents that gives you an opportunity to highlight examples of your academic work that’s relevant to your major and career path.
A portfolio gives you an opportunity to highlight examples of your academic work that’s relevant to your major and career path. The documents you include can provide evidence of academic achievements, mastery of technical skills and progress in your field of study. Portfolios are common components of capstone courses, and can be a tangible collection of documents or a web-based document (e-portfolio). Portfolios are sometimes preferred by recruiters or hiring managers when you are seeking opportunities in certain fields.
If you’re thinking about developing a portfolio, talk to the career center on your campus or your professors. They can give you tips of what you should – and shouldn’t – include.
An internship is a structured and supervised opportunity that provides you with practical experiences in a career field.
An internship is a structured and supervised opportunity that provides you with practical experiences in a career field. Internships can help highlight what you’re learning in the classroom by giving you the opportunity to use that knowledge in the professional world. Internship can be paid or unpaid, and should allow you to develop personal contacts, which may lead to job placement opportunities. Internships can also help you build your self-confidence, leadership and communication skills. Learn more about internships here.
Other experiences can count for an internship for this requirement, including include student teaching, clinical hours in healthcare, co-ops, or other experiential learning that is part of your curriculum. Your campus career center has access to a variety of internship opportunities from employers, and can even help you create your own experience.
Student-faculty research is an activity where a student and faculty connect to research a topic of interest. It is generally for credit, but can be extracurricular as well.
Student-faculty research is a great opportunity to not only deepen your understanding of your career field, but it can also help you connect with faculty outside of the classroom. Research opportunities can be especially beneficial for developing helpful skills if you’re considering teaching or graduate school after graduation.
Faculty-led research opportunities are often advertised through academic department offices, or even by faculty in their classes. Check out your faculty member’s research interests on your campus website, or ask them during office hours to learn how to get involved. Your academic advisor or undergraduate research office can also help you find opportunities.