This post is all about Bright Futures, the Florida scholarship. Here you will find everything you need to get started all the way through applying. We will discuss general information, how to submit a proposal, how to track your volunteer hours, how to apply, and more. IB students, please see the Additional Information section.
Bright Futures is a merit based scholarship funded by the Florida lottery. The eligibility requirements often change, so ensure you are looking at the most up-to-date requirements. There are three components to earning the scholarship. They are: GPA, SAT or ACT score, and volunteer hours. The required GPA is based on a weighted, cumulative GPA. View the Information Sheet for steps, some organizations that count, and information on which hours do NOT count toward Bright Futures. View the Eligibility Requirements here.
Step One: Proposal
A proposal form needs to be submitted prior to completing hours. Students, if you have already started your hours and did not turn in a proposal, please see your School Counselor or Mr. Trent. The proposal form lets us know where students will be completing their hours and that they are completing hours at an approved site. Click the Proposal Form here. Once students have entirely filled out the form, download or print it, and submit it to Mrs. D’Amico in the Student Services Department. Students may also email it to her at: DAmico.Trudy@Brevardschools.org. You will notice on Section 4 of the form that students will be required to submit a reflection activity. The most common activity is an essay. The essay is typically a one-page, double-spaced reflection of hours and what a student has gained through those experiences. The essay (or alternative reflection activity) is due one week before graduation.
Step Two: Volunteer
Start volunteering! Students can start earning hours that count toward Bright Futures the summer before starting 9th grade. It is best if students volunteer in a field they are interested in majoring in college. For example, if a student is wanting to study medicine, they should volunteer at a hospital. If a student is wanting to study education, they should volunteer at an elementary school and/or tutor students. Get creative! If there is something a student wants to do, but cannot find the right fit, they can start an organization. For example, a student was passionate about theatre. His previous elementary school did not have a theatre club so he started one there. Another example, on a trip with his family, a student saw a need to provide shoes to children from a country overseas. He started a movement and collected shoes and sent them overseas. Colleges love creative volunteer opportunities! View the Information Sheet for a list of organizations to get started.
Track hours with the Hours Log. Students can either turn this in periodically as they earn hours, or wait until the sheet is completely filled out then turn it in. Keep a copy! Students should save a digital copy as they go, just in case the hard copy gets lost. Students need to total their hours before turning it in. Once completed, submit it to Mrs. D’Amico in the Student Services Department or through email at DAmico.Trudy@Brevardschools.org: .
Step Three: Apply
The senior counselor visits the classrooms in January to walk seniors through the application process. Seniors, if you missed it, you can find the application process here.
This post did not cover ensuring the GPA and test scores were met. Those are done in conjunction with earning hours. For additional information about SAT/ACT, visit our other posts from Counselor Connect nights, like this one. Visit the official Bright Futures Handbook here. Do not forget to submit the reflection activity prior to graduation!
IB Students: Earning the IB Diploma waives the GPA and test score requirements for Bright Futures, see page 5 of the Bright Futures Handbook. IB students should still strive to meet the GPA and test score requirements, just in case the IB Diploma is not earned. IB students do NOT have to submit the Proposal, Hours Log, or the reflection activity- their hours and reflections are tracked differently.
For more information, including the length of the award, view the Bright Futures website.