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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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Timothy Peck
6 Scholarships

10 Illinois Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College

What’s Covered:


Illinois is home to some of the top schools in the nation, including the University of Chicago, Northwestern, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Helping Prairie State students cover the cost of attending these selective institutions—along with other great colleges and universities both inside and outside of Illinois—are numerous scholarships directed exclusively at Illinois students. Below you’ll find a selection of the best Illinois scholarships. 


10 Illinois Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College

1. Anhelo Project Dream Scholarships


Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 31

Eligibility: High school seniors and Illinois residents attending college, university, or a vocational training program located within Illinois 

Application Requirements: Transcript(s), minimum 2.5 GPA, two letters of recommendation, resume, and proof of income


Anhelo Project Dream Scholarships are funded by the Anhelo Project, a Chicago-based non-profit that supports undocumented students pursuing post-secondary education in Illinois. DACA status is not needed to earn this award, however, undocumented students are strongly encouraged to apply. What is required of winners is their time—Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship recipients must volunteer for 20 hours the following academic year at Anhelo Project events. 


2. Billy Smith Memorial Scholarship


Amount: N/A

Deadline: February 1 

Eligibility: Graduating senior who played at least three years of baseball or softball in high school (including their senior year), is planning to major in a sports-related field, and is a resident of one of the following counties:

  • Winnebago
  • Boone
  • Ogle
  • Stephenson

Application Requirements: Essay and a minimum 3.0 GPA


Students as strong on the diamond as they are in the classroom will want to explore this sporty scholarship. The Billy Smith Scholarship memorializes the activities its namesakes loved best by providing funding for high school baseball and softball players to attend college and pursue a career in a sports-related field. Applicants are tasked with composing an essay exploring why they are the best candidate to receive the award while considering the background of the award. 


3. Bleeding & Clotting Disorders Institute (BCDI) Green Family Scholarship


Amount: $1,500

Deadline: March 2 

Eligibility: Resident of the BCDI service area (downstate Illinois), congenital or acquired chronic bleeding disorder or a congenital clotting disorder diagnosis, annual Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) comprehensive clinic attendance, and planning to enroll full-time in a  vocational school, junior college, or four-year university

Application Requirements: Demonstrated desire for success, essay, and minimum 2.5 GPA


The Green Family Scholarship fund is sponsored through The Community Foundation of Illinois. The intention of the scholarship is to assist recipients in acquiring a technical or higher education. Up to five recipients are chosen annually and awards can be applied to the cost of tuition, books, and other course fees. 


4. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Scholarships 


Amount: $3,500

Deadline: May 6 

Eligibility: High school seniors who are residents of Chicagoland and its suburbs who have experienced homelessness and are admitted to, or enrolled in, a two- or four-year college or university 

Application Requirements: Transcript, two letters of recommendation, completed short-answer questions, FAFSA, minimum 2.5 GPA, and certification form 


The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Scholarships are renewable awards for students who succeeded in school despite the challenge of experiencing homelessness, living in a shelter, on the street, or doubled-up in someone else’s home. A testament to the tenacity and determination of scholarship recipients is their graduation rate—almost half (47%) of eligible Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Scholarship recipients have earned a bachelor’s degree (just 21% of first-generation students from the lowest income bracket earn a bachelor’s from a four-year school within six years).


5. Friends of Volo Bog Entering College Scholarship


Amount: $1,000

Deadline: March 31

Eligibility: High School Senior planning to environmental or natural science in college who resides in:

  • Lake County 
  • McHenry County 
  • Kane County 
  • Cook County 
  • DuPage County 
  • Kendall County 
  • Will County

Application Requirements: Transcript, letter of recommendation, essay, and minimum B average 


This scholarship is aimed at outstanding students interested in pursuing a career related to preserving the natural environment. Along those lines, applicants are required to submit a short essay that explores their motivation and goals for an environmental or natural science career, their thoughts about environmental issues, and how their experiences and skills will help them find success in the field. 


6. Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program


Amount: Up to $23,000

Deadline: April 1 

Eligibility: Illinois residents who are high school seniors, attend Illinois community colleges, or are freshman and sophomores at partner colleges and universities   

Application Requirements: Transcript, two references, and the completion of a series of short personal statements


One of the most generous Illinois scholarships, the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program aims to prepare and assist the next generation of Illinois teachers. In addition to financial support, Golden Apple Scholars receive first-hand classroom experience, mentoring, and job placement assistance. To successfully complete the Golden Apple Scholars, recipients are required to earn a bachelor’s degree from a partner school, acquire an Illinois teaching certificate, and teach for five years in an Illinois school-of-need within seven years of graduation. 


7. Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) Scholarships 


Amount: N/A 

Deadline: April 28 

Eligibility: Applicant or their family is a member of the JASC and enrolled, or planning to enroll, full-time at an institution of advanced learning the following academic year

Application Requirements: Transcript, essay, two references, and a list of extracurricular activities and community service


The Japanese American Service Committee was founded in 1946, following the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The organization was originally founded to “resettle” Japanese Americans coming to Chicago and called the Chicago Resettlers Committee. Today, the JASC promotes Japanese American history, culture, and heritage while it encourages community service. Japanese American ancestry isn’t required to win an award, however, membership in the JASC is required and community service to Japanese American organizations is a factor used to determine recipients.  


8. Palumbo Family Foundation Scholarships 


Amount: N/A 

Deadline: March 31

Eligibility: High school seniors and undergraduates with an annual adjusted gross family income of $63,000 or less who are residents of:

  • Cook County 
  • Dupage County 
  • Kane County 
  • Lake County 
  • Will County 

Application Requirements: Transcript, income verification, two or more references, and a minimum 3.0 GPA


Aimed at making a difference in the Chicagoland community, the Palumbo Family Foundation Scholarship provides financial support to students from low-income families and helps them realize their dreams of furthering their education. The scholarship is open to Illinois students from select counties who will enroll—either full- or part-time—as an undergraduate at a two- or four-year college or university, or vocational school, the following academic year. 


9. National Federation of the Blind of Illinois (NFBI) Scholarships 


Amount: Up to $5,000

Deadline: March 31

Eligibility: Legally blind resident of, or student in, Illinois who is enrolled full-time in an accredited two-year, four-year, or graduate college or university program

Application Requirements: Personal essay 


Every year, the NFBI invests in the future of qualified legally blind students by providing financial support through its scholarship program. Recipients are selected using numerous criteria, including academic performance and service to the community. Applicants are also required to submit an essay that paints a biographical sketch and addresses questions like: How has your blindness affected you? How do you handle it at school, on the job, and in interpersonal relationships? What do you hope to become?


10. Robert Sherman Fine Art Scholarship  


Amount: $1,000  

Deadline: March 30 

Eligibility: Graduating senior who resides in Glenview, attends school in district 225, and is planning to major in visual art

Application Requirements: Two letters of recommendation, a short essay, and a portfolio of at least ten images


The Robert Sherman Fine Art Scholarship is sponsored by the Glenview Art League with the intention of supporting area artists and the development of fine art in the community. Visual arts include painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, and filmmaking. Recipients are chosen on the quality of their work and the strength of their recommendations. Awards are paid directly to winners to use at their discretion toward the cost of college.  



Tips on Applying to Scholarships


As the cost of college continues to climb, competition for scholarships is becoming increasingly intense. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to improve your odds of winning an award. 


Apply to Institutions 


Private scholarships—such as those listed above—are an excellent opportunity to earn some cash for college, but the really big awards are often provided by schools themselves. Colleges grant $175 billion in scholarship money each year! Many colleges and universities award substantial scholarships based on merit, such as academic performance or extracurricular activities. Remember to explore institutional opportunities as well as outside scholarships. 


Look at Schools Where Your Profile is Strong 


Many well-known, highly respected schools like those of the Ivy League don’t need to attract strong applicants—they already receive far more than they can admit—consequently, they do not award any merit aid. Conversely, less-selective schools are more likely to woo attention-grabbing applicants by offering them scholarships. When building your college list, include one or two safety schools where you have a strong chance of winning substantial merit aid.  


Pay Attention to Small Awards 


Small awards, such as a scholarship for students from a single Illinois town or county, can add up quickly. Plus, they often are not nearly as competitive as larger awards. Incorporate them into your scholarship strategy to improve your chances of winning an award.

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.