How to get the Hope Scholarship in Tennessee:

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How to get the Hope Scholarship in Tennessee:

October 21, 2019
Every year the Tennessee State Government pays out millions of dollars in funding for students to attend college — here’s how to make the most of it in 3 easy steps!

#1 Qualify for the Hope Scholarship:

Few people realize, but the hope scholarship isn’t just one scholarship, it’s actually a suite of merit and need based scholarships with a range of academic and demographic benchmarks. The tables below will tell you what you need to do to qualify for each type of scholarship.

Non-Demographic Based:

Scholarship Amount/year ACT or SAT GPA Notes
Hope Basic $4,000 21 ACT / 1080 SAT 3.0 Available to all who meet requirements
Ned McWherter Scholars Program $6,000 29 ACT / 1300 SAT 3.5 Application based.
General Assembly Merit $4,000 29 ACT / 1300 SAT 3.75 Application based.

Demographic Based:

Scholarship Amount/year ACT or SAT GPA Demographic Notes
Helping Heroes $2,000 None None Veteran Honorably discharged active duty.
ASPIRE $1,500 21 ACT / 1080 SAT 3.0 Low Income Family or individual income below $36,000 annually.
HOPE Access Grant $3,000 18 ACT / 940 SAT 2.75 Low Income Family or individual income below $36,000 annually.
TSAA $4,000 None None Low Income EFC sub $2,100.
Consider how you can maximize the amount of money you receive, for some students this means studying for the ACT or finding a way to boost her/his GPA. Once a student has established all that she/he is possibly qualified for the next step is applying! If you are struggling with test taking a Granite Prep tutor can always help.

#2 Fill out FAFSA:

Before you can apply for any of these scholarships you must fill out the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid”. This is a form where students and families disclose their tax information to the federal government. The form can take a while to fill out, but it can mean being awarded “Pell Grants” (a.k.a more free money for college) so it’s definitely worth the time spent. Below is a link to FAFSA:

#3 Choose Your Scholarships on the TSAC Portal:

Our third and final step in the process is to make an account on the TSAC portal. TSAC (Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation), is the third party who is responsible for hosting and processing all the HOPE scholarship applications. In other words, this is where you go to apply for all the HOPE scholarships. Creating an account on the portal is easy, just follow the link below and fill out your information and apply to any scholarship you wish!


  1. Determine what you qualify for
  2. Complete FAFSA
  3. Apply with TSAC
If you have any additional questions please leave a comment and we will respond as well as we can! If you still feel a little confused and you would like to make an appointment with a Granite Prep college counselor reach out at:


or learn more at:


Grantly Neely is a certified mindfulness teacher and founder of Granite Prep a company dedicated to helping it’s students achieve their ambitions while building resilient minds.

5 Tips for Writing a Great College Essay

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5 Tips for Writing a Great College Essay

August 18, 2019


 Admission officers look at accepting students as building a class. They want the class they are building to “get along” and build lifelong friendships with each other. Accordingly, sharing stories about your friendships and social life can be very good topics in a common app essay. This certainly doesn’t mean you need to talk about how many friends you have or convince anyone you are “popular”; however, sharing stories about meaningful relationships in your life can show a reader mountains about who you are.

College admissions readers are looking to build a diverse and interesting class of students. The common app essay serves as a critical opportunity for the admissions readers to understand who you are as a real person. One of the best ways to show the “real you” is simply to share a story of your high school experience.
Don’t be scared to talk about hardship, adversity, or challenges you have overcome. No one is perfect, and the college admissions readers know that. Reflecting maturely on something in your life that didn’t go perfectly can result in an incredible essay!
The common app essay isn’t like all the 5 paragraph essays you wrote in high school. It doesn’t need to have a thesis statement, topic sentences and three body paragraphs. It is a personal statement, designed to tell the admissions readers more about you. As long as the essay is captivating and tells the reader about who you are, you can use as many paragraphs and any structure you like.
Sharing a lesson you’ve learned in the last 4 years can be a very successful essay topic; it shows humility, an ability to learn and maturity. Be careful, however, not to write an essay about how you are now “enlightened” or have “figured it all out”. Many students attempt to write essays about knowing nothing as freshman and now knowing everything. These stark contrasts just sound cheesy.
If you still feel like you need some tips for your Common App essay feel free to leave a question below or reach out at contact@granitetestprep.com