Scholarship Application Requirements and Process

Worth up to $20,000 over four years of undergraduate studies at in-state public universities in Florida and South Carolina.

Up to 10 winners selected annually.

 Application period opens: December 1.

 Application deadline: March 2.

 Winners notified: mid-April.

The Sunshine Opportunity Scholarships target high achieving high school seniors in the Tampa Bay area of Florida (Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco counties) and in two cities in South Carolina (Florence and Marion). In those two SC cities, the scholarship program accepts applications from seniors enrolled in West Florence High School, South Florence High School, Wilson High School and Marion High School.

                  Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and demonstrate that they have overcome significant obstacles in life and have financial need as indicated through the FAFSA report.

Who may apply

 High school seniors enrolled in high schools in Pinellas, Hillsborough or Pasco counties in the Tampa Bay area of Florida; in West Florence High School, South Florence High School or Wilson High School in Florence, SC, and Marion High School in Marion, SC. Applicants must be citizens of the United States.


Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement, financial need, community service and evidence of having overcome significant obstacles in life.

What the winners receive

Each winner is eligible to receive $5,000 per year for four years ($20,000) of undergraduate enrollment at an in-state university. Winners are announced in April. In order to continue to receive the scholarship during undergraduate years, the student must be enrolled full-time in college and remain in good academic standing (transcript and personal essay required annually for renewal).

Application Instructions

The Sunshine Opportunity Scholarships place special emphasis on these criteria in evaluating applications: Academic achievement, standardized test scores (SAT and/or ACT), having overcome significant obstacles in life and financial need. Put your best effort into the essay as it reflects your intelligence and your education thus far and helps us to evaluate your potential for success in college.

There are 6 parts to the application. Gather the information you need before going on-line.

  • Addresses: your home address and that of your parents or guardians and your high school.
  • Phone numbers:for you, your parents/guardians; your high school; your school counselor.
  • E mails: for you, your parents/guardians and your school counselor.
  • Test scores:ACT Composite and SAT (Reading/Writing, Math) and SAT II scores and AP test scores, if applicable.
  • High School Information: GPA (weighted and un-weighted), your class rank, class size, graduation date (month and year), academic program (IB, AP, Honors, Dual Enrollment, etc.).
  • Colleges: Names of the Florida public universities to which you have applied and/or have been accepted.
  • Special circumstances:challenges that you or your family may be facing now or in the recent past.
  • Timeline:Tell us about the five most important events in your life so far.
  • Parent/Guardian education and employment history:Tell us where your parents/guardians attended school (including degrees received) and current or previous employers, the addresses of employment and positions held.

Tell us about your academic honors; your classes (AP, IB, Honors); community service; extracurricular activities; employment; awards; athletics; other activities that have been key in forming your life experience thus far. You will type in this information in the required sections of the on-line application.

 In the essay, describe your greatest obstacle in life and how you have overcome it. It is recommended that you type this essay into the on-line application.

(Note: Give this essay your best effort, in the story that you are telling as well as the presentation of the story. Check your essay for spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax. Save this file as a .txt and you may be able to copy/paste it more easily into the appropriate section of the application.)

Upload your high school transcript (PDF). It MUST include your grades from the first semester of your senior year.

Attach no more than 3 letters of recommendation from individuals who know you well and can speak to your character and potential. Examples: guidance counselor, a teacher who knows you well, an employer, an adult who knows you through volunteer work, sports or other activities. Letters MUST be uploaded as Word documents or PDFs.

FAFSA: Your “Expected Family Contribution.” Complete the FAFSA application beforehand so that you have this number handy.