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Carroll County Scholars Program

Begin preparing for college — at no cost — as a Carroll County high school student with Carroll County Scholars (CCS), an extraordinary journey that will transform your academic life as you discover paths to success.

Register for CCS
2024 Registration is open!

You are invited!
Learn more about Carroll County Scholars
Attend an information session:
  • Thursday, April 18, at 6 p.m.
    Virtual Session
    Register Now 


students 2022

A Program Made for Young Scholars

Carroll County Scholars is a program for high school students who reside in Carroll County, Maryland, that helps them and their families begin preparing for college at no cost, while making them eligible for a guaranteed scholarship to McDaniel College (participating scholars are not required to commit to or enroll at McDaniel).

Because CCS isn't just a program; it's a promise. Beginning at the end of the 8th grade year, participating students and their families experience four years of educational and impactful programming crafted to support a successful college search.

How it Works
  • Registration is now open! Current 8th and 10th grade students who are residents of Carroll County will begin the program in 2024.
  • Scholars complete programming tailored to their high school year to guide them through the college prep, search, and application processes.
  • Eligible seniors who complete the program are guaranteed a college scholarship of at least $100,000 ($25,000 per year) to McDaniel.
  • Scholars can compete for a special full-tuition college scholarship to McDaniel.
Register for CCS Today.

Our Mission: Student Success

CCS empowers Carroll County students to embark on their college journey with confidence. 

How We Help High Schoolers Prepare for College

Workshop topics throughout the program will be tailored to each cohorts’ stage in high school and the college search process.

At least two workshops will be held per year; each workshop is designed for families and will offer both student and parent/guardian sessions. They'll help answer specific questions like:

  • What should I do in high school to prepare for college?
  • When do I fill out FAFSA?
  • How do I start planning for college?
  • What is considered a good SAT score?
  • How do I start looking for colleges?
  • What do colleges look for on applications?

Carroll County Scholars and their families will also be invited to two campus social events annually to introduce them to co-curricular college experiences.

Workshop Topics

  • Making the Most of Your High School Experience  

  • Why Attend College and How to Plan for It 

  • Public, Private, and Community Colleges: What’s the Difference? 

  • An Overview of Testing: SAT, ACT, Test-Optional, and More

  • College Athletics and Being a Student-Athlete  

  • Ins and Outs of the FAFSA and Scholarships

  • Crafting a Competitive Application

  • Financial Aid: Evaluating Financial Aid Offers 

  • Planning for a Successful College Transition 

Students walking across campus.

Investing in our Community

Since 1984, McDaniel College has invested in the future of Carroll County's brightest minds. Thanks to our incredible local alumni and generous business community, we are committed to building pathways to success for students right here in the place they call home. By partnering with our donor community, we have expanded our impact with the Carroll County Scholars program. 

Interested in becoming a donor?

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for Carroll County Scholars?

All students who reside in Carroll County are eligible to participate.

Do scholars have to be enrolled in Carroll County Public Schools?

No — Carroll County residents may attend any public or private school or be homeschooled.

How are students selected for the program?

Families enroll at the end of their 8th or 10th grade years in order to begin the program in the 9th or 11th grade. All Carroll County resident students are eligible to participate. There is no minimum required GPA; just a willingness to engage in the program.

What are the benefits to joining the program as an 8th grade student vs. later in high school?

College planning is a journey. The Carroll County Scholars program provides useful information for families throughout high school, coinciding with early high school activities such as choosing courses or taking the PSAT. By participating in the program for all four years, families develop closer and more meaningful relationships with McDaniel admissions and financial aid staff and enjoy increased support in their college search.

Is it free to participate?

There is no cost to participate in the Carroll County Scholars program. 

What level of commitment is required of scholars?

Scholars must attend at least one workshop per year to be eligible for the guaranteed scholarship at the end of the program.

Where will events be held? Do I need to be located close to McDaniel College?

While many events will be held on McDaniel College’s campus, there will also be opportunities for virtual events or events at Carroll County high schools. 

Does a scholar have to commit to attending McDaniel College?

Absolutely not. We want to make sure each student finds their best fit college.

My child qualifies for one of McDaniel's Legacy scholarships. Are the scholarships added together?

No. Qualifying CCS students will receive the highest scholarship they qualify for (which could, in some cases, be more than $25,000) but are guaranteed no less than $25,000 per year. 

Is the scholarship to McDaniel College really guaranteed?

Yes. As long as scholars complete one workshop per year, they are guaranteed a $100,000 ($25,000/year) scholarship. Additional need-based aid may be available as well.

How do you qualify for the full-tuition scholarship and how is the recipient chosen?

To be eligible for the full-tuition scholarship, students must have completed at least one CCS workshop each year they’ve been involved in the program. In September of their senior year, CCS participants will apply to McDaniel. To be considered for the CCS full-tuition scholarship, they must:

  1. Apply to McDaniel by Nov. 15
  2. Be admitted to McDaniel
  3. Submit a supplementary CCS Scholarship Application that includes:
    • A letter of support from a community member (teacher, school counselor, religious leader, community leader, business owner)
    • A response to the following essay prompt: How has your upbringing in Carroll County influenced the person you are today, and how do you envision this unique background shaping your future academic and personal pursuits?

Twenty finalists will be selected based on the overall strength of their application for admission to McDaniel and their CCS Scholarship Application.

Finalists and their families will be hosted on campus at a special event and students will be interviewed by a scholarship selection committee. 

The winner will be determined by the selection committee that considers the strength of their McDaniel application, the strength of their CCS Scholarship Application, their interview, and their engagement in the CCS program.  

The final full-tuition scholarship recipient will be notified no later than March 15.  

How are the program and scholarships funded?

The program is funded in part by local donors including businesses and individuals who believe in helping our local students receive a nationally recognized four-year college education close to home.