Frequently Asked Questions about Horizon
What is Horizon Scholarship Services?
Horizon is a free scholarship coaching and mentoring program that helps highly-motivated high school students win funding for college. We have helped students win $5 million in scholarships, grants and other financial aid. This includes “full-ride” scholarships for public universities and financial packages for top private institutions such as Vanderbilt University. Horizon is an additional resource that is available beyond the school system to help students/parents organize and prioritize their efforts.
What do you mean by “highly-motivated” students?
By highly-motivated students, we mean students who are willing to put in a strong, consistent effort to complete the entire program. We work with students through a yearlong Jump Start program that runs from December of their junior year through December of their senior year. Our goal is to help students help themselves. So if a student is not willing to spend at least a few hours every week pursuing scholarships, he or she should not apply for our program.
What are the qualifications for participating in the program?
To qualify for the program, students must complete a Program Application; have a minimum 3.5 GPA*; be willing to apply for at least six colleges/universities; have at lease a one-year history of community service; be accessible by email and telephone; be willing to devote time each week to pursue scholarships; and be willing to donate to my memorial scholarship at APSU. (*Note: Students with extreme financial need, a disability, or other adversities may be accepted with a minimum GPA of 3.0.)
How do you work with students?
Horizon works one-on-one with students and guides them through a six-step program that makes it easier for them to apply for and win scholarships. We interact directly with students by phone and email, and we send parents a courtesy copy of all emails that are sent to students. Essentially, Horizon serves as a personal coach or mentor to students. We provide in-depth research, information, expert advice and other services to ensure students get the most from their efforts. We encourage students to continue working with their high school guidance counselor, parents and other sources, in addition to using our program.
How does your program work?
Essentially, we walk students through all of the steps and help them organize and prioritize their efforts, so they make the best use of their time. Students determine the pace and results of the program, based on the amount of time and effort they are willing to spend. We help students focus on their areas of strength, whether it’s academics, leadership or community service, so they avoid wasting time applying for the wrong types of scholarships. Our program focuses on three areas in this specific order: helping students apply for college super early, helping students apply for scholarships from their colleges and helping students apply for scholarships from other organizations. We encourage students to start early and target multiple schools, so they can increase their chances for success. Our primary goal is to help students win scholarship offers from as many schools as possible, so they will have a variety of options when they graduate.
What kind of services do you offer?
Horizon offers advice and free information for seniors, sophomores and freshmen. For juniors, we have a, Jump Start program that helps students (juniors) with a wide range of services, including:
- identifying target universities and colleges
- strategy development for pursuing scholarships
- customized research to identify matching scholarships
- proofreading/editing for essays, applications and other materials
- student resume writing/rewriting
- cover letter/thank you letter writing
- preparing for scholarship/alumni interviews
- capitalizing on campus visits
- leveraging the power of follow-ups
- preparing to retake the ACT and more…
Do you only work with students who live in Tennessee?
No, the program is available to students nationwide. Horizon has assisted students in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, California, Illinois, Arizona and Alaska.
How are your services different from what guidance counselors do?
Guidance counselors are a great source of information and assistance. However, with so many students assigned to them, they don’t always have the time to provide individualized services. Essentially, we supplement counselors’ efforts. We work closely with juniors and take them through a one-year program that makes it easier for them to find, apply for and win scholarships. And we don’t just hand students a general list of scholarships that may not be suitable for them; we help students identify scholarships that match their specific abilities. We also proofread scholarship essays before students submit them, so they are error-free and more effective. In addition, we can help with an academic resume, scholarship interviews, campus visits, follow-ups and other resources to ensure students stand out and increase their chance for success.
How much does the program cost?
The program is provided free of charge to students. We simply ask participants to donate any amount they choose directly to a memorial scholarship that we established at Austin Peay State University.
Why do you offer free services to students?
The short answer is: to give back to the community. Here’s the long version: Tracy Barbour established Horizon to help others because of her own personal experiences. When she first attended college, she knew very little about scholarships. So she struggled to complete a bachelor’s degree in communications using Pell grants, work-study programs, loans and her parents’ hard-earned money. Since then, Tracy has learned a great deal about scholarships and has won more than $500,000 in college funding for her children and herself. This includes a $10,000 fellowship from Austin Peay State University to complete her master’s degree in business management. Now, she is committed to helping students win scholarships and other aid, so they can avoid having to struggle through college—the way she did. The donations that Horizons’ participants contribute to Austin Peay help support a memorial scholarship that was established to honor Tracy’s parents for their sacrifices to her education. The scholarship awards funds to two Austin Peay students each year. Tracy is pleased to provide scholarships for Austin Peay students and enjoys helping high school students pursue scholarships for their target schools.
How do I get started?
Review the qualifications listed on our About Us page. If you qualify, download and complete a copy of our Program Application.