Two Bridges Scholars for a photo with their certificates

Bell Tower Scholarship

Bridges to Belmont

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The Bell Tower Scholarship program is designed to ease the transition from high school to college for high-potential students from Metro Nashville Public Schools. The program seeks to challenge, support, and nurture the academic, personal, and spiritual growth of each Bell Tower Scholar. ​Each Bell Tower Scholar will be afforded the opportunity to achieve collegiate success through the academic and personal support provided through the Bell Tower Scholars program.

About the Bell Tower Scholarship

A student receiving her Bell Tower ScholarshipThe Bell Tower Scholars program (formally known as Bridges to Belmont) was launched in 2013. The Bell Tower program is committed and designed to enroll high-potential students from Metro Nashville Public Schools. The scholarship is one of the top scholarships offered at Belmont University. The scholarship provides full tuition, room, board, books, and fees for four academic years (eight semesters) of continuous study.

Our Bell Tower Scholars represent the rich diversity of the city we call home, reflecting Belmont's commitment to become Nashville's University. The program seeks to empower students’ passions to have an impact on the world through their education by creating an environment of academic achievement, community service, social engagement, and personal formation.

Our mission is to provide an environment and support services that afford Bell Tower Scholars the opportunity to successfully transition from high school to Belmont University. The program seeks to challenge, support and nurture the academic, personal and spiritual growth of each Bell Tower Scholar. Each Bell Tower Scholar will be afforded the opportunity to achieve collegiate success through the academic and personal support provided through the Bell Tower Scholars program. 

Academic Support & Success

The Bridges to Belmont Student Success staff provides foundational academic support and guidance to Bell Tower Scholars as they transition from high school to Belmont University and offers ongoing support throughout their entire academic career. One of the specific goals of the program is to provide scholars with the opportunity to enhance their academic performance and skill set as they transition into and progress though their majors. Various opportunities are offered for academic support including:

  • A stair-step study hall system designed to encourage reflection and the development of time management and learning strategies.
  • Tutoring, which is offered in multiple formats, including personalized 1:1 course-specific tutoring, drop-in general tutoring, small group tutoring and academic skills tutoring.
  • Individual interventions with program staff.
  • Workshops that focus not only on academic skills and abilities, but also mindset and personal growth. Ultimately, the Student Success staff strives to motivate, encourage and support scholars as they become intentional, self-directed, independent learners.

The Bell Tower Scholars experience equips and empowers scholars to not only successfully matriculate to Belmont, but to ultimately earn a degree from Belmont as well. Some key components of the Bell Tower Scholars experience include:

  • Summer Academy, which is a 6–9-week summer bridge program on campus. This entails for-credit coursework, panels, workshops and engaging events to best prepare for the college environment at Belmont.
  • The Bell Tower scholarship is a last-dollar and residential scholarship. Scholars are expected to live on campus during the fall and spring semesters, during which time room, board and meal plans are covered by the scholarship.
  • Scholars are expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of no less than 2.50.
  • The Bridges to Belmont Student Success & Flourishing staff offers scholars multifaceted support that focuses on developing effective study skills, conscientious time management skills and academic self-efficacy. Details are outlined on the previous page.
  • 48 hours of community service volunteering within the Nashville community each semester.
  • Participation in the Bell Tower Scholars Mentoring Program, which pairs scholars with Belmont faculty or staff mentors for the duration of their college career; Scholars are also matched with a peer mentor upon entrance to Summer Academy.
  • Access to additional career and professional development support, including 1:1 coaching related to internships, resumes, cover letters, grad school applications and other aspects of professional growth.

In May 2017, the first group of scholars graduated from Belmont.

For the 2017 graduation activities, a Bell Tower Scholar was a speaker at both Baccalaureate and Commencement.

Shirley Kyere, one of the recent Bridges to Belmont graduates was chosen to be one of the Board of Trustees Regents.

On average, around 35 percent of Bell Tower Scholars make the Dean's List every semester.

In 2022, Jayla Holt and Danaua Davis became the first two Bell Tower Scholars to graduate with a Nursing Degree.

The graduating class of 2022 was the Bell Tower Scholarship Program's largest graduating class yet.

As of 2022, there are 108 students who have graduated from Belmont with the Bell Tower Scholarship. Below are some of the organizations our Scholars are working with currently.

Bell Tower Scholars are involved all over campus. Here are a few of the organizations & initiatives that they are involved in:

  • BSA
  • 629 Dance Club
  • Belmont Ambassadors
  • Study Abroad
  • Intramurals
  • DECA
  • Debate Team
  • Greek Life
  • Bruin Poetry Den
Student showing a peace sign at a Bell Tower Scholars event

Application Timeline

Learn more about the application timeline and checklist for the Bell Tower Scholarship. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Strong Candidates know & do the following:

  • Familiarize themselves with the University, majors/programs, campus culture and more.
  • Know about the scholarship program and what is expected of scholars throughout all 4-5 years of enrollment, beyond just the financial component of the scholarship.
  • Have a level of discernment, especially if we do not have the major they want. Institutional fit is important.
  • If they have a particular skill/talent, etc., that should come out in the interview.
  • Having a sibling in the program does not increase your chances.
  • They know the requirements of their desired major and either have the requirements or are willing to achieve those requirements (i.e., ACT score, auditions if required, etc.)
  • Really consider this opportunity from all aspects. This scholarship is an experience!
  • They prepare for the interview with their high school administrators/helping professionals.
  • They are thoughtful with their application essays, etc.
  • They understand that when they officially start the application process (Candidate Day), that they are being observed and that their participation and interaction with not only other candidates but also with the staff are important. There is no need to force the interaction, but rather be engaged and follow directions.
  • Candidates need to be themselves.

Full tuition, room and board, course fees, books and supplies. In addition to financial support, the program offers academic support, such as advising, tutoring, and mentors.

  • Maplewood Comprehensive High School
  • Stratford STEM Magnet High School
  • Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School
  • Whites Creek Comprehensive High School
  • Glencliff High School
  • Hillsboro High School
  • Hillwood High School
  • Hunters Lane High School
  • McGavock High School
  • Overton High School
  • Antioch High School
  • Cane Ridge High School

Candidates must be nominated through their high school guidance counselor for the Bell Tower Scholarship interview process.

  1. If I am undecided, who will help me pick my major?
  2. Can I have a major and a minor?
    • Yes, but it depends on your major. Some majors do not require a minor and others do. It is important that you research various majors of interest and decide what works best for you.
  3. How do you change a major?
    • To change a major, scholars first should talk to someone in that department before signing any paperwork and/or speak to a GPS counselor. Finally, scholars should let the Assistant Director of Student Success and Flourishing know about the change.
    • Once that is complete, the scholar should complete the necessary paperwork and submit it to Belmont Central. The major-change form can be accessed here.

  • All scholarships & financial aid should be directed to the Office of Student Financial Services
  • The Bell Tower Scholarship is a “last-dollar” scholarship, meaning the amount of funding awarded to an eligible student takes into account any additional public funding or grants the student is eligible for like TN Promise, local scholarships from organizations or agencies.
  • For more information about last dollar scholarships please contact the Office of Student Financial Services.

  1. Are there on-campus jobs available?
  2. What is the pay for work study?
    • Typically, $10/current minimum wage
  3. What are the hours of on-campus jobs?
    • You make your own schedule based on your class schedule. Campus offices are typically open from 8 am to 4:30 pm. However, if you work for Sodexo (food services) your hours could vary since they operate with different hours.
  4. Can I work while I’m a student?
    • The program strongly suggests that scholars work less than 20 hours per week to ensure there is time for studying and class preparation. It is important to keep in mind that the time and energy to maintain good grades and retain your scholarship is significantly more than what was required in high school.
  5. Can we maintain off-campus jobs?
    • While the program does not prohibit working off-campus while attending Belmont, we suggest that students focus solely on their academic coursework and on-campus experience. The program covers room and board, so scholars’ basic necessities are provided.

The program does not pay for medical or dental expenses, graduation fees, parking tickets, health clinic, miscellaneous charges (i.e., unauthorized charges to your student account) ​

  1. Does the program cover costs of study abroad and other programs like it?
    • Yes.
  2. Is there a limit for the trips and experiences the program funds?
    • Yes, there are over 115 scholars enrolled in the program at any given time. While the program tries to provide all scholars with the opportunity to travel they must meet scholarship expectations, have no disciplinary issues, fill out an application, and be approved. Scholars are typically limited to 1 experience funded by the program.
  3. What are some places scholars have learned and served in the past?
    • Honduras, Buenos Aries, Rome, Ireland, Hawaii, Jamaica, El Paso, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and the Dominican Republic!

  1. How do you obtain an apartment suite?
    • Scholars are required to select specific housing options directed to them by the Bell Tower Staff. If there is a medical need the Scholar must also register with the Office of Accessibility.
  2. Are Bell Tower Scholars able to choose their own dorm hall?
    • Scholars live in the freshmen residence halls during their first year. After freshmen year, Scholars are able to choose from the allowed on-campus options.
  3. Can Bell Tower Scholars choose their roommates?
    • Yes, but paperwork for roommates has to be submitted at the same time. For fall housing, all candidates that are offered the scholarship will get instructions after the scholarship offer is made & accepted.
  4. Do scholars have to live with other Bell Tower Scholars?
    • No, Scholars can opt to room with whomever they wish or be placed randomly with another Belmont student.
  5. Is housing provided year-round?
    • No, housing is only provided during semesters in which a scholar is enrolled as a full-time student. If you have extenuating circumstances, please contact the Bell Tower Staff.

  1. When and what is summer Academy?
    • Bell Tower Scholarship recipients are required to participate in a Summer Academy experience that lasts approximately 7 weeks prior to the start of fall classes. The purpose of Summer Academy is to provide scholarship recipients a chance to get an idea of what college will be like and to assist them in the transition from high school to college. Information on specific dates and what is needed to prepare will be shared after all scholarships are offered and accepted.
  2. Is Summer Academy Optional?
    • No
  3. What if I fall behind in Summer Academy?
  4. Are scholars allowed to work during summer academy?
    • It is recommended that scholars only work on the weekends.

Bridges works with scholars over the summer to help them make connections with faculty members and pair them with a mentor that will help them throughout their college experience.

Freshman scholars can attend the BruinLink Fair every August to learn more about campus clubs and organizations, and scholars can also look at the BruinLink platform for more details about each organization and how to get involved.

  • Scholars must go home during University breaks (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Summer etc.).
  • Scholars can go home whenever they wish but there are several things to keep in mind:
    • Make sure you are still completing your assignments for class and meeting all of your obligations.
    • Make sure you are back on campus the night before classes, trying to get to campus during rush hour traffic in Nashville can be incredibly challenging and could cause you to miss class.

Scholars have to apply and be approved through the Bell Tower program if they want to take summer classes at Belmont. If they want to take classes at another institution, scholars will be responsible for the cost and making sure the classes will transfer to Belmont.

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