Scholarships for High School Seniors

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    Introduction to Scholarships for High School Seniors

    SCHOLARSHIPS FOR HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS --- Now that I’ve got your attention, first off, congratulations - you're now in your fourth and final year of high school, which means a few different things...

    First, you're one step closer to becoming a college student - woohoo! Second, you're now officially able to start applying for scholarships that are open to high school seniors. 

    Scholarships are an AMAZING way to help you pay for college because the money you earn through scholarships does not ever need to be repaid.

    Despite this, most students make the mistake of waiting to apply for scholarships until the very end of their senior year in high school, if not later, and miss out on so many great opportunities. 

    To ensure maximum success, I suggest starting as early in the year as possible.

    But, it is certainly never too late in your senior year to start applying for scholarships.

    And, if you're completely or relatively new to the scholarship space, that's okay! I know from experience that the process of finding and applying for scholarships can be an overwhelming one. 

    That's why, in this post, I have gathered some awesome scholarships for high school seniors that you can search through and apply for to get you started. 

    Credit: Portland Press Herald
    Credit: Portland Press Herald

    But First...Some Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a scholarship?

    A scholarship is, to put it simply, free money that you can earn to put towards paying for college.

    Unlike other types of financial aid (aka, loans), money that you earn from scholarships doesn't ever need to be repaid, which is what makes it so awesome. 

    I'm a high school senior. Is it too late for me to start applying for scholarships?

    Nope, not at all! In fact, you're in a prime position when it comes to applying for scholarships because not only can you apply for scholarships that are open to high school students, but you can also begin to prepare for scholarships that are open to college students.

    By starting the process as a senior in high school, you can get fully acquainted and comfortable with what it entails, so that once you get onto campus in the fall, you know exactly what you have to do to secure the bag! 

    Where can I find scholarships to apply for?

    In addition to Access Scholarships, there are tons of other places and resources you can check out to help you search and apply for scholarships. 

    You'll want to start by heading over to the website(s) run by your state that outline state-based financial aid and scholarship opportunities. 

    Then, you'll want to reach out to your school counselor (and do research on Google) to learn about local scholarships that you can apply for. 

    Another more unique way to find potential scholarship opportunities that are specific to you is actually through utilizing social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, even Pinterest!). You can follow hashtags on Instagram such as #TexasScholarships (if you live in Texas) so that anytime an organization posts a relevant scholarship with that hashtag, you can see it and apply if you're interested!  

    How do I make my applications stand out?

    Great question! One of the main ways that you can stand out through your application is through the extra requirements that you submit.

    Whether it's an essay, a video, letters of recommendation, or other additional submissions, these are all places where you will want to dedicate extra time and effort to make sure that what you're sending in is authentically YOU, unique, eye-catching, and memorable. 

    How can I balance applying for scholarships with my schoolwork AND college applications?

    As a senior, I know that you must have a lot on your plate that you're trying to balance. My number one tip to get it all done (and be as successful as possible in the process) is to set goals AND stay organized - more on this in the tips section below the scholarships!

    Easy Rolling Scholarships for High School Seniors 

    • Award Amount: $2,000

      Scholarship Deadline: End of every month

      Details: In addition to their $1,000 scholarship through Bold, Nitro also offers a $2,000 scholarship every month, open to high school seniors and current college students. To be considered, all you need to do is fill out the application form on their website.

    • Award Amount: generally $1,000, but it varies! 

      Scholarship Deadline: Expires on the last day of each month

    • Award Amount: $2,222

      Scholarship Deadline: Last day of each month

      Details: The You Deserve It Scholarship by Scholarship Owl is a monthly scholarship open to all high school and college students.

    • Award Amount: $10,000

      Scholarship Deadline: Expires every quarter

      Details: Each quarter of the year, Scholarship Points awards one $10,000 scholarship to a lucky student - enter each quarter for a greater chance at winning!

    • Award Amount: Varies, but usually $1,000 - $2,500

      Scholarship Deadline: Last day of each month

      Details: CollegExpress offers a monthly scholarship for high school seniors and students of other years in school. What's great is that when you enter for their monthly scholarship, you will also be automatically entered for their $10,000 scholarship!

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: Rolling

      Details: The Cappex Easy Money Scholarship is open to all students - no minimum GPA or essay required.

    • Award Amount: $25,000

      Scholarship Deadline: Rolling monthly

      Details: The $25,000 “Be Bold” Scholarship is a no-essay scholarship that will be awarded to the applicant with the boldest profile.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: Quarterly (Last day of the month in September, December, March, and June)

      Details: The Too Cool to Pay for School Scholarship is our own contribution to helping students fund their higher education. Simply fill in some easy info about yourself and you're entered to win!

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: Beginning of every month

      Details: The Juno $1,000 Scholarship does not require an essay! All you need to do to be entered is to fill out your name and email, and share the scholarship with your friends!

    • Award Amount: $2,000

      Scholarship Deadline: Rolling monthly

      Details: The Niche No Essay Scholarship is awarded monthly and all you have to do to enter is sign up on their website.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: Rolling monthly

      Details: This scholarship is designed for high school athletes who are looking to compete at the next level.

    • Award Amount: $500

      Scholarship Deadline: Rolling

      Details: This scholarship is designed to help you help others become more alert by speaking out against the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, all while getting the chance to win a $500 scholarship!

    • Award Amount: $500

      Scholarship Deadline: Rolling

      Details: This scholarship is open to high school seniors who are US citizens with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

    Scholarships for High School Seniors by Deadline Month

    • Award Amount: $10,000 - renewable for up to 4 years

      Scholarship Deadline: January 5

      Details: The GE Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program honors the legacy and character of our nation’s 40th President. It rewards college-bound students who demonstrate exemplary leadership (in their community and through extracurricular activities), drive, integrity, and citizenship with financial assistance to pursue higher education.

    • Award Amount: $20,000

      Scholarship Deadline: January 8

      Details: The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes program honors student-athletes who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and strong leadership skills in sports, in their schools, and within their communities.

    • Award Amount: $40,000

      Scholarship Deadline: January 9

      Details: RBSP competitively awards 45 – 50 four-year $40,000 scholarships ($10,000 each year) to the most talented and economically-challenged high school seniors who demonstrate a keen interest in public service, community engagement, business entrepreneurship and global citizenship.

      Applicants for the Ron Brown Scholarship MUST be Black/African American, US citizens or permanent residents, and a current high school senior at the time of their application.

    • Award Amount: $500 - $3,000

      Scholarship Deadline: January 15

      Details: The Profile in Courage Essay Contest is open to all high school students. Essays will be judged on the overall originality of the topic and the clear communication of ideas through language.

    • Award Amount: $5,000 - $25,000

      Scholarship Deadline: January 20

      Details: The Live Más Scholarship is Taco Bell's contribution to helping students achieve their higher education goals. To apply, students must submit a video telling the story of their real, true passion. 

    • Award Amount: $1,500

      Scholarship Deadline: January 31

      Details: The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to graduating high school seniors and college students pursuing undergraduate degrees who are planning to attend or currently attending accredited institutions in the US.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: January 31

      Details: The Technology Addiction Awareness Scholarship is designed to help you understand the negative effects that technology and too much screen time can have on our lives. Open to high school students of all years. 

    • Award Amount: $500

      Scholarship Deadline: February 1

      Details: The EngineerGirl Essay Contest is open to all high school students (not just women!), and asks for an essay discussing the vital contribution of engineers in responding to the pandemic.

    • Award Amount: Varies

      Scholarship Deadline: February 1

      Details: The Columbus Citizens Foundation administers scholarship programs that help hundreds of students every year in elementary school, high school, college, and medical school, and graduate programs in the arts.  

    • Award Amount: Up to $30,000

      Scholarship Deadline: February 1

      Details: Scholarship for students accepted to accredited four-year colleges or universities. Must be a minority student, United States citizen, involved in community service and demonstrate leadership potential and financial need.

    • Award Amount: $4,000

      Scholarship Deadline: February 5

      Details: $4,000 four-year scholarships available for children and grandchildren of Elks in good standing. Parent or grandparent must have been an Elk for two years and continue to be a member in good standing. Must be high school senior and apply through the related member’s Elks Lodge

    • Award Amount: $100 - $1,200

      Scholarship Deadline: First Friday in February

      Details: The Americanism Essay Scholarship is open to Illinois high school students and requires an essay on Americanism and good citizenship.

    • Award Amount: $5,000

      Scholarship Deadline: February 15

      Details: AFA’s Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest is an annual competition for college-bound students.  Applicants are asked to write a 1,200 to 1,500-word essay that describes the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on themselves, their families or their communities, and what they have learned in light of coping with the brain disorder.

    • Award Amount: $5,000

      Scholarship Deadline: February 15

      Details: Merit-based awards for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, eligible non-citizens, or DACA of Hispanic heritage with plans to enroll full time in an accredited U.S. 4-year university in the upcoming academic year.

    • Award Amount: $40,000

      Scholarship Deadline: February 18

      Details: A serious 2-for-1 scholarship for high school students interested in computer science. Win $40,000 for college AND a paid programming internship at Amazon. 

      Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of academic performance, experience with computer science, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, work experience, short answer responses, unusual personal or family circumstances, financial need, racial/ethnic/gender diversity, and an educator appraisal, preferred to be completed by a computer science teacher.

    • Award Amount: $10,000

      Scholarship Deadline: February 20

      Details: Three scholarships (one $10,000; two $5,000) will be awarded to graduating U.S. high school students who promoted vegetarianism (includes veganism) in their schools and/or communities. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or fowl. Applicants will be judged on a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegetarian diet/lifestyle.

    • Award Amount: $1,500

      Scholarship Deadline: February 28

      Details: P.L.A.Y knows there are plenty of young minds out there that are passionate about helping animals in need. In an effort to encourage students and promote this cause, P.L.A.Y. will be awarding a $1,500 scholarship to a graduating high school student who best exemplifies their core beliefs.

    • Award Amount: $10,000

      Scholarship Deadline: March 8

      Details: The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and The Sallie Mae Fund are proud to offer financial assistance to outstanding students. Twenty-five (25) students completing a two-year, four-year, or trade/vocational certificate/certification program will be selected to receive a scholarship of up to $10,000.

    • Award Amount: $25,000

      Scholarship Deadline: March 8

      Details: The Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program is one of the major scholarship programs nationally that specifically assists high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives. Open to US high school students with critical financial need. Minimum 2.0 GPA.

    • Award Amount: Varies

      Scholarship Deadline: March 26

      Details: To qualify for the scholarship, a student must be nominated by his/her school counselor or administrator. Students apply and compete at the local Chapter for up to $10,000 in scholarships. The first-place winner from each Chapter will then be submitted to the Corporate level for the opportunity to win the Corporate Scholarship.

    • Award Amount: $2,000

      Scholarship Deadline: April 1

      Details: Open to current high school seniors who want to pursue a college degree or trade school education. Enter for the chance to win one of ten college scholarships.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: April 15

      Details: Open to all high school students, this scholarship was created in collaboration with climate activist Jamie Margolin to encourage students to learn about climate justice.

    • Award Amount: $500 - $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: April 29

      Details: The Fountainhead Essay Contest is for high school juniors and seniors and has three essay prompt options.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: April 30

      Details: The E-Waste Scholarship, sponsored by Digital Responsibility, challenges students to learn about the impact of e-waste and what can be done to minimize it.

    • Award Amount: $2,000

      Scholarship Deadlines: April 30, August 31

      The RealtyHop Scholarship awards up to $2,000 a year to eligible undergraduate students and high school seniors working towards a bachelor and/or associate degree program in the US who demonstrate the ambition, diligence, leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit that is central to our company culture.

    • Award Amount: $2,500

      Scholarship Deadline: May 1

      Details: Higher education: that magical time when deadlines are tight and budgets are tighter. Rover would like to help fund your education. Just write a 400-500 word essay for your chance to win $2,500!

    • Award Amount: $1,000 - $5,000

      Scholarship Deadline: May 1

      Details: The American College Foundation (ACF) offers the annual Visionary Scholarship program to financially support students in every grade level of high school.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: May 5

      Details: This scholarship is for college-bound teens in grades 9th-12th. The scholarship does not require specific test scores, GPA, or class ranking.

      In order to be awarded the scholarship, you must be a current C2C eNews subscriber at the time of the drawing.

    • Award Amount: $2,500

      Scholarship Deadline: May 31

      Details: The Christian Connector Scholarship is a scholarship for high school seniors (and juniors!) who are interested in or planning to enroll in a Christian college or university. 

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: July 15

      Selectblinds.com wants to see your innovative spirit and learn what you’re passionate about. It's a scholarship for high school seniors that could earn you $1,000 to use toward your college expenses!

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: July 23

      This scholarship is open to high school juniors and seniors, and the main application component is a written submission, which can be in the form of an essay or poem.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: July 31

      Details: The Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship is a merit-based program that helps students fulfill their dreams of a higher education. To apply, students must simply answer one of three essay questions ("feel free to re-use an essay that you wrote in class, for college admission or another scholarship competition.")!

    • Award Amount: $1,500

      Scholarship Deadline: July 31

      Details: The Flavor of the Month Scholarship asks students to submit a short essay on ice cream flavors - with a twist! 

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: August 1

      Details: To encourage bright young minds to SPEAK UP, Grademiners offers this essay scholarship for the best original essay (see application page for essay topic options).

    • Award Amount: Full-ride! 

      Scholarship Deadline: September 10

      Details: The Cameron Impact Scholarship is a four-year, full-tuition, merit-based undergraduate scholarship awarded annually to 10-15 exceptional high school students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, extracurricular activities, leadership, and community service. 

      Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.7 to apply.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: September 30

      Details: This scholarship was created to encourage students who have faced adversity to reflect on their experience and discuss the steps they took to pull themselves through a difficult situation. Minimum 3.0 GPA to apply.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: September 30

      Details: Rastin Gluckstein Lawyers is offering The Supporting the Community Scholarship to recognize students who have particularly creative ideas for how they can do their best to give back to their community.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: October 1

      Details: The Fire Memes Scholarship on Bold.org is open to all students. Simply submit your favorite memes for the chance to win. 

    • Award Amount: $40,000 per year 

      Scholarship Deadline: November 18 

      Details:The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship Program is an undergraduate scholarship program available to high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend and graduate from the nation’s best four-year colleges and universities. Minimum 3.5 GPA. 

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: October 1

      Details: The Fire Memes Scholarship on Bold.org is open to all students. Simply submit your favorite memes for the chance to win. 

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: December 1

      Details: Imagine America, sponsored by the Imagine America Foundation (IAF), is a $1,000 career education award that is available to recent high school graduates who are pursuing postsecondary education at participating career colleges across the United States.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: December 1

      Details: 10x digital awards a $2,000 scholarship each year to one talented student (twice a year) who is majoring in (or planning on majoring in) a field related to digital marketing. 

      Undocumented students and international students studying in the US are eligible to apply.

    • Award Amount: Varies

      Scholarship Deadline: December 1

      Details: The National Honor Society is committed to helping students achieve their secondary education goals, and provides the following resources to students and their families to help with the planning process. 600 scholarships are awarded each year to high school seniors who are members of the NHS.

    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: December 6

      Details: “Make the U” is an educational program from Colgate-Palmolive in partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation that offers financial relief to Hispanic youth on their path to higher education. Open to Hispanic/LatinX students, minimum 3.0 GPA. Must be a US resident or DACA eligible.

    • Award Amount: $40,000

      Scholarship Deadline: December 14

      Details: The Edison Scholars Program offers $40,000 scholarships to 30 high school seniors planning on pursuing STEM degrees at 4-year colleges and universities. Must live in Edison's service territory in Southern California. 

    • Award Amount: $500 - $10,000

      Scholarship Deadline: December 31

      Details: FIRE’s Free Speech Essay Contest asks entrants to write an essay answering a prompt relating to the importance of the First Amendment in higher education.

       
    • Award Amount: $1,000

      Scholarship Deadline: December 31 (and June 30)

      Details: This scholarship is Access Scholarship's opportunity created just for high school students! Open to high school seniors, but also to students in grades 9-11. DACA/undocumented and international students are also eligible to apply. 

       
    • Award Amount: $2,500

      Scholarship Deadline: December 31

      Details: Apply in 4 easy steps: Go to www.cirkledin.com, create a free Cirkledin account, hit the “Apply Now” button, and tell us “What is one thing that, if it were in the Olympics, you would win gold in?”

    • Award Amount: up to $10,000

      Scholarship Deadline: N/A

      Details: ExploraVision is a perfect STEM learning project for virtual or in-person collaboration. Each project must include an abstract, description, bibliography, five sample Web pages, and submit online.

    • Award Amount: Varies (up to full-tuition)

      Scholarship Deadline: Varies 

      Details: Applicants must be a senior in a C-CAP designated partner high school in Arizona; Prince George’s County, Maryland; Tidewater, Virginia; or the cities of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, or Washington, DC. Applicants must be accepted into the cooking competition for scholarships. Check the CCAP website for local coordinator’s contact information. 

    • Award Amount: $10,000

      Scholarship Deadline: Varies by state

      Details: The United States Senate Youth Program is a scholarship for high school seniors (and juniors!) holding elected student offices. Two students are selected from each state.

    Scholarship Search and Application Tips for High School Seniors

    Look, I know that applying for scholarships is not always a smooth-sailing process. But, the fact that you've made it this far in the post and are taking the initiative to learn more about scholarships is a great start in itself!

    Here are a few quick tips to help you along your scholarship journey...

    1. Set goals for yourself along the way.

    I was a high school senior not too long ago, so I know exactly what it's like to have to create a balance between your schoolwork, extracurriculars, college applications, and scholarships. 

    It's not always an easy task, but that's why you should work on setting goals for yourself and creating a scholarship strategy

    Your goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic, Timely). Setting goals for things such as how much you are aiming to earn from scholarships and when you will set aside time to search and apply will help you to stay on track with what you want to achieve.

    2. Know where to look.

    If you're here and you're reading this, that means you know one great place to look! The Access Scholarships Search Engine is an awesome resource with tons of scholarships. But beyond Access Scholarships, be sure to...

    • Reach out to your school counselor to discuss some of the local scholarships that are out there for you to apply for
    • Head over to your state's financial aid website to learn more about their grants and resources 

    3. Apply often.

    Don't think of the scholarship process as one that you can engage in only once every few months and see success with.

    The scholarship process requires consistency and dedication. If you want to have the best chance at winning scholarships, you need to be dedicated to the process (creating a healthy mix of mostly essay scholarships with some no-essay scholarships is a good strategy) and put in the effort!

    4. Be organized, thorough, and on time.

    Lots of students find it helpful to organize their scholarship application and search process using a spreadsheet (virtual or physical). These are extremely useful because you can keep track of important deadlines, requirements for each scholarship, and more.

    TIP: Click here to view and download a copy of my own scholarship tracker so you can get organized for yourself!

    5. Think outside the box.

    I have provided you with a ton of great scholarships here in this post.

    In addition to these, don't be afraid to venture out to find scholarships that are specific to YOU in all aspects! This means thinking critically about your hobbies and interests, and passions outside of academics.

    It also means thinking about things that define who you are that you could potentially leverage in your scholarship search. For example, are you a soon-to-be first-generation college student?  Or maybe you're planning on pursuing a STEM degree? These are just two areas that you can identify and use to search for scholarships! 

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