Scholarships for High School Sophomores in 2022

Introduction: scholarships for high school sophomores

It’s no secret that many of the scholarships out there for high school students are geared towards high school juniors and high school seniors. After all, juniors and seniors are rapidly approaching the start of college, an endeavor which is, all too often, not cheap! However, despite this being the case, there are still scholarships for high school sophomores who are eager to get started early with the process of finding free money for college. 

So, in this blog post, we dive into nearly two dozen awesome scholarship opportunities for high school sophomores. After highlighting those scholarships, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about scholarships and highlight some tips for applying before leaving you with a list of great reading resources to keep bookmarked as you make your way through your scholarship journey.

The list: 20+ scholarships for high school sophomores

Frequently asked questions about scholarships for high school sophomores

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is free money that you can apply for and earn to help you pay for your higher education.

Unlike other types of financial aid (aka, loans), money that you earn from scholarships doesn't ever need to be repaid!

Can high school sophomores even apply for scholarships?

While the pool of scholarship opportunities opens up significantly once you enter your junior year, there are still scholarships out there for high school sophomores to apply for!

A big benefit of starting the scholarship process as a sophomore is that, since you’re starting earlier than most, you can take your time in getting familiar with the world of scholarships (what you need to apply, where to find opportunities, how to write strong essays, etc!). This, in turn, will put you in a prime position to be a successful applicant for many of the bigger scholarships that are available for high school juniors and seniors. 

As a sophomore, where can I find scholarships to apply for?

In addition to this post, and the entire Access Scholarships platform (search engine, blog posts, scholarship directory), 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.

To learn about local opportunities, the best place to start is with your school counselor or your high school’s website. You can also find potential scholarship opportunities that are specific to you through 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 can I make my scholarship applications stand out?

One of the best 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. 

If writing scholarship essays is not something you feel confident with yet, don’t worry! Our blog post How To Write A Winning Scholarship Essay will give you everything you need to get things started on the right foot.

Tips for high school sophomores applying to scholarships

Get organized. The process of searching and applying for scholarships can get overwhelming, so to put yourself in the best position to succeed, you’ll want to get organized before diving in.

Use our scholarship tracker (feel free to make changes so it works for you!) to keep track of the opportunities you find and apply for. Create a folder on Google Drive or on your computer to house your tracker, application materials (transcripts, FAFSA information, etc) and essays.

Read ALL of the eligibility requirements before starting an application.

The last thing you want is to put all of your effort into applying for a specific scholarship, only to later discover that you aren’t actually eligible to apply! So, before you dive in, make sure you read through all of the eligibility requirements to double check that the opportunity is a good fit.

Look at rejections as opportunities for improvement -  If you’re applying for competitive scholarships (ones that are high in value or receive many applicants) this is something that you’ll probably experience once or twice! But hey, it happens to the best of us!

Rather than viewing rejections as failures, view them as opportunities to learn where you may have gone wrong and improve for next time. Our blog post How To Deal With Rejection has more tips on navigating this!

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