College Scholarships for
High School Students Awards for Students from Freshmen to Seniors

Meet the Expert

Dr. Chris Duzenbery

Director of college and career readiness at MSD of Decatur Township

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Erin Goodnow

Co-founder and CEO of Going Ivy

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Pam Andrews

CEO of The Scholarship Shark

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Written by...

Kenya McCullum Read bio

It’s never too early for high school students to start thinking about college—and how they will be able to pay for their education. Although some students may think they have to wait until they begin applying to colleges to start competing for scholarships, that is not the case. This guide provides information on scholarships that can be won by high school students at any level, as well as advice from experts on how to win these awards.

41 College Scholarships for High School Students

From freshmen to seniors, high school students can find many kinds of scholarships to pay for college. This section provides some of the awards out there that these students can secure while they are still attending high school.

Sponsoring Organization: Association for Women in Mathematics
Application Deadline: Late January

In order to be considered for this award, applicants must interview a woman in a mathematics career and write an essay based on that conversation. Entries should be between 500 and 1,000 words. In addition to receiving this prize, winners will have their essay published on AWM’s web site.

Sponsoring Organization: The BMI Foundation
Application Deadline: Varies

Students can win this award by composing an original piece of music and submitting an audio recording of it. People who enter must be studying music at the time they submit their application.

Sponsoring Organization: Potential Magazine
Application Deadline: Early January

Students will be automatically entered to win this scholarship by signing up for Potential Magazine’s free weekly newsletter. The award is available to high school students in any grade.

Sponsoring Organization: CouponChief.com
Application Deadline: Late July

In order to apply for this award, high school students should submit a video discussing ideas on how to save money. Videos should be around two- to five-minutes long.

Sponsoring Organization: Impact Teen Drivers
Application Deadline: Early October

To be considered for this scholarship, high school students must submit a video, essay, or song that addresses solutions for reckless driving. There are separate awards for those who provide submissions in American Sign Language or Spanish.

Sponsoring Organization: Denny's
Application Deadline: Varies

Students who apply for this scholarship submit a 300-word essay on what Denny's can do to help fight childhood hunger in their local community. Applicants are required to have at least a 2.50 grade point average.

Sponsoring Organization: Unigo
Application Deadline: Late July

When applying for this scholarship, people are required to write an essay describing what flavor of ice cream they would be and why. Students must be at least 13 years old in order to apply.

Sponsoring Organization: Golden Eagle Coins
Application Deadline: Mid-July

This scholarship requires applicants to design an innovative project that is designed to help the community, such as an app, blog series, fundraiser, or website. Students must have at least a 3.0 grade point average.

Sponsoring Organization: Arkansas Access to Justice
Application Deadline: Early October

Students enrolled in a high school in Arkansas can apply for this scholarship by writing a piece of fiction that discusses how having access to justice impacts the lives of children. Entries should be no more than 3,000 words long.

Sponsoring Organization: International Bipolar Foundation
Application Deadline: Early November

This award is available to students 13 to 19 years old who write an essay about the stigma related to bipolar disorder. Entries must be between 500 and 1,000 words long.

Sponsoring Organization: Jane Austen Society of North America
Application Deadline: Mid-May

Students can win this scholarship by submitting an essay about the topic chosen by the organization. High school students at any level, including those who are home schooled, are eligible to enter.

Sponsoring Organization: The Critical Pass Review
Application Deadline: Early September

To help students foster an interested in poetry, this scholarship recognizes upcoming poets with the Critical Junior Poet’s Award. Students can apply for this scholarship by submitting original poetry. Applicants must be 13 to 18 years old.

Sponsoring Organization: Unigo
Application Deadline: Late August

Students can win this award by tickling the scholarship grantor’s funny bone. Applicants must write a funny story, which can be fact or fiction, to make the staff at Unigo laugh.

Sponsoring Organization: Operation Homefront
Application Deadline: Varies

Children from military families who are 13 to 18 years old are eligible to apply for this award. Students must demonstrate leadership qualities and involvement in their community.

Sponsoring Organization: Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs
Application Deadline: Mid- June

Students compete for this award by submitting a creative project—such as a film, poem, or piece of music—addressing the theme of oceans in the changing climate. In order to be considered, students should be between the ages of 11 and 18.

Sponsoring Organization: Optimist International
Application Deadline: Late February

People can apply for this award by writing an essay answering the question "Can Society Function Without Respect?" Applicants must be under 18 years old in order to compete for the award.

Sponsoring Organization: Scholarship Detective
Application Deadline: Scholarship Detective

High school students can apply for the scholarship by completing a short application and explaining what they will do with the funds in a 140-character message. Students can enter the competition once every seven days.

Sponsoring Organization: Conserve Wildlife Foundation
Application Deadline: Mid-May

High school students in New Jersey can apply for this scholarship by formulating a social media campaign that highlights the importance of protecting the state’s wildlife. All of those who enter will get the opportunity to spend the day with a wildlife biologist.

Sponsoring Organization: Anthony Muñoz Foundation
Application Deadline: Late February

Ambitious high school students who have overcome adversity, are active in their community, and demonstrate academic and athletic excellence can receive this scholarship. To enter, students must be located in Kentucky, Indiana, or Ohio.

Sponsoring Organization: Unigo
Application Deadline: Late March

Students can win this scholarship by writing an essay about which villain or superhero they would be if given the chance. Students who are at least 13 years old are eligible to apply.

Sponsoring Organization: Digital Responsibility
Application Deadline: Late January

When students initially apply to this scholarship from Digital Responsibility, they are required to submit a 140-character message that deals with addiction to technology. Ten students chosen by the organization will then become finalists and be expected to write an essay about technology addiction.

Sponsoring Organization: The James Alan Cox Foundation for Student Photojournalists
Application Deadline: Mid-November

Applicants for this scholarship should submit photographs that tell a story, such as a sporting event moment or a breaking news story. Students can also submit videos to support their application.

Sponsoring Organization: Unigo
Application Deadline: Late December

Students who apply for this scholarship are required to write an essay with the top ten reasons why they should win the award. Applicants should be 13 years old and older.

Sponsoring Organization: Unigo
Application Deadline: Late March

Students who are at least 13 years old can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must write an essay of no more than 250 words on the topic, "Imagine a historical figure is brought back to life. Who is it? What's their favorite mobile app?"

Sponsoring Organization: Walgreens
Application Deadline: Late November

This scholarship is available to students in the St. Louis and Chicago areas. Applicants should submit a creative piece—which could be a piece of writing, media arts, or visual arts—that expresses their feelings about STD prevention, sexting, self-esteem, teen pregnancy, or bullying.

Sponsoring Organization: American College Foundation
Application Deadline: Early May

Students can win this scholarship by writing a 500-word essay on why college is important to them. Applicants are judged based on writing mechanics and originality.

Sponsoring Organization: One Earth Film Festival
Application Deadline: Mid-January

Those who apply to this scholarship are expected to create a short film that focuses on one of the following themes: energy, water, food, transportation, open space and ecosystems, and waste. Entries should be between three and eight minutes long.

Sponsoring Organization: North American International Auto Show
Application Deadline: Mid-November

In order to win this award, students should submit an 18" x 24" poster that has an automotive theme. Students should be Michigan residents in the 10th through 12th grades.

Sponsoring Organization: National Science Teachers Association
Application Deadline: Early February

Entering this scholarship competition entails submitting a STEM-related project. Students in the 10th through 12th grades are eligible to participate.

Sponsoring Organization: Michigan Auto Law
Application Deadline: Late August

Michigan students in the 11th and 12th grades can apply for this scholarship by submitting a message designed to dissuade teenagers from distracted driving. Applicants are expected to have a valid Michigan driver’s license.

Sponsoring Organization: North American International Auto Show
Application Deadline: Mid-November

In order to win this award, students should submit an 18" x 24" poster that has an automotive theme. Students should be Michigan residents in the 10th through 12th grades.

Sponsoring Organization: Penguin Random House
Application Deadline: Mid-April

This essay contest is open to high school juniors and seniors. Topics applicants should write about are announced on Penguin Random House’s website.

Sponsoring Organization: National Genealogical Society
Application Deadline: Mid-December

Students between 13 and 18 years of age can apply for this award by submitting a genealogical project. Winners will be presented with their award at a banquet organized by the NGS.

Sponsoring Organization: House of Blues Music Forward Foundation
Application Deadline: Late March

Students who apply for this scholarship offered by the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation are required to write one essay describing an innovative idea to help improve customer service in the live entertainment industry and another essay discussing how the award will help them achieve their long-term career goals. Applicants should be interested in pursuing a career in the live entertainment field and have a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

Sponsoring Organization: National Science Teachers Association
Application Deadline: Early February

Entering this scholarship competition entails submitting a STEM-related project. Students in the 10th through 12th grades are eligible to participate.

Sponsoring Organization: Niche.com Inc.
Application Deadline: Mid-July

In order to apply for this scholarship, students are required to create a free account on Niche.com. Funds can be used to cover education-related expenses like tuition, books, and housing. Students are able to apply once a month and a new winner will be randomly selected each month.

Sponsoring Organization: Hach & Rose, LLP
Application Deadline: Mid-May

Applicants of this award are required to write an essay based on the following prompt: “Your life was touched in some manner by an individual who was hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Tell us how the event impacted your life, and what you learned or how you have grown as a result.” Students must be graduating high school seniors to apply. When they send their application, people must include proof of enrollment at a college or university.

Sponsoring Organization: The Actuarial Foundation
Application Deadline: Early May

The Actuarial Foundation provides this scholarship to minority students who are interested in entering the actuarial field. Students should be of Native American, Hispanic, African American, or Pacific Islander descent and have at least a 3.0 grade point average. In addition, a minimum score of 600 on the math section of the SAT is required to be considered for this scholarship.

Sponsoring Organization: United States Bowling Congress
Application Deadline: Early December

Female 12th graders who are members of a bowling team on the national, local, or regional levels can win this scholarship. Applicants should submit an essay and provide two letters of reference. In addition, students must demonstrate civic involvement and academic achievement.

Sponsoring Organization: Michigan Auto Law
Application Deadline: Late August

Michigan students in the 11th and 12th grades can apply for this scholarship by submitting a message designed to dissuade teenagers from distracted driving. Applicants are expected to have a valid Michigan driver’s license.

Sponsoring Organization: Live Out Loud
Application Deadline: Early March

Students who are in the LGBTQ community can be considered for this scholarship by submitting proof of participation in leadership activities and academic scholarship. Applicants should be located in New Jersey, Connecticut, or New York.

Sponsoring Organization: North American International Auto Show
Application Deadline: Mid-November

In order to win this award, students should submit an 18" x 24" poster that has an automotive theme. Students should be Michigan residents in the 10th through 12th grades.

Sponsoring Organization: Automated Pet Care Products
Application Deadline: Mid- September

Applicants to this scholarship are required to write a 400-word essay describing an innovative idea for a pet product. Graduating high school seniors who can verify their acceptance to college are eligible to win.

Sponsoring Organization: National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco
Application Deadline: Mid-May

High school seniors who have demonstrated leadership and commitment to fighting AIDS can win this award. Applications should include an essay, high school transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

Sponsoring Organization: Penguin Random House
Application Deadline: Mid-April

This essay contest is open to high school juniors and seniors. Topics applicants should write about are announced on Penguin Random House’s website.

Sponsoring Organization: Profisee
Application Deadline: Early November

Students who are interested in studying computer engineering or management information systems can win this scholarship. Applicants must submit a 500-word essay explaining why MIS and computer engineering are important for businesses.

Sponsoring Organization: National Genealogical Society
Application Deadline: Mid-December

Students between 13 and 18 years of age can apply for this award by submitting a genealogical project. Winners will be presented with their award at a banquet organized by the NGS.

Sponsoring Organization: House of Blues Music Forward Foundation
Application Deadline: Late March

Students who apply for this scholarship offered by the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation are required to write one essay describing an innovative idea to help improve customer service in the live entertainment industry and another essay discussing how the award will help them achieve their long-term career goals. Applicants should be interested in pursuing a career in the live entertainment field and have a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

Sponsoring Organization: National Science Teachers Association
Application Deadline: Early February

Entering this scholarship competition entails submitting a STEM-related project. Students in the 10th through 12th grades are eligible to participate.

Expert Tips for Success: How to Best Secure Awards for College

Just as with college applications, students want to prepare scholarship applications that will increase their chances of winning as many awards as they can. In order to help high school students bolster their chances of getting scholarships, this section includes advice from three experts: Dr. Chris Duzenbery, Director of College and Career Readiness at MSD of Decatur Township Schools; Erin Goodnow, Co-Founder and CEO of Going Ivy; and Pam Andrews, CEO of The Scholarship Shark.

What can high school students expect when applying for scholarships?

Duzenbery High school students can expect a lengthy process, as it is not a “one and done” process. Students will have to regularly research scholarships and a variety of resource sites to find the right fit. When applying for scholarships, students need to be prepared to provide academic information, extracurricular participation, community service and engagement, and additional information that demonstrates why they should be awarded this scholarship opportunity.

How much time should high school students devote to applying for college scholarships?

Goodnow Make it your job to apply to colleges and scholarships from August through November. Many colleges only consider students who apply by the Early Action or priority deadline for merit scholarships. So get those applications in early! Scholarships that require separate essays will of course require more time. But luckily, many of the scholarship essays are going to be quite similar to other essays you’ll have to write for colleges anyway, so you can be more efficient with your time and effort. Spend at least an hour a week researching new scholarships and then apply to the ones you are in a good position to get. Some scholarships are for full tuition, and they’ll likely require more to apply. Others are for $500, and it might be pretty easy to get that. Be strategic about your time and effort.

How can high school students plan their classes and activities in order to make themselves more attractive to those granting college scholarships?

Andrews College is like a restaurant: Orders are taken, and the person that orders first gets their food sooner than the one who ordered second. If possible, if you want to be considered for certain awards, it is important to prepare beforehand. Things that can make you an attractive candidate include volunteer or community service, strong test scores or GPA, extracurricular activities (music, sports, etc.), and early applications (showing interest in a school/program early demonstrates your desire to be involved).

What are some tips high school students can use to increase their chances of getting a scholarship?

Goodnow Apply early! Many schools will automatically consider you for a scholarship so long as you apply early. Organize your materials, whether they are artistic, musical, video, athletic, academic, or philanthropic. Put your full effort into getting free money—it won’t be easy, but if you prove that you are worth it, colleges won’t want to let you go.

What mistakes do high school students make when applying for scholarships?

Duzenbery The most common mistake is waiting until the end of their senior year to start the search and application process. In order to take advantage of the most scholarship opportunities, the actual application process needs to begin no later than the start of the school year because there are many scholarships that have early fall deadlines.

Another common mistake is not applying for all scholarships for which they qualify. Some students feel that something as small as a $100 scholarship is not worth the time and effort to complete the application and they leave the money on the table because they dismiss the opportunity. Small scholarships add up and can easily defray the cost of textbooks. Additionally, some students do not take the time to draft a well-written essay that can be easily modified to address the prompt for individual scholarships.

What are the most important things that high school students should keep in mind when applying for scholarships?

Andrews While it may seem like there is only one scholarship on the totem pole, in reality, the world is full of opportunities and organizations looking for students like you. No matter what your interests, somewhere there are awards that are granted for that talent. Therefore, no matter how small, treat every financial award as an opportunity.

Additional Scholarships & Resources for High Schoolers

High school students need as much information about funding opportunities as possible in order to lower their potential student loan costs. Below are additional resources that students can use in order to find scholarships, as well as go through the college application process.

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