By tamara In the world of scholarships, winning a full-ride or ‘Big Money’ scholarship is akin to capturing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Similar to that goose, finding and keeping one of these awards can be a little tricky. You have to know where to look and you have to possess the right ‘tools’ to win. Although many of the largest, most prestigious awards are merit-based, there are several programs that offer big rewards for other skills and talents, such as writing or artistic abilities. And surprisingly, not all of the programs are just for high school seniors; some cater to middle school students and non-traditional students. So, where are these elusive ‘Big Money’ awards? Grab your net and get ready, as we go on the hunt for scholarship programs that offer BIG rewards. 1. Patriot’s Pen Essay Writing Contest This contest, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), is open to U.S. students enrolled in grades six through eight. Students must submit a short essay on the current year’s topic to be considered for one of the forty-six (46) awards offered. The first place winner will receive a $10,000 award and an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. Deadline: November 1.2. Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) provides nearly $2.5 million in scholarships through this program. Awards are given out at the local, district, state and national level. U.S. students in grades nine through twelve are eligible to apply. One national winner will receive a $30,000 non-renewable scholarship. Deadline: November 1.3. Boettcher Scholarship Each year, the Boettcher Foundation provides 40 full-ride scholarships to rising Colorado high school seniors. Selection for the scholarship is merit-based, requiring an SAT score of 1200 or higher, or an ACT score of 27 or higher. Applicants must also rank in the top five percent of their graduating class. The scholarship covers tuition and fees, and each recipient will also receive a living stipend of $2,800 to help defray other costs. The total value of each scholarship (over four years) can range from $50,000 to more than $160,000. Deadline: November 1.4. $1 Million Dr. Pepper Giveaway This year, Dr. Pepper is giving away four $100,000 scholarships, four $20,000 scholarships and twelve $2,500 scholarships. Students (18 years or older), must ‘Like’ the Dr. Pepper Facebook page and submit a video explaining why they should receive tuition assistance. Finalists will be sent to each of the college championship bowl games (ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) and given the chance to throw footballs for a $100,000 scholarship. To be considered for the top prize, entries must be submitted no later than October 20. 5. Create-a-Greeting-Card Scholarship Any U.S. student, 14 years and older, may participate in this creative design contest. One winner will receive a $10,000 college scholarship and his/her school will also receive a $1,000 prize. Deadline: January 15. Looking for more ‘Big Money’ scholarships? Check out ScholarshipExperts.com. It’s fast, easy and free!