10 scholarships for teens

By Tamara

There’s a college myth that has been floating around for years – scholarships are only for high school seniors or older. Wrong! If you were one of the students who bought into this myth, you know the frustration and stress associated with finding free money for college in just a few short months. There’s nothing worse than trying to cram in a bunch of scholarship essays on top of applying to colleges, taking college entrance exams, and trying to maintain your grade point average. It’s enough to make anyone throw up their hands and give up. In fact, savvy high school counselors and college prep advisers know that your college scholarship search should start the moment you enter high school, if not sooner. 

By starting your scholarship search earlier, you’ll be able to schedule a few hours each month to search and apply for awards. This will allow you more time to craft a well-written essay and application, which could result in more awards, not to mention reducing your stress levels. Many programs also allow you to apply each year, so if you don’t win on your first effort, try again! To get you started on your scholarship search, we’ve compiled a list of scholarships just for teens.

1. Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program

Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars offers several scholarships for students in grades 9-12. Awards are given out at the local, district, state, and national levels, with the overall winner receiving a $30,000 college scholarship. Students are not required to have a relative in the military to apply. Deadline: November 1, 2015.

2. AFA Teens Video Competition

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America offers both a $250 and $500 scholarship to students between the ages of 13 and 19. Students must submit a short video (under two minutes) that details the moment they learned something about themselves (in relation to the disease) or decided to become an Alzheimer activist. Deadline: December 1, 2015.

3. AFA Teens Essay Scholarship

If you're a high school senior who is planning on attending a four-year college or university then this scholarship is for you! In an effort to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease, the AFA is offering $5,000, $2,500, $1,000, and $500 scholarships. In order to be considered, you must submit an autobiography about how Alzheimer's has effected your life and the lives around you. Deadline: February 1, 2015


4. Make Me Laugh Scholarship

Have you ever had something embarrassing or hilarious happen to you? Simply submit a short essay (250 words or less) about the incident and make the scholarship committee LOL for your chance to win a $1,000 scholarship. Deadline: November 30, 2015.

5. FTF Teen Travel Writing Scholarship

Students in grades 8-12 may enter this writing competition by submitting a story about a trip with their family, sports team, or school group. The essay can be about a wonderful experience or something dreadful but funny, as long as it explains what they learned from the experience. A total of three scholarships will be awarded, ranging in value from $200 to $1,000. Deadline: September 14, 2015.

6. Patriot’s Pen Essay Writing Contest

For those who are getting a head start on their scholarship search, here’s an award specifically for students in the 6th-8th grade. Students must submit an essay (300-400 words) on the following topic: ‘What I Would Tell America’s Founding Fathers.' A total of 46 scholarships will be awarded, with the overall winner receiving $10,000 for college. Deadline: November 1, 2015.

7. Education Matters Scholarship

What would you say to someone who says an education doesn’t matter? If you are a student 13 years or older, submit your response (250 words or less) for a chance to win a $5,000 college scholarship. Deadline: November 30, 2015.

8. Youth Free Expression Film Contest

The National Coalition Against Censorship is offering a $1,000 cash prize and a $5,000 scholarship to the New York Film Academy. To enter, students must be 19 years or younger and must submit a 4-minute video on book censorship. Films may be submitted by an individual or teams. Deadline: December 14, 2015.

9. Chegg Monthly Scholarship

Chegg gives you tons of opportunities to win a $1,000 scholarship. Each month, they post a new scholarship essay question and you must respond in 280 characters (approximately three sentences) or less. If you don’t win this month, come back and try again! Any high school student is eligible to apply. Deadline: Varies.

10. Shout it Out Scholarship

Did you ever wish you could get everyone in the world to just stop and listen to you for one minute? If you could, what would you say to everyone? Submit your short response (250 words or less) and you might win a $1,500 college scholarship. Anyone 13 years or older may apply. Deadline: September 30, 2015.