You're never too young for scholarships!
If you have been following my blog posts, you know that scholarships aren’t simply for high school seniors and current college students. There are many programs available to high school underclassmen, graduate schools, and even adults who are heading back to college or attending for the first time. But did you know that there are also ample opportunities for elementary and middle school students? It’s true! Unfortunately, due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), online scholarship search services are not available to students under the age of 13, which can make finding these opportunities a little more difficult. That’s why I felt it was important to share with you some of the programs that are currently open (and others that will be opening soon) for younger students.
Each year, Kohl’s provides several prizes and scholarships to students (ages 6 through 18) who have volunteered within the past year. One winner at each store receives a $50 gift card and advances to the regional level, where he/she competes for a $1,000 scholarship. Ten regional winners will be selected to receive an additional $10,000 national award. Deadline: March 15.
Students in grades 7 through 12 may compete in this creative writing contest. Students may submit up to three haikus, as long as the work has not been previously published or submitted in any other contest. Six winners will each receive $50. Deadline: March 25.
3. “I Want to Go to College” Writing Contest
This contest is open to Nebraska seventh and eighth graders. Winners will receive a contribution to their state-sponsored 529 college savings plan, ranging between $500 and $2,000 each. Deadline: March 28.
Any student in elementary, middle, or high school may submit their artwork for consideration. Students simply need to take the Google name and turn it into something creative that reflects this year’s theme. National finalists will each receive a $5,000 scholarship. The Grand Prize winner will receive a $30,000 scholarship and his/her school will also receive a $50,000 technology grant. Deadline: March (TBA).
Each year, the Barron Prize honors 25 outstanding students between the ages of 8 and 18. Students are recognized for their contributions to their community and the environment. The top 10 students will each receive a $5,000 scholarship. Deadline: April 15.
Students in grades 6 through 12 may submit a billboard, video, speech, essay, poem, song, or commercial based on Donna Labermeier’s book, The Healers, which is free to contestants. There are six scholarships, ranging in value from $500 to $2,500 each. Deadline: May 16.
Middle school and high school students who have exercised their First Amendment rights, despite difficulty or resistance, may be eligible to win a $5,000 scholarship through this contest sponsored by the Student Press Law Center, the Center for Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University, and the National Scholastic Press Association. Deadline: June 8.
This program, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), is open to students in grades 6 through 8. Students must submit an essay addressing this year’s topic, ‘Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.” Prizes are given to the top 40 students, ranging between $500 and $5,000 each. Deadline: Nov. 1.
Each fall, Jif™ sponsors a cooking contest for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Students must creative a main dish, side item, appetizer, or dessert using peanut butter as one of the ingredients. The contest typically opens in late August, so students can start working on their recipes now. One lucky winner will receive a $25,000 scholarship and four runners-up will each receive $4,000 for college. Deadline: November (TBA).
10. Angela Award
Female students in grades 5 through 8, who have an interest in science, may apply for this program. One winner will receive a $1,000 savings bond. Deadline: Nov. 30.
Each September, students in grades 7 through 12 can compete in 28 different categories, including, but not limited to: comic art, fashion, painting, photography, poetry, short story, journalism, and video games. More than $250,000 in scholarships is awarded annually. Deadline: Varies by region.
It’s never too early to start searching and applying for scholarships. Keep an eye out in your local paper or parenting magazines for writing contests and other opportunities, and don’t forget to check out Google and Facebook pages that offer advice for parents of younger children. These forums often post photo and essay contests that can help build your child’s college nest egg.