Scholarships for High School Seniors

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It’s your final year of high school, and you’re ready to take on a new adventure. That’s college! As a high school senior, you still have hundreds of scholarship opportunities available to you. So, as you’re making plans on what college you want to attend and what major you want to study, be sure to add “applying for scholarships” to your college to do list.

What Types of Scholarships for High School Seniors Can You Apply For? 

Many college scholarships for high school seniors are usually based on financial need or merit. As long as you meet eligibility, you may apply. These criteria may include being a U.S. citizen, permanent resident and planning to attend an accredited four year college in the United States.

Need based scholarships are for qualifying high school seniors who have unmet financial need. Merit scholarships for high school seniors look at your academic achievements. So, eligible applicants usually need a good GPA, test scores and community service. 

Keep these two types of scholarship awards in mind. You may also use your major, minority status, gender, location or talent to broaden your scholarship search. To give you an idea, there’s the UNCF STEM Scholars Program. It is for African American high school seniors with a 3.0 GPA planning to study science, tech, engineering or math focused majors. 

In fact, if you take part in any extracurricular activities (e.g. Eagle Scout) use it to find scholarship programs to apply for. Sports scholarships and essay scholarships for high school seniors also may be available throughout the year.

These essay scholarships ask for a short essay on a prompted question. The Ayn Rand Fountainhead Essay Scholarship provides $500 to $5,000 to eligible 11th and 12th graders. Your essays must articulate and answer one of the three essay prompts based on Ayn Rand’s novel.

10 High School Senior Scholarships for 2021

We’ve created a short list of scholarships for high school seniors. Apply by the application deadline and make sure you meet all the eligibility requirements.

  1. American University National Achievement and National Merit Scholarship
  2. 5 Strong Scholarship
  3. Dell Scholars Program
  4. Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards 
  5. Fleet Reserve Association Essay Contest
  6. Elks National Foundation Legacy Awards
  7. Education Dynamics $10K Minority First Generation Scholarship Contest 
  8. PFLAG Flag Football Scholarship 
  9. AXA Achievement Scholarship
  10. AVA Care Medical Scholarship 

How Do You Find Scholarships for High School Seniors?

In order to find high school senior scholarships, you may want to look at local, state and national sources. Military, private organizations, and nonprofits may also provide scholarships for seniors. 

Local 

If you are starting with a local search, you may want to ask your high school counselor or see whether any student organization offer scholarships for high school seniors. Your place of worship, community center or local businesses may extend scholarships to eligible residents. 

Schools

During your senior year, you’re probably searching and applying to your perfect college. While you’re searching, you might contact the financial aid office of these prospective schools. Many may offer scholarships for college students once you are admitted. These tie to academic achievement and grade point average.

Military

Do you come from a military family or interested in pursuing a military career? There are a wide range of colleges that partner with ROTC programs. For example, ARMY ROTC scholarships are for high school students attending a four year college program. You may also serve on the Army full time. Some military awards could also be for children of active duty service member or Veterans. 

Scholarship Organizations

Do you have specific interests or a minority student? There are many professional organizations like The Elks that offer scholarships to high school students. You typically need to be an exclusive member. Many minority organizations like UNCF also fund scholarships to make higher education more affordable. 

Businesses and Nonprofits

Many businesses and non profits offer annual scholarships. These may be open to high school seniors who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree. You may also show qualities of leadership and advocate for a good cause. If your parent works for a big company, they may also offer scholarships as a benefit to employees’ dependents.

When Should High School Seniors Start Applying for Scholarships?

Depending on the scholarship’s application deadline, you may want to apply during the summer between your high school junior and senior year. That’s because some scholarships for seniors may have due dates one year before the start of college. So starting early gives you a chance to see what is out there, what you qualify for and acquire as much scholarship funding before college starts.

Is It Hard to Get a Scholarship as a High School Senior?

It may depend on the type of scholarship and if you meet eligibility requirements. Some scholarships have specific requirements for high school seniors, such as financial need or merit. Other scholarships may have large applicant pools which could increase the competition. There may also be scholarships through random drawings based on luck.

Many U.S. colleges typically award eligible college freshmen with academic scholarships each year. You tend to find out about these within your college admissions letter. If you have good grades and maintain a good academic standing, then you could be eligible for renewable awards each year.  

Putting grades aside, many middle and low income students may receive scholarships based on unmet financial need. As a rule, providers rely on the information from your FAFSA to figure out how much to award. You could file the FAFSA every year to make sure you receive enough financial aid to help pay for college. 

For other scholarship funds, the bigger the pool of applicants the more competition you may face. But don’t give up! Just take a break from longer applications by applying for easy and no essay scholarships for high school seniors. For many of these, you may enter for a chance to win or random drawing. Scholarships with no essay typically do not require a GPA, test scores or family income.

Scholarship Application Tips for High School Seniors

Set up your scholarship application for success with these 5 tips.

1. Start looking for college scholarships for high school seniors early.

This also familiarizes you with things providers look for. It may motivate you to study harder, join the National Honor Society, sports team or civic group. High school seniors who are student athletes or international students should also apply early.

2. Always read and follow directions. 

Many providers disqualify late and incomplete application. Follow the scholarship rules, word count, essay topic and don’t omit any required documents. 

3. If you qualify for a scholarship, apply. 

Even small sums may lessen the need to borrow student loans! Just take note of any terms and conditions like full time enrollment, grades, etc. 

4. Apply on time. 

Some providers may specify a deadline like 11:59PM EST. If you are on the pacific or central time zones, make sure to adjust your schedule. Check the providers’ social media for upcoming deadlines.

5. Gather references and letters of recommendation. 

Many scholarships providers ask for at least one recommender. It could be a teacher, mentor, employer, or coach. Cultivate a relationship and have one recommendation letter ready.

List of Scholarships for High School Seniors

Check out our list of 725,717 scholarships worth $2B.

Drummond Law Firm Scholarship

Drummond Law Firm offers a $1,000 scholarship. Eligible applicants must be high-school students currently in a JROTC or Boy Scout Explorer program that has been accepted to and will be attending a post-high school institution in the United States. Click here to learn more and apply today!

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: August 15, 2021

Future Leaders in Tech $20,000 Scholarship

If you’re a minority woman with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, in need of financial aid and are interested in studying technology, computer science or engineering, this scholarship is for you! Click to learn more and apply today!

Total: $20000

Awards: 1

Deadline: August 20, 2021

UA Fort Smith Chancellor’s Leadership Council Scholarship

This scholarship is available for U.S. high school seniors who plan to attend the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Students must have a grade point average of 3.25 or higher and an ACT composite score of 25 or higher (or the equivalent SAT score).

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: August 21, 2021

Niche Monthly Scholarship

This contest is available for U.S. and international high school and college students enrolled in a U.S. academic institution. To enter, applicants must only submit an entry form. All entries must be submitted online via the Niche website’s entry form.

Total: $24000

Awards: 12

Deadline: August 31, 2021

ScholarshipPoints $1,000 Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship drawing is open to legal residents of the United States. Students must plan to attend college at least half time during the academic year.

Total: $36000

Awards: 36

Deadline: August 31, 2021

Cappex Easy College Money Scholarship

The Cappex Easy College Money Scholarship is a recurring monthly scholarship. U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are currently enrolled in high school are eligible to apply for this scholarship. Enter to win the $1,000 Cappex easy college money scholarship. Click here to learn more and apply today!

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: August 31, 2021

Make Me Laugh Scholarship

The Make Me Laugh Scholarship, offered by UNIGO, is open to all U.S. students who are 14 and older and who are currently enrolled (or enroll no later than fall of 2025) in an accredited postsecondary institution of higher education. One scholarship winner will receive a $1,500 scholarship.

Total: $1500

Awards: 1

Deadline: August 31, 2021

Wavicle Data Analytics Scholarship

Wavicle Data Solutions is offering a $2,500 scholarship and eligibility for an internship with the company. Wavicle Data Solutions’ mission is to make smart people even smarter with the aid of data and analytics. Wavicle Data Solutions is continuously looking for ways to nurture employees and the future data scientists, analysts, and engineers who will drive innovation using data and analytics.

Total: $2500

Awards: 1

Deadline: August 31, 2021

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program – Florida Medallion Scholars Award (FMS)

This award is available to Florida high school seniors who plan to attend a college or university in Florida. Students must have a weighted grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and have a SAT score of 1170 or higher or an ACT score of 26 or higher (or meet other academic requirements). Students must have also completed at least 75 hours of community service.

Total: $1740

Awards: 1

Deadline: August 31, 2021

Niche No Essay Monthly Scholarship

Niche prides itself on helping students discover the schools and neighborhoods right for them.This scholarship is available for U.S. and international high school and college students enrolled in U.S. academic institutions. Applicants must apply online by creating a free account or logging in on the provider site.

Total: $24000

Awards: 12

Deadline: August 31, 2021

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