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 scholarships worth .

Louisiana Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Honors Award

This award is available to Louisiana high school students who are planning to attend a postsecondary institution in Louisiana. Students must have complete a required high school core curriculum with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and have an ACT score of 27 or higher (or the SAT equivalent).

Total: $800

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01, 2021

Iowa Tuition Grant

This award is available to Iowa students who are currently enrolled or planning to enroll in an undergraduate degree program at a private college or university in Iowa. Priority is given to applicants with the greatest financial need.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01, 2021

Iowa Vocational-Technical Tuition Grant

This award is available to Iowa students who are enrolled in vocational-technical or career option programs at Iowa community colleges. The student must demonstrate financial need.

Total: $1800

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01, 2021

Kate Allred Education Grant

This grant program is open to undergraduate students who reside in Forsyth County, North Carolina, and have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher. Students must have a family adjusted gross income up to 300 percent above the federal proverty guidelines.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01, 2021

NM Nursing Loan-For-Service

This award is for New Mexico residents who are enrolled at a public college or university in New Mexico. The student must be accepted into a into a Nursing program leading to a degree or certification and must declare intent to practice as a health professional in a designated shortage area in New Mexico.

Total: $12000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01, 2021

Louisiana Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Performance Award

This award is available to Louisiana high school students who are planning to attend a postsecondary institution in Louisiana. Students must have completed a required high school core curriculum with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and have an ACT score of 23 or higher (or the SAT equivalent).

Total: $400

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01, 2021

Arkansas Law Enforcement Officers’ Dependents Scholarship Program

This award is available to Arkansas residents who are attending an Arkansas state-supported college or university. The student must be the dependent or the spouse of an Arkansas resident who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty while working in a law enforcement or public service position.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01, 2021

New College of Florida Four Winds Award

This scholarship is available for U.S. and international students who plan to attend New College of Florida. The scholarship is guaranteed if the student applies by Feb. 15, and the amount of the award is based on the student’s high school grade point average and SAT/ACT scores.

Total: $12000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01, 2021

Jimmy and Sara Glenn Scholarship

This scholarship is open to residents of Forsyth County, NC, who will pursue a full-time undergraduate degree, certificate, or diploma from an accredited postsecondary institution. Students must have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher and demonstrate financial need.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01, 2021

Blitz Scholarship

This award is for U.S. and Canadian high school seniors or current college & university students who write a 800 to 1,000 word essay.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 01, 2021

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