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 .

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Global Delegate Scholarship

The number of awards offered varies annually and is dependent on the number of eligible students.

Total: $16000

Awards: 10

Deadline: July 15, 2021

Tennessee Dependent Children Scholarship Program

This award is available for Tennessee resident students who are planning to attend a Tennessee public or private college or university. Students must be the dependent child of a Tennessee law enforcement officer, fireman, or an emergency medical service technician who has been killed or totally and permanently disabled due to an incident that occurred in the line of duty while employed in Tennessee.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 15, 2021

Edward T. and Mary A. Conroy Memorial & Jean. B. Cryor Memorial Scholarship Program

This award is available to Maryland students who are planning to enroll at a two-year or four-year Maryland college or university. The student must be a: dependent of a deceased or disabled veteran; disabled veteran; dependent of a victim of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; veteran or dependent of a veteran who was declared POW/MIA in Vietnam; dependent of a deceased or disabled state/local public safety employee/volunteer; deceased or disabled state/local public safety employee/volunteer; or dependent of a school employee who died or was disabled in the line of duty.

Total: $6143

Awards: 140

Deadline: July 15, 2021

Greene County Single Parent Scholarship

Single Parent Scholarships are awarded to eligible single parents who are residents of Greene County, Arkansas. The applicant must have a grade point average of 2.0 or better and apply for a Pell Grant to be eligible for this award.

Total: $4000

Awards: 11

Deadline: July 15, 2021

AIChE Minority Scholarship Award for Incoming Freshmen

International and U.S. high school seniors who are AIChE members planning to pursue a science or engineering major are eligible for this award. Students must be part of a minority group, enroll full time, and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Total: $15000

Awards: 15

Deadline: July 15, 2021

Accenture American Indian Undergraduate Scholarship

This award is for U.S. high school seniors who are pursuing a degree in various fields of engineering, computer science, operations management, management, finance, marketing, and other business-oriented fields. The student must be of Native American or Alaska Native descent and have a grade point average of 3.25 or higher.

Total: $2500

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 15, 2021

McMurry University Trustee Honors Scholarship

The McMurry University Honors Program is a four-year honors track. The Trustee Honors Scholarship entails acceptance to and participation in the Honors Program; July 15 application deadline; awarded in addition to a McMurry Transfer Award. The scholarship requires full time enrollment. Annual amount is awarded by semester.

Total: $36000

Awards: 3

Deadline: July 15, 2021

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Global Laureate Scholarship

International graduating high school seniors who demonstrate academic achievement and plan to attend the University of Nebraska at Lincoln are eligible for this award.

Total: $45000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 15, 2021

The 2021 Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers Focused Driver Scholarship

To be eligible for The 2021 Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers Focused Driver Scholarship, applicants must submit their completed application (contact information, essay, transcript(s), and resume) by e-mail to [email protected] All applications must have a subject line that reads: “[Applicant’s First and Last Name] – Focused Driver Scholarship”. Submissions without this subject line will not be considered. The deadline for all application materials is July 15, 2021.

Total: $2000

Awards: 1

Deadline: July 15, 2021

One Planet Many People Video Contest

Population Media Center (PMC), an international nonprofit organization, is rewarding students who submit a winning short video (60 seconds or less) that explores how a growing human population may cause problems for humanity and our planet.

Total: $20000

Awards: 16

Deadline: July 15, 2021

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