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how to find scholarships for high school seniors

Introduction to Scholarships for High School Seniors

If you’re a high school senior, then first off, congratulations! You’re now in your fourth and final year of high school, which means a few different things… First, you’re one step closer to becoming a college student – woohoo! Second, you’re now officially able to start applying for scholarships for high school seniors. 

Scholarships are an AMAZING way to help you pay for college because the money you earn through scholarships does not ever need to be repaid.

Despite this, most students make the mistake of waiting to apply for scholarships until the very end of their senior year in high school, if not later, and miss out on so many great opportunities. 

To ensure maximum success, I suggest starting as early in the year as possible.

However, even if you’re a little late to the game, luckily there are scholarships for high school seniors that are open and running throughout the entirety of the school year, and even into the summer after you graduate.

If you’re completely new (or even relatively new) to the scholarship space, that’s okay! I know from experience that the process of finding and applying for scholarships can be an overwhelming one. 

That’s why, in this post, I have gathered some awesome scholarships for high school seniors that you can search through and apply for to get you started. 

Scholarships for High School Seniors

But first…some frequently asked questions about scholarships for high school seniors

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is, to put it simply, free money that you can earn to put towards paying for college.

Unlike other types of financial aid (aka, loans), money that you earn from scholarships doesn’t ever need to be repaid, which is what makes it so awesome. 

I’m a high school senior. Is it too late for me to start applying for scholarships?

Nope, not at all! In fact, you’re in a prime position when it comes to applying for scholarships because not only can you apply for scholarships that are open to high school students, but you can also begin to prepare for scholarships that are open to college students.

By starting the process as a senior in high school, you can get fully acquainted and comfortable with what it entails, so that once you get onto campus in the fall, you know exactly what you have to do to secure the bag! 

Where can I find scholarships to apply for?

In addition to Access Scholarships, there are tons of other places and resources you can check out to help you search and apply for scholarships. 

You’ll want to start by heading over to the website(s) run by your state that outline state-based financial aid and scholarship opportunities. 

Then, you’ll want to reach out to your school counselor (and do research on Google) to learn about local scholarships that you can apply for. 

Another more unique way to find potential scholarship opportunities that are specific to you is actually through utilizing social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, even Pinterest!). You can follow hashtags on Instagram such as #TexasScholarships (if you live in Texas) so that anytime an organization posts a relevant scholarship with that hashtag, you can see it and apply if you’re interested!  

How do I make my applications stand out?

Great question! One of the main ways that you can stand out through your application is through the extra requirements that you submit.

Whether it’s an essay, a video, letters of recommendation, or other additional submissions, these are all places where you will want to dedicate extra time and effort to make sure that what you’re sending in is authentically YOU, unique, eye-catching, and memorable. 

How can I balance applying for scholarships with my schoolwork AND college applications?

As a senior, I know that you must have a lot on your plate that you’re trying to balance. My number one tip to get it all done (and be as successful as possible in the process) is to set goals AND stay organized – more on this in the tips section below the scholarships!

Easy Rolling Scholarships for High School Seniors 

  • Scholarship Points $2,500 ScholarshipAward Amount: $2,500Scholarship Deadline: MonthlyDetails: Each quarter of the year, Scholarship Points awards one $2,500 scholarship to a lucky student – enter each month for a greater chance at winning!
  • Smart Owl No-Essay ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000 (4 awards)Scholarship Deadline: 28th or 29th of each monthDetails: The Smart Owl Scholarship by Scholarship Owl is a monthly scholarship open to all high school and college students ages 16+. Must be a US citizen/permanent resident to apply!
  • Nitro College ScholarshipAward Amount: $2,000Scholarship Deadline: End of every monthDetails: Nitro offers a $2,000 scholarship every month, open to high school seniors and current college students. To be considered, all you need to do is fill out the application form on their website.
  • Niche $2,000 ScholarshipAward Amount: $2,000Scholarship Deadline: MonthlyDetails:The Niche $2,000 No Essay Scholarship is open to high school seniors and is awarded monthly. 
  • Big Future Scholarships (up to $40,000)Amount: $500 – $40,000Deadline: MonthlyEligibility: Open to high school students who are US residents. Complete steps to plan for life after high school to be entered into monthly scholarship opportunities – no essays required! 
  • CampusReel $2,000 ScholarshipAward Amount: $2,000Scholarship Deadline: MonthlyDetails:The CampusReel No Essay Scholarship is awarded monthly and all you have to do is sign up on their website. It’s that easy!
  • Aspire $1,000 ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000 Scholarship Deadline: September 30Details: The Aspire Scholarship (sponsored by Access Scholarships & CollegeVine) is an easy scholarship open to all high school students. No essay required (just a short response!).
  • CollegExpress Monthly ScholarshipAward Amount: Varies, but usually $1,000 – $2,500Scholarship Deadline: Last day of each monthDetails: CollegExpress offers a monthly scholarship for high school seniors and students of other years in school. What’s great is that when you enter for their monthly scholarship, you will also be automatically entered for their $10,000 scholarship!
  • Ascent $1,000 Weekly ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000 Scholarship Deadline: WeeklyDetails: Open to all students 18+.   For the next 10 weeks, Ascent be giving away a $1,000 scholarship and other giveaway items!  Just register and follow them on Instagram to enter!
  • Christian Connector ScholarshipAward Amount: $2,500Scholarship Deadline: MonthlyDetails: The Christian Connector Scholarship is a scholarship for high school seniors (and juniors!) who are interested in or planning to enroll in a Christian college or university
  • Cappex Easy Money ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: RollingDetails: The Cappex Easy Money Scholarship is open to all students – no minimum GPA or essay required.
  • Be Bold ScholarshipAward Amount: $25,000Scholarship Deadline: Rolling monthlyDetails: The $25,000 “Be Bold” Scholarship is a no-essay scholarship that will be awarded to the applicant with the boldest profile.
  • Too Cool to Pay for School ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: Quarterly (Last day of the month in September, December, March, and June)Details: The Too Cool to Pay for School Scholarship is our own contribution to helping students fund their higher education. Simply fill in some easy info about yourself and you’re entered to win!
  • No-Essay SurveysAward Amount: $VariesScholarship Deadline: Rolling monthlyDetails: Not a scholarship, but if you’re looking to make a few extra bucks this upcoming semester, sign up to take surveys 

Scholarships for High School Seniors by Deadline Month

  • Perseverance Is Key ScholarshipAward Amount: $4,000 (4 awards, $1,000 each)Scholarship Deadline: December 15Details:-Open to high school and college students of all years studying in the US-No transcript required to apply!-Special consideration will be given to minority students, students who have experienced foster care, and students who are or will be the first in their family to attend college
  • Sack the Stigma ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: December 31Details:-Open to high school students of all years studying in the US-No transcript required to apply!
  • GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship ProgramAward Amount: $10,000 – renewable for up to 4 yearsScholarship Deadline: January 5Details: The GE Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program honors the legacy and character of our nation’s 40th President. It rewards college-bound students who demonstrate exemplary leadership (in their community and through extracurricular activities), drive, integrity, and citizenship with financial assistance to pursue higher education.
  • Ron Brown Scholars ProgramAward Amount: $40,000Scholarship Deadline: January 9Details: RBSP competitively awards 45 – 50 four-year $40,000 scholarships ($10,000 each year) to the most talented and economically-challenged high school seniors who demonstrate a keen interest in public service, community engagement, business entrepreneurship and global citizenship.Applicants for the Ron Brown Scholarship MUST be Black/African American, US citizens or permanent residents, and a current high school senior at the time of their application.
  • Live Más ScholarshipAward Amount: $5,000 – $25,000Scholarship Deadline: January 11Details: The Live Más Scholarship is Taco Bell’s contribution to helping students achieve their higher education goals. To apply, students must submit a video telling the story of their real, true passion. 
  • Profile in Courage Essay ContestAward Amount: $500 – $3,000Scholarship Deadline: January 15Details: The Profile in Courage Essay Contest is open to all high school students. Essays will be judged on the overall originality of the topic and the clear communication of ideas through language.
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation Women in STEM ScholarshipAward Amount: $7,500Scholarship Deadline: January 18Details: Open to female-identifying high school seniors, undergraduate, and graduate school students pursuing non-medical STEM-related degrees.
  • Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship ProgramAward Amount: $40,000Scholarship Deadline: January 20Details: A serious 2-for-1 scholarship for high school students interested in computer science. Win $40,000 for college AND a paid programming internship at Amazon. Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of academic performance, experience with computer science, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, work experience, short answer responses, unusual personal or family circumstances, financial need, racial/ethnic/gender diversity, and an educator appraisal, preferred to be completed by a computer science teacher.
  • Foot Locker Scholar Athletes ProgramAward Amount: $20,000Scholarship Deadline: January 30Details: The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes program honors student-athletes who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and strong leadership skills in sports, in their schools, and within their communities.
  • College Monk Short Essay ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,500Scholarship Deadline: January 31Details: The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to graduating high school seniors and college students pursuing undergraduate degrees who are planning to attend or currently attending accredited institutions in the US.
  • Jet Future Business Leaders ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: January 31Details: This scholarship is for graduating high school seniors and currently enrolled college students who are interested in pursuing a career in business.
  • Technology Addiction Awareness ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: January 31Details: The Technology Addiction Awareness Scholarship is designed to help you understand the negative effects that technology and too much screen time can have on our lives. Open to high school students of all years. 
  • EngineerGirl Essay ContestAward Amount: $500Scholarship Deadline: February 1Details: The EngineerGirl Essay Contest is open to all high school students (not just women!), and asks for an essay discussing the vital contribution of engineers in responding to the pandemic.
  • Columbus Citizens Foundation College Scholarship ProgramAward Amount: VariesScholarship Deadline: February 1Details: The Columbus Citizens Foundation administers scholarship programs that help hundreds of students every year in elementary school, high school, college, and medical school, and graduate programs in the arts.  
  • Jackie Robinson Scholars ProgramAward Amount: Up to $30,000Scholarship Deadline: February 1Details: Scholarship for students accepted to accredited four-year colleges or universities. Must be a minority student, United States citizen, involved in community service and demonstrate leadership potential and financial need.
  • McDonald’s HACER ScholarshipAward Amount: Up to $25,000Scholarship Deadline: February 3Details: Open to high school seniors who have at least one parent with Hispanic heritage. Must be a US resident planning to attend a two or four-year college or university. Minimum 2.8 GPA.
  • Elks National Foundation Legacy Awards ScholarshipAward Amount: $4,000Scholarship Deadline: February 5Details: $4,000 four-year scholarships available for children and grandchildren of Elks in good standing. Parent or grandparent must have been an Elk for two years and continue to be a member in good standing. Must be high school senior and apply through the related member’s Elks Lodge.
  • Americanism Essay ScholarshipAward Amount: $100 – $1,200Scholarship Deadline: First Friday in FebruaryDetails: The Americanism Essay Scholarship is open to Illinois high school students and requires an essay on Americanism and good citizenship.
  • AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College ScholarshipAward Amount: $5,000Scholarship Deadline: February 15Details: AFA’s Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest is an annual competition for college-bound students.  Applicants are asked to write a 1,200 to 1,500-word essay that describes the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on themselves, their families or their communities, and what they have learned in light of coping with the brain disorder.
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund ScholarshipAward Amount: up to $5,000Scholarship Deadline: February 14Details: Merit-based awards for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, eligible non-citizens, or DACA students of Hispanic heritage with plans to enroll full time in an accredited U.S. 4-year university in the upcoming academic year (can be a high school senior, current undergraduate student, community college transfer, or graduate student). 
  • The Vegetarian Resource Group ScholarshipAward Amount: $10,000Scholarship Deadline: February 20Details: Three scholarships (one $10,000; two $5,000) will be awarded to graduating U.S. high school students who promoted vegetarianism (includes veganism) in their schools and/or communities. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or fowl. Applicants will be judged on a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegetarian diet/lifestyle.
  • Bridging the Dream Scholarship ProgramAward Amount: $10,000Scholarship Deadline: February 28Details: The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and The Sallie Mae Fund are proud to offer financial assistance to outstanding students. Twenty-five (25) students completing a two-year, four-year, or trade/vocational certificate/certification program will be selected to receive a scholarship of up to $10,000.
  • Scholars Helping Collars ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,500Scholarship Deadline: February 28Details: P.L.A.Y knows there are plenty of young minds out there that are passionate about helping animals in need. In an effort to encourage students and promote this cause, P.L.A.Y. will be awarding a $1,500 scholarship to a graduating high school student who best exemplifies their core beliefs.
  • Engebretson Foundation ScholarshipAward Amount: $5,000/semesterScholarship Deadline: March 1Details:This need-based scholarship is pretty straightforward: it’s awarded to one student each year who demonstrates not only financial need but also impressive academic performance and leadership ability.
  • Horatio Alger National ScholarshipsAward Amount: $25,000Scholarship Deadline: March 8Details: The Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program is one of the major scholarship programs nationally that specifically assists high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives. Open to US high school students with critical financial need. Minimum 2.0 GPA.
  • Executive Women International Scholarship ProgramAward Amount: VariesScholarship Deadline: March 26Details: To qualify for the scholarship, a student must be nominated by his/her school counselor or administrator. Students apply and compete at the local Chapter for up to $10,000 in scholarships. The first-place winner from each Chapter will then be submitted to the Corporate level for the opportunity to win the Corporate Scholarship.
  • AFSA High School Scholarship ContestAward Amount: $2,000Scholarship Deadline: April 1Details: Open to current high school seniors who want to pursue a college degree or trade school education. Enter for the chance to win one of ten college scholarships.
  • Fountainhead Essay ContestAward Amount: $500 – $1,000Scholarship Deadline: April 29Details: The Fountainhead Essay Contest is for high school juniors and seniors and has three essay prompt options.
  • E-Waste ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: April 30Details: The E-Waste Scholarship, sponsored by Digital Responsibility, challenges students to learn about the impact of e-waste and what can be done to minimize it.
  • RealtyHop ScholarshipAward Amount: $2,000Scholarship Deadlines: April 30, August 31The RealtyHop Scholarship awards up to $2,000 a year to eligible undergraduate students and high school seniors working towards a bachelor and/or associate degree program in the US who demonstrate the ambition, diligence, leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit that is central to our company culture.
  • Rover Scholarship ContestAward Amount: $2,500Scholarship Deadline: May 1Details: Higher education: that magical time when deadlines are tight and budgets are tighter. Rover would like to help fund your education. Just write a 400-500 word essay for your chance to win $2,500!
  • Visionary ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000 – $5,000Scholarship Deadline: May 1Details: The American College Foundation (ACF) offers the annual Visionary Scholarship program to financially support students in every grade level of high school.
  • Countdown to College ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: May 5Details: This scholarship is for college-bound teens in grades 9th-12th. The scholarship does not require specific test scores, GPA, or class ranking.In order to be awarded the scholarship, you must be a current C2C eNews subscriber at the time of the drawing.
  • Gen and Kelly Tanabe ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: July 31Details: The Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship is a merit-based program that helps students fulfill their dreams of a higher education. To apply, students must simply answer one of three essay questions (“feel free to re-use an essay that you wrote in class, for college admission or another scholarship competition.”)!
  • Grademiners Essay ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: August 1Details: To encourage bright young minds to SPEAK UP, Grademiners offers this essay scholarship for the best original essay (see application page for essay topic options).
  • Alex Austin’s Overcoming Adversity ScholarshipAward Amount: $500 – $1,000Scholarship Deadline: September 1Details: Open to all high school and college students in the US, including DACA recipients. Students who identify as part of a minority or who will be first-generation college students are encouraged to apply.
  • Cameron Impact ScholarshipAward Amount: Full-ride! Scholarship Deadline: September 10Details: The Cameron Impact Scholarship is a four-year, full-tuition, merit-based undergraduate scholarship awarded annually to 10-15 exceptional high school students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, extracurricular activities, leadership, and community service. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.7 to apply.
  • One Step At A Time ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: September 30Details: This scholarship was created to encourage students who have faced adversity to reflect on their experience and discuss the steps they took to pull themselves through a difficult situation. Minimum 3.0 GPA to apply.
  • Supporting the Community ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: September 30Details: Rastin Gluckstein Lawyers is offering The Supporting the Community Scholarship to recognize students who have particularly creative ideas for how they can do their best to give back to their community.
  • Jack Kent Cooke ScholarshipAward Amount: $40,000 per year Scholarship Deadline: November 18 Details:The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship Program is an undergraduate scholarship program available to high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend and graduate from the nation’s best four-year colleges and universities. Minimum 3.5 GPA. 
  • Heisman High School ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000 – $10,000Scholarship Deadline: October 19Details: Open to high-achieving high school seniors in the US with at least a 3.0 GPA who participate in a wide range of sports as well as school and community activities.
  • Imagine America High School ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: December 1Details: Imagine America, sponsored by the Imagine America Foundation (IAF), is a $1,000 career education award that is available to recent high school graduates who are pursuing postsecondary education at participating career colleges across the United States.
  • 10x Digital Marketing ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: December 1Details: 10x digital awards a $2,000 scholarship each year to one talented student (twice a year) who is majoring in (or planning on majoring in) a field related to digital marketing. Undocumented students and international students studying in the US are eligible to apply.
  • National Honor Society Scholarship ProgramAward Amount: VariesScholarship Deadline: December 1Details: The National Honor Society is committed to helping students achieve their secondary education goals, and provides the following resources to students and their families to help with the planning process. 600 scholarships are awarded each year to high school seniors who are members of the NHS.
  • Edison Scholars ProgramAward Amount: $40,000Scholarship Deadline: December 14Details: The Edison Scholars Program offers $40,000 scholarships to 30 high school seniors planning on pursuing STEM degrees at 4-year colleges and universities. Must live in Edison’s service territory in Southern California. 
  • Burger King Scholars ProgramAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: December 15Details: Open to high school seniors in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. 
  • Equitable Excellence ScholarshipAward Amount: up to $20,000 over four yearsScholarship Deadline: December 17Details: Open to current high school seniors who plan to enroll full-time in an accredited two- or four-year college or university in the United States for the entire upcoming academic year. 
  • Around the Corner from College ScholarshipAward Amount: $1,000Scholarship Deadline: December 31 (and June 30)Details: This scholarship is Access Scholarship’s opportunity created just for high school students! Open to high school seniors, but also to students in grades 9-11. DACA/undocumented and international students are also eligible to apply. 
  • Cirkledin’s No Sweat ScholarshipAward Amount: $2,500Scholarship Deadline: December 31Details: Apply in 4 easy steps: Go to www.cirkledin.com, create a free Cirkledin account, hit the “Apply Now” button, and tell us “What is one thing that, if it were in the Olympics, you would win gold in?”
  • Careers Through Culinary Arts Program Cooking Competition for ScholarshipsAward Amount: Varies (up to full-tuition)Scholarship Deadline: Varies Details: Applicants must be a senior in a C-CAP designated partner high school in Arizona; Prince George’s County, Maryland; Tidewater, Virginia; or the cities of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, or Washington, DC. Applicants must be accepted into the cooking competition for scholarships. Check the CCAP website for local coordinator’s contact information. 
  • United States Senate Youth ProgramAward Amount: $10,000Scholarship Deadline: Varies by stateDetails: The United States Senate Youth Program is a scholarship for high school seniors (and juniors!) holding elected student offices. Two students are selected from each state.

Scholarships for High School Seniors: Tips for Searching & Applying!

Look, the search and application process for scholarships for high school seniors is not always a smooth-sailing process. But, the fact that you’ve made it this far in the post and are taking the initiative to learn more about scholarships is a great start in itself!

Here are a few quick tips to help you along your scholarship journey…

1. Set goals for yourself along the way.

I was a high school senior not too long ago, so I know exactly what it’s like to have to create a balance between your schoolwork, extracurriculars, college applications, and scholarships. 

It’s not always an easy task, but that’s why you should work on setting goals for yourself and creating a scholarship strategy

Your goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic, Timely). Setting goals for things such as how much you are aiming to earn from scholarships and when you will set aside time to search and apply will help you to stay on track with what you want to achieve.

2. Know where to look.

If you’re here and you’re reading this, that means you know one great place to look! The Access Scholarships Search Engine is an awesome resource with tons of scholarships for high school seniors. But beyond Access Scholarships, be sure to…

  • Reach out to your school counselor to discuss some of the local scholarships that are out there for you to apply for
  • Head over to your state’s financial aid website to learn more about their grants and resources 

3. Apply often.

Don’t think of the scholarship process as one that you can engage in only once every few months and see success with.

The scholarship process requires consistency and dedication. If you want to have the best chance at winning scholarships, you need to be dedicated to the process (creating a healthy mix of mostly essay scholarships with some no-essay scholarships is a good strategy) and put in the effort!

4. Be organized, thorough, and on time.

Lots of students find it helpful to organize their scholarship application and search process using a spreadsheet (virtual or physical). These are extremely useful because you can keep track of important deadlines, requirements for each scholarship, and more.

TIP: Click here to view and download a copy of my own scholarship tracker so you can get organized for yourself!

5. Think outside the box.

I have provided you with a ton of great scholarships for high school seniors right here in this post.

In addition to these, don’t be afraid to venture out to find scholarships that are specific to YOU in all aspects! This means thinking critically about your hobbies and interests, and passions outside of academics.

It also means thinking about things that define who you are that you could potentially leverage in your scholarship search. For example, are you a soon-to-be first-generation college student?  Or maybe you’re planning on pursuing a STEM degree? These are just two areas that you can identify and use to search for scholarships! 

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