250 Word Essay Scholarships For 2016/2017

If applying to college is a nerve-wracking experience, then I’m not sure how to explain the fear and dread involved in paying for it once you get in.

But wait, it gets worse: student loans, anyone?

Before you know it, your excitement about getting into college can be totally trumped by anxiety about costs.

Luckily, there are thousands of scholarships for college students that can help you pay for school. Whether you’re in high school, college or even graduate school, you’re likely eligible for a fair amount of money.

You don’t need to get straight-A’s, be in dire financial straits or participate in a ton of extracurricular activities every day to earn a scholarship. In some cases, a special skill or interest area — like having creative ways of earning or saving money — can help you win money to use for tuition, housing or textbooks.

Here’s a list of tons of awesome scholarships to get you started on your search. Application rules and deadlines can change, so be sure to read all of the eligibility requirements on the funding organization’s website before applying.

We will be updating this list throughout the year so make sure to check back throughout the year to see if there are any new scholarship opportunities.

Happy scholarship hunting!

These organizations offer awards several times a year — during spring and fall semesters, quarterly or even monthly. Even if you’ve missed the earliest deadline this year, take a look to see if there’s another one coming up!

1. AfterCollege/AACN Scholarship Fund

This fund awards a scholarship of $2,500 each quarter to students enrolled at an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) member institution. Awards can be used toward bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees in nursing.

The selection committee gives special consideration to students enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse educator; students completing an RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN program; and those enrolled in an accelerated program.

Deadlines: March 31, June 30, Sept. 30, Dec. 31

2. CollegeSTEPS Sweepstakes

Wells Fargo sponsors this award, which is open to high school students ages 14 and up, and all undergraduates. A total of 12 applicants — six high school students and six college students — are selected throughout the year via random drawing to win $5,000 each.

Deadline: None – random selection throughout the year.

3. Courage to Grow

This monthly scholarship award of $500 is available to high school juniors and seniors, and college students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. You’ll have to submit a short essay.

Deadline: The last day of each month.

4. United States Senate Youth Program

Two high school juniors and seniors from each state, Washington, D.C. and the Department of Defense Education Activity are chosen each year for this program, which includes a $10,000 scholarship. The 104 selected students will travel to Washington, D.C. as delegates for Washington Week. Applicants must be participants in student government. A principal or teacher nomination is required.

Deadlines: Range from July to November, depending on your state.

5. “No Essay” College Scholarship

Yes, there’s a scholarship you can win without writing an essay! Niche.com offers this monthly drawing, which is open to all high school and college students, as well as anyone planning to enroll in college or graduate school within 12 months.

Deadline: End of each month

6. $1,000 Local Survey Sweepstakes

Tell Niche.com about your neighborhood and be entered into a monthly drawing for $1,000. Submit a new entry each month for a better chance of winning.

Deadline: End of each month

7. CaptainU Student-Athlete Scholarship

CaptainU is a site that allows student athletes to promote themselves to colleges and helps college coaches manage their recruiting efforts.

High school and junior college students who play sports and plan to attend a four-year college can apply for this $2,000 award by completing a profile and promoting themselves and CaptainU on social media.

Deadline: Quarterly

8. DoSomething.org Campaign Scholarships

Volunteer your time for any DoSomething.org campaigns (examples include hosting a canned food drive or sharing ways to combat bullying), and you could win up to $22,000. Submit photos of your campaign work to enter.

The only requirement is that you’re between 13 and 25 years old; if you’re not in college when you win, the organization will hold onto your prize until you head to college.

Deadline: Varies by the campaign

9. Golden Key International Honour Society Scholarships

Golden Key International Honour Society is based on three principles: academics, leadership and service. It offers more than half a million dollars in scholarships each year to its undergraduate and graduate members.

Deadline: Varies by scholarship

10. Nitro College Scholarship

To win $5,000, fill out the scholarship survey, and answer three short questions. As an added bonus, you can refer a friend for a $1,000 scholarship. If your friend includes your name on their application and wins, you get a $1,000 scholarship, as well. They have four deadlines this year.

Deadlines: March 31, June 30, Sept. 30 and Dec. 31

11. Howtostartablog.com Scholarship Program

Open to any high school senior, this scholarship requires you to get a bit creative.

Following the website’s guides, create your own blog about something you’re passionate about. Then, on your new blog, post a video and talk about how you see the blogging world impacting the future of the digital age and working in America. The award is $2,500.

Deadlines: Applications are accepted year-round; winners will be chosen March 31

12. Appraisal Institute Education Trust Undergraduate Scholarship

Students who are already enrolled part time or full time toward an associate or bachelor’s degree focusing on real estate may apply for this $1,000 award. You must demonstrate academic achievement. Submit a short personal statement, two recommendations, your transcript and your resume.

Deadline: Varies based on scholarship

13.  The Festivus Scholarship

Students returning to school after a gap in their education can earn $250 by winning four rounds of quizzes on common knowledge facts. Enter by registering at the Common Knowledge Scholarship Fund and entering the fall quiz (typically begins in early September) or spring quiz (typically starts in early January).

Deadline: December and April

14. Best Reviews Design Scholarship

This scholarship accepts any candidate who are either currently studying in high school or college or can prove they are enrolled to start at a future date. To win this $2,000 scholarship, write up to 500 words on how product design can impact the world in a positive way. There are two cycles each year for this one.

Deadlines: June 1 and Dec. 1

You can apply for these scholarships from July through September.

Note: Some of the following scholarships have multiple deadlines so they may be listed in both the fall and the spring lists.

1. Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship

Women who study business or are enrolled in a business-related program may apply for this scholarship through their local Zonta club, which awards 12 international scholarships of $7,000 and 32 district/region scholarships of $1,000. There’s no age limit to apply.

Deadlines: Varies by local clubs; club-level finalists must be presented to regional representatives by July 1.

2. Resume Companion Annual Scholarship Giveaway

Enter to win this $1,000 scholarship by creating a resume for a fictional character. There is no GPA requirement for this award.

Deadline: July 14

3. SportFact’s $1000 Scholarship

Love sports statistics? Sportsfact.org wants to know how you’re going to use your passion for sports data in a unique and impactful manner. Fill out this application to apply.

Deadline: July 31

4. CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program

This is more of a program commitment than it is simply a scholarship. This opportunity is offered through the CIA and is open to any high school senior planning to attend a four-year college, or a current college student.

If selected, you’ll receive a salary of up to $18,000 per year, as well as full benefits. In exchange, you’ll work at the CIA in Washington, D.C. every summer.

Deadline: Aug. 14

5. Race Entry Scholarship

Race Entry wants to hear your reason for running in a race. The award is open to any college student. The winner will receive a $500 scholarship.

Deadline: Aug. 15

6. “You Deserve It” Scholarship Sweepstakes

Offered by ScholarshipOwl, simply create an account on the scholarship-finding website, and you’ll be entered to win this $1,000 scholarship.

The scholarship is available to any high school or college student who’s at least 16 years old.

Deadline: Aug. 29

7. Cappex Easy Money Scholarship

Every month, Cappex chooses a winner for its $1,000 scholarship. Any high school or college student may apply. This really is easy money — all you have to do is complete the application on the website, and you’ll be entered to win.

Deadline: Aug. 31

8. C.I.P. Scholarship

College is Power awards $1,000 to entering or continuing students in full- or part-time programs. Funds can be used for tuition, books, room and board, and other related expenses.

Deadline: Aug. 31

9. Clubs of America Scholarship

Any college student with a 3.0 GPA may apply for this $1,000 scholarship. Write an essay of at least 600 words about your career aspirations.

Deadline: Aug. 31

10. MoolahSPOT Scholarship

MoolahSPOT’s $1,000 scholarship is open to students from around the world, but your 400-word essay and application must be submitted in English. New and current college students and graduate students can apply.

Deadline: Aug. 31

11. Scholarship Detective Launch Scholarship

Free registration for ScholarshipDetective.com and a 140-character or less statement are all you need to enter this drawing for one of two $1,000 scholarships.

Deadline: Aug. 31

12. American Hort Scholarships

HRI provides seven scholarship funds for agriculture students. You could be awarded up to $4,000, depending on which scholarships you’re eligible for.

Deadline: Sept. 8

13. Muggets Scholarship

Students who are already enrolled in vocational, undergraduate and graduate programs in horticulture and have at least a 2.25 GPA may apply for this $1,500 scholarship. Two recommendations are required.

Deadline: Sept. 8

14. Thomas “Sarge” Johnson Scholarship

These 11 scholarships are available for active USA Boxing members who have have competed in at least two sanctioned bouts in this year, as well as each of the last two calendar years. Applicants should have completed at least one semester in a college, technical or vocational school.

There are two trade school awards for $2,000 each, seven undergraduate awards for $3,000 each and two graduate awards for $2,500 each.

Deadline: Sept. 15

15. CoffeeForLess.com “Hit the Books” Scholarship

If you’re a college student between ages 18 to 25, you can enter to win $500 by writing a 500-word essay on why your education is important to you. You’ll score bonus points if you can work your love of coffee into your essay.

Deadlines: Jan. 31 and Sept. 30

16. Odenza Marketing Scholarship

If you have at least a 2.5 GPA, submit two short essays on given topics to be considered for a $500 scholarship. This scholarship is open to American and Canadian students ages 16 to 25.

Deadline: Sept. 30

17. SkinCare Ox: Beauty + Wellness Scholarship

SkinCare Ox wants to offer $500 in financial aid as well as a goodie basket to a young woman who strives for personal wellness and a healthier life. Applicants are asked to submit an essay (500 words maximum) about their personal journey with health and wellness.

Deadline: Sept. 30

18. Top Reveal Scholarship

Have thoughts about the smart home trend? They could win you this scholarship! Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and be enrolled in a college or university. They will be asked to write a “school caliber essay” relating to one of three smart home topics.

Deadline: Sept. 30

19. AfterCollege Succurro Scholarship

Full-time undergraduate and graduate students with at least a 2.5 GPA can apply for this $500 scholarship that chooses one winner per quarter.

Deadline: Sept. 30

You can apply for these scholarships from October through December.

1. Create Real Impact

Your creative entry about distracted driving could win you a $500 or $1,500 prize. Along with the grand prizewinner of $1,500, the committee also chooses one Spanish language winner and one American Sign Language winner.

Deadline: Oct. 6

2. NSCA Foundation Scholarship

If you’re pursuing a career in strength and conditioning, such as physical therapy, coaching, or personal training, the National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation awards 5 different scholarships in every year.

Scholarships are worth $1,500 each and students must be current NSCA members by the application deadline.

Deadline: Oct. 15

3.  College JumpStart Scholarship

Open to anyone in grades 10 to 12 or currently enrolled in college, along with nontraditional students, the College JumpStart Scholarship offers various award amounts to students who are committed to their educations and their communities. Submit a brief personal statement about your goals and achievements to apply.

Deadlines: April 15 and Oct. 17

4. Voice of Democracy

This scholarship judges applicants by short essay told via audio in three to five minutes. The national first-place winner receives $30,000 to use at any U.S. college or vocational school; scholarships of $1,000 to $16,000 are also awarded.

Deadline: Oct. 31

5. Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Scholarship

Coca-Cola has multiple scholarship programs, but its main scholarship offers 150 awards of $20,000 for graduating high school seniors. Applicants will be judged for their capacity to lead and serve.

Deadline: Oct. 31

6. MigVapor Essay Contest

Applicants must write an essay about “a viable solution to help smokers make a positive change in their lives” and include topics such as e-cigarettes and vaporizers. This award is open to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students over age 18.

There are three awards; you could win up to $1,900. The application cycle reopens each semester.

Deadline: Nov. 1

7. Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

U.S. students in grades 5-12 who have participated in community service in the most recent 12 months are eligible to receive a Spirit of Community Award from Prudential.

National Honorees receive a $5,000 award, a medallion, a trophy and a $5,000 grant to a charity of choice. State Honorees receive an award of $1,000, a medallion and a paid trip to Washington, D.C.

Deadline: Nov. 17

8. Unigo Education Matters Scholarship

This scholarship requires current or incoming college students to write a short response to win $5,000. You must write your response about what you would say to someone who thinks education doesn’t matter or that college is a waste of time.

Deadline: Nov. 30

9. Groza Learning Center Education Scholarship

In order to be eligible for this 1000 dollar scholarship students should write a short essay about the word redemption. They want to hear your comeback story and help students pay for higher education.

Deadline: Nov. 30

10. Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship

One student from every school can be nominated by their principal for this $1,000 scholarship for students who show a strong commitment to and involvement in community service, leadership and academics. There are also higher levels of scholarships for eligible winners.

Since the inception of the program in 2000, more than $26 million has been awarded to more than 25,000 students.

Deadline: Nov. 30

11. Lawrence A. Golding Scholarship

The American College of Sports Medicine honors one undergraduate student at its annual ACSM Health & Fitness Summit with $1,000 in scholarship money and $1,000 credit to the ACSM store for DVDs, books or wearables.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors in college who have made a significant contribution to their community in the areas of health, fitness and/or education can apply.

Deadline: End of November

12. HomeSecurityList Smart Home Scholarship

HomeSecurityList is looking for a student interested in the “smart home revolution,” which includes home automation, the internet of things and home security. This scholarship is open to accepted high school seniors or current college and trade school students.

Submit a 1,000- to 2,000-word essay on a relevant topic involving the “smart home revolution” for a chance to win this $1,000 scholarship.

Deadline: Dec. 10

13. Agora Pulse Social Media Management Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship is for “emerging social media geniuses,” and is open to both high school and college students who have an interest in social media management. To apply, write a brief essay that talks about the best use of social media management you’ve seen.

Deadline: Dec. 15

14. Burger King McLamore Foundation Scholarship

Burger King offers scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 for high school seniors or full-time college students who graduated high school within the last three years. The Burger King Scholarship requires a 2.5 GPA, while the McLamore requires a 3.3 GPA.

Deadline: Dec. 15

15. Publicity.ai Seo and Content Marketing Scholarship

Open to high school and college students, this $1,000 scholarship requires a passion for marketing. Write a short essay about the best use of content marketing you’ve seen — they’re looking for the “next generation of marketing leaders.”

Deadline: Dec. 15

16. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Scholarship

For high school seniors entering a four-year, accredited U.S. college or university, Foot Locker awards $20,000 scholarships to 20 students each year.

Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, be a member in good standing of a high school sports team or be involved in an after-school sport.

Deadline: End of December

17. $500 Culinary Scholarship

High school students interested in culinary school, along with current culinary students, can enter to win this $500 award from Niche.com.

Deadline: Dec. 31

18. $500 Nursing Scholarship

Future and current nursing students can apply for this $500 scholarship from Niche.com.

Deadline: Dec. 31

19. Community College Scholarship

Niche.com offers $500 to current and anticipated community college students.

Deadline: Dec. 31

20. Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship is a merit-based award open to incoming and current college or graduate students. Applicants must submit a 250-word essay.

Deadline: Dec. 31

21. Luigi Wewege Foundation Scholarship

Luigi Wewege is offering a $1500 scholarship towards academic tuition fees. The applicant would fill out the application linked and write a short essay about how retail banking would change in the next 25 years.

Deadline: Dec. 31

22. Unigo $10K Scholarship

Surprise! You’ve just been elected president. What’s your first tweet? Answer the question, and you could win a $10,000 scholarship. You must enroll in college no later than fall 2023.

Deadline: Dec. 31

You should apply for these scholarships from January through March.

1. Princeton Prize in Race Relations

This cash prize of $1,000 is awarded to students in grades 9-12 who’ve used community service to significantly encourage positive race relations during the past 12 months.

Winners also receive an all-expenses paid trip to Princeton University for its symposium on race. One prize is awarded in each of the 27 regions in which the organization operates.

Deadline: January

2. Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship

The Positive Coaching Alliance awards high-school juniors $1,000-$2,000 scholarships based on their essays about improving themselves, their teammates and the game.

Students must reside in the U.S. and play for a high school team or in club sports. The organization awards a minimum of 62 scholarships every year.

Deadline: Jan. 1

3. The Annual CGTrader Scholarship

CGTrader is the largest 3D model marketplace. They are giving away a total of 3 scholarships: one $1,500 for a first person window and two $500 scholarships. In order to apply potential winners need to write an essay about “using games for social good and playful learning”.

Deadline: Jan. 15

4. Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarships

The Ronald McDonald House Charities offers a handful of scholarships open to high school seniors. To be eligible, you just have to live in an area where there is a participating RMHC chapter.

Deadline: Jan. 17

5.  Redfin Scholarship

To win this $2,500 scholarship write up to 800 words on the given prompt, which focuses on affordable housing. The scholarship is open to high school seniors, as well as college freshman, sophomores and juniors with a 3.0 GPA.

Deadline: Jan. 31

6. Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Award

Minority high school students may apply for awards of up to $28,000 over four years to attend college. Scholarships also come with mentoring, leadership development and internship opportunities. The foundation awards about 60 scholarships per year.

Deadline: Feb. 15

7. AWS Foundation National Scholarship Program

The American Welding Society offers more than 30 scholarships to students in the U.S. and Canada who plan to pursue careers in welding. Awards tend to be for $2,500 or more, and many are open to students in attending a four-year college.

Students can create a single profile online through AWS to be matched with scholarship options.

Deadline: Feb. 15

8. Society of Women Engineers Scholarships

By completing a single application, women in engineering, engineering technology or computer science in the U.S. or Mexico can apply for a host of scholarships from SWE. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible. Awards range from about $1,000 to $20,000.

Deadline: Feb. 15 for sophomores and higher

9.  Wear Action Scholarship

Do you use technology to help you stay fit? Write an essay about it to win this $500 scholarship. Any high school or college student with a 3.0 GPA is eligible. To apply, you must write at least 700 words on how fitness gadgets can impact your life for the better.

Deadline: Feb. 28

10. Frame My Future Scholarship Contest

To win this scholarship, high school seniors or current college students can submit a piece of art, such as a photograph, collage, poem, painting or other creative piece, along with a 500-word essay about your professional goals.

A panel of judges will select 24 finalists. Students who submit the top five entries, determined by public vote, will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Deadline: March 1

11. American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students

The American Legion Auxiliary offers five scholarships of $2,000 each year to students returning to school after an interruption or adults who are starting higher education later in life.

Deadline: March 1

12. Life Lessons Scholarship Program

Applicants for this scholarship must submit an essay or short video about how losing a parent during childhood impacted their lives. Eighteen scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 will be awarded.

Deadline: March 1

13. Headphone Selection Scholarship Program

Open to any high school or college student, this $500 essay scholarship requires you to write up to 1,000 words on “The Effect of Sound on Productivity.” The scholarship seeks essays demonstrating well-crafted research and analysis.  

Deadline: March 1

14. Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund

Entering first-year law students can apply for this award from the American Bar Association. Full-time and part-time students are eligible; 20 winners receive $15,000 over their three years of law school.

Deadline: March 2

15. Bodie McDowell Scholarship

Junior and senior undergraduates and graduate students studying outdoor communications or journalism may apply. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000, and there are three or more awards given each year.

Deadline: March 2

16. Veterans United Foundation Scholarship

Children or surviving spouses of a deceased service member or veteran of the US Military may apply. To get the scholarship you need to submit a typed essay explaining how losing your spouse or parent has affected you and what you hope to pursue.

Deadline: March 30

17. Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

This $10,000 scholarship goes to a student active in the social and economic justice movements. Submit a personal statement, two recommendations, a transcript, evidence of financial need and a photo.

Deadline: March 31

You should apply for these scholarships from April through June.

1. The Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship

This $8,000 award from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund was originally created to help African-American students integrate into formerly segregated schools in the South and to increase their presence in the legal profession.

Any undergraduate student showing financial need, academic achievement and a commitment to public service is eligible to apply.

Deadline: April 1

2. College Success Scholarship

Study.com is offering $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors to apply to tuition. Applicants are required to fill out this application and write about why getting a college degree will help them achieve their goals.

Deadline: April 1

3. Michael Crossland Humanitarian Scholarship

The Golden Key International Honour Society awards its members around the world multiple scholarships, but this $1,000 award is specifically for U.S. students who serve children in need through breaking down barriers in education, sports or assisting families in need.

Deadline: April 1

4. CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program

This is more of a program commitment than it is simply a scholarship. This opportunity is offered through the CIA and is open to any high school senior planning to attend a four-year college, or a current college student.

If selected, you’ll receive a salary of up to $18,000 per year, as well as full benefits. In exchange, you’ll work at the CIA in Washington, D.C. every summer.

Deadline: August 14

5. Signet Essay Contest

Signet Classics awards five scholarships of $1,000 to high school juniors and seniors. Applicants must write an essay about the year’s chosen literary classic from a list of provided topics; teachers then submit the essays to Signet.

Deadline: April 14

6. The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

Each year the Barron Prize honors 15 young leaders, ages 8 to 18, who’ve made a significant positive impact to people and the environment.

Students must reside in the U.S. or Canada and be currently working on an inspiring service project, or have done so in the most recent 12 months to be eligible for this $5,000 award

Deadline: April 15

7.  College JumpStart Scholarship

Open to anyone in grades 10 to 12 or currently enrolled in college, along with nontraditional students, the College JumpStart Scholarship offers various award amounts to students who are committed to their educations and their communities.

Submit a brief personal statement about your goals and achievements to apply.

Deadlines: April 15 and October 17

8. NDS Sophomore Merit Scholarship

The National Dairy Shrine also offers a scholarship for college sophomores pursuing a career in the dairy industry. First prize gets $1,500, and three runners-up get $1,000 each. Leadership, activities and academic performance are evaluated.

Deadline: April 15

9. NDS Junior Merit Scholarship

Undergraduates in their junior year who plan to work in the dairy industry may apply for this award, which has a first prize of $1,500 and three runner-up awards of $1,000 each. Leadership, activities, and academic performance are evaluated.

Deadline: April 15

10. ASHA Youth Scholarships

Exceptional high school students who are involved with American saddlebred horses, may apply. Academic success, financial need, community service and recommendations are considered. Awards amounts vary; a second award of $2,500 is available from the American Saddlebred Association of Alabama.

Deadline: April 30

11. Digital Responsibility E-Waste Scholarship

Write a tweet-length statement about electronic waste recycling to enter this $1,000 contest. The top 10 finalists will be asked to write a 500- to 1000-word essay.

Deadline: April 30

12. American Floral Endowment

AFE provides over 20 scholarships annually to undergraduate and graduate students majoring in floriculture and horticulture. Award amounts vary by scholarship.

Deadline: May 1

13. Paradigm Challenge

For the chance to win up to $100,000, the Paradigm Challenge encourages youth to use STEM skills and collaboration to come up with an original idea. Anyone ages 4 to 18 can enter this competition.

There are 91 prizes awarded ranging from $200 to $100,000.

Deadline: May 1

14. Society of Women Engineers Scholarships

By completing a single application, women in engineering, engineering technology or computer science in the U.S. or Mexico can apply for a host of scholarships from SWE. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible. Awards range from about $1,000 to $20,000.

Deadline: May 1 for incoming freshmen

15. Dr. Troy Dreiling Scholarship

If leadership is your strong suit this $1,000 scholarship is for you. Applicants are required to explain how they have exemplified leadership both in and out of school in a 500 word essay.

Deadline: May 1

16. Optimist International Oratorical Contest

Would you engage with an audience from the podium? Winning speakers at the local level can earn scholarships of $2,500, $1,500 or $1,000 at the district level.

Local club competition dates vary, but districts must submit their winner lists to Optimist International by May 15.

Deadline: May 15

17. Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

For this scholarship, respond to one of three essay prompts on Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” The contest is open to all students, from high school seniors to grad students. There are 84 winners, with prizes ranging from $50 to $20,000.

Deadline: May 15

18. PRSA Diversity Multicultural Scholarship

The Public Relations Student Society of America gives two awards of $1,500 to minority communications students. Applicants must be full-time students with at least junior status and a 3.0 GPA. PRSSA membership is not required, but applicants must submit a transcript, letter of recommendation and two-page essay on diversity in the public relations industry.

Deadline: May 26

19. Leavitt Machinery Scholarship

Leavitt Machinery’s $500 essay scholarship is open to any currently enrolled students and those expecting to attend college in the fall of 2017.

You must have a 3.0 GPA and respond to an essay prompt about how safety procedures prevented an injury in a situation either you or someone you know was involved in.

Deadline: May 31

20. Chely Wright LIKEME Scholarship

LIKEME is an organization that provides resources for LGBT teens and their communities. This $500 award is open to graduating high school seniors who’ve advocated for LGBT issues through community service and who demonstrate a commitment to the future of the LGBT community.

Deadline: May 31

21. Best Reviews Design Scholarship

This scholarship accepts any candidate who are either currently studying in high school or college or can prove they are enrolled to start at a future date. To win this $2,000 scholarship, write up to 500 words on how product design can impact the world in a positive way. There are two cycles each year for this one.

Deadlines: June 1 and December 1

22. Global Lift Equipment Scholarship

Open to any student with a 2.5 GPA, this scholarship is seriously unique: You apply by writing a 2,000-word essay from the viewpoint of an inanimate object that you choose from the website. The website says to think about the assignment like the Disney movie “Cars,” except it’s a short story about the company’s used equipment. Win $500 for your creative story.

Deadline: June 2

23. American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Awards

The American-Scandinavian Foundation offers a $2,500 award and a $2,000 award for outstanding translations of Scandinavian works by authors born before 1800.

Deadline: June 15

24. BigSun Scholarship

High school seniors and college students can apply for BigSun Athletics’ BigSun Scholarship.

Students must be engaged in a sport of any kind and apply with an essay describing how their participation in high school sports influenced them.

Deadline: June 19

25. Lift Parts Express Scholarship

The $500 scholarship is open to students ages of 16 to 21 with a 3.0 GPA. You’re required to write an essay about how you plan to pay for college and the job you expect to have once you graduate.

Deadline: June 30

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder. 

Editorial assistant Haley Gonzalez contributed research to this post. 

Header graphics created by Kristy Gaunt, Illustrative Designer at The Penny Hoarder.

It's never too early to start saving up money for your college education. Even if you are only in your first or second year of high school, there are plenty of opportunities to start bringing in money that will pay for your tuition, books, fees, and living expenses a couple of years down the line.

You might be surprised to learn that there are hundreds of scholarships available to underclassmen.

If you're just starting your hunt, use this list of the 39 best scholarships for high school freshmen and sophomores to get started.

This list includes a variety of scholarships for freshmen and sophomores. I've broken them down into several different categories:

  • Essay Scholarships
  • Special Interest Scholarships
  • Creative Scholarships
  • Hobby- and Activity-Based Scholarships
  • Location-based Scholarships
  • Easy Scholarships

These scholarships are not limited to one college or university, so students who win these awards will be able to take them to a variety of schools. 

 

How to Use This List

Rule 1: Play to Your Strengths

Start out by looking at the different categories below. Are you creative? Then consider applying to some of the scholarships that require artwork or a movie for their applications. If you're a strong writer, on the other hand, consider applying to scholarships that require essays.

 

Rule 2: Apply to Many Scholarships

The beauty of starting early is that you have a lot of time! Use it wisely to apply to as many scholarships as possible. We recommend applying to anywhere between five and 30 scholarships. Most of the scholarships you'll find on this list and beyond are competitive, meaning many students will be applying for them. You'll increase your chances of winning money for college if you don't put all of your eggs in one basket.

 

Rule 3: Pay Attention to Details

Make sure you read all of the rules carefully before you apply for a scholarship, and be certain that your essays and other application materials address what is being asked. It's a waste of time to apply to scholarships if you're going to end up disqualified simply because you failed to follow instructions.

Similarly, make sure you stay on top of important deadlines. You don't want to miss out on a great scholarship because you missed a due date!

 

Rule 4: Do Your Own Research

Keep in mind that this list is just a starting point. There are many, many more scholarships available to younger students, and there very well may be some that are more suited to your talents and interests. Don't be afraid to do some Google searches to see if there are any scholarships out there that correspond to one of your unique traits.

Remember, the more obscure a scholarship is, the better your chance of winning it will be.

 

Essay Scholarships

 

 

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum Student Essay Contest

The Oklahoma City National Museum hosts an essay contest for students in grades 5-12. Topics revolve around ideas related to the Oklahoma bombings in 1995. Students in grades 9 and 10 can submit 500-word essays.

Prizes:

  • 1st place: $200
  • 2nd place: $150
  • 3rd place: $100

 

Ayn Rand Essay Contest

High school freshmen and sophomores can write an essay on one of several topics related to the book Anthem by Ayn Rand. The deadline to apply is May 1, 2018.

Prizes:

  • 1st place: $2,000 (one winner)
  • 2nd place: $500 (five winners)
  • 3rd place: $200 (10 winners)
  • Finalists: $50 (45 winners)
  • Semifinalists: $30 (175 winners)

 

NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund Essay Contest

To enter this contest, high school students must write a 1,000-word essay answering the question, “What does the second amendment meant to you?” The deadline to apply is December 31, 2017.

Prizes:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $600
  • 3rd place: $200
  • 4th place: $100

 

Fleet Reserve Association Essay Contest

Students in grades 7-12 can enter this essay contest by submitting an essay of no more than 350 words on “What Patriotism Means to Me.” The grand national winner will get $5,000. Additionally, first prize for each grade level is $2,500, second prize is $1,500, and third prize is $1,000. The deadline is December 1, 2017.

 

Unigo $10K Scholarship

Students 13 or older can apply for a chance to win one prize of $10,000. Your application must include a 140-character response to the question: "Surprise! You just got elected president. What’s your first tweet?" The deadline is December 31, 2017.

 

Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship

High school students can submit a 250-word essay on a topic of their choosing for a chance to be entered into a competition to win a $1,000 prize. There are two contests per year. The fall contest deadline is December 31, 2017, and the spring deadline is July 31, 2018.

 

Young Patriots Essay Contest

All US high school students can apply to win. They must submit an essay of no more than 1,500 words on a topic related to current events and/or public policy. Last year's essay topic was, “Are international free trade agreements in the best interest of the United States? Why or why not?”

Prizes:

  • 1st place: $5,000
  • 2nd place: $2,500
  • 3rd place: $1,500

 

Profile in Courage Essay Contest

US students in grades 9-12 can submit a 700-1,000-word essay based on a topic listed on this website. This past year gave unusually large prizes for the centennial celebration of JFK's birth, but normally there are seven prizes ranging from $500 to $5,000. The deadline for this year's contest is January 4, 2018.

 

We the Students Essay Contest

US Students who are enrolled in grades 8-12 can apply to win one of 15 awards ranging from $500 to $5,000. The first-place winner receives $5,000. Students must complete the online application and submit an essay of no more than 800 words on the topic cited on the website.

 

Optimist International Essay Contest

US students under 18 can submit an essay on the topic "Can Society Function Without Respect?" Club winners advance to the District contest to compete for a $2,500 scholarship. The deadline for submission is February 28, 2018.

 

Visionary Scholarship Program

Any currently enrolled high school US student can apply to receive a prize from $1,000 to $5,000. Applicants must submit a completed application, a copy of their most recent (unofficial) high school transcript, and a 500-word, double-spaced essay on "Why College is Important to Me." The deadline for this year's contest is May 1, 2018.

 

Special Interest Scholarships

 

 

Humanity Rising Service Challenge

Freshmen and sophomores who volunteer for a non-profit that meets Humanity Rising’s criteria can apply. Awards range from $500 to $2,000.

 

H&R Block Budget Challenge

US students in grades 9-12 can apply to win one of 10 $20,000 scholarships. Students must play an online game that simulates adult life in terms of financial literacy. Students can't register themselves, but teachers can register classes as well as individual students.

 

Creative Scholarships

 

 

Create Real Impact Contest

Any student between 14 and 22 can submit either a piece of writing (100-600 words), a video, a work of art, or music they have composed on the topic of how to address reckless driving. Prizes of $500-$1,500 are available. There are also prizes for Spanish and American Sign Language entries. Voting on entries begins October 7, 2017.

 

TeenDrive365 Video Challenge

All US high school students at least 13 years of age can enter this contest by creating a unique 60- to 90-second video highlighting safer teen driving. The video must end with the TeenDrive365 Video Challenge Call to Action slide that can be downloaded. There are 15 prizes available ranging from $1,000 to $15,000.

 

Doodle 4 Google

Students from kindergarten to 12th grade can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must submit a Google Doodle related to this year's theme as well as a 50-word statement. They have the chance to receive a $30,000 scholarship in addition to other prizes.

 

Scholastic Art & Writing Award

Students in grades 7-12 with a keen interest in writing or art can apply for the chance to win a $500 Best-in-Grade Award. Students in 12th grade can also apply to win one of 16 $10,000 portfolio scholarships. Deadlines for submission vary by region.

 

AutoPets™ Out-of-the-Box Thinking Scholarship

All current high school students can apply to win one of three prizes: $500, $1,000, and $1,500. Applications must be submitted with a 400-word essay about an innovative pet product idea. The deadline is typically in mid-September.

 

Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest

US students who are at least 14 years old can apply for this scholarship of $10,000. Applicants must design a greeting card using a photo, piece of artwork, or computer graphic for the front image. Submissions must be submitted as JPEGs (.jpg). The deadline is March 1, 2018.

 

Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest

US high school students interested in art can apply to win one of eight national awards ranging from $500 to $10,000. Applicants must submit an original piece of art with a patriotic theme. The first-place winner receives $10,000 and a plaque, as well as airfare to and two nights' lodging for the VFW Auxiliary National Convention. The winner's art will also be featured on the cover of the VFW Auxiliary magazine and the Auxiliary website. The deadline is March 31, 2018.

 

Hobby- and Activity-Based Scholarships

 

 

Alberta E. Crowe Star of Tomorrow Scholarship

All female 12th grade and college students on bowling teams can enter to win one prize of $6,000 by submitting a completed application along with two reference letters and an essay of no more than 500 words. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2017.

 

Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow Scholarship

All male 12th grade and college students on bowling teams can enter to win one prize of $6,000 by submitting a completed application along with two reference letters and an essay of no more than 500 words. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2017.

 

WIA Student Pilot Scholarship

Any high school student who is an active member of Women in Aviation, International (WAI) can can apply for this $3,000 scholarship. Applicants must submit a completed WAI form, two recommendation letters, a 500-word essay, a resume, copies of all aviation licenses and medical records, and the last three pages of the applicant’s pilot logbook, if applicable. The deadline for submission is November 13, 2017.

 

Marine Band Concerto Competition for High School Musicians

US high school students who play a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument can apply to win a $500 or $2,500 scholarship by submitting a completed application form, a recommendation letter, and an audio recording of their performing a piece of music chosen from a list of works. All submissions are due by November 15, 2017.

 

SBO Magazine Music Student Scholarship

Students in grades 4-12 can apply for this essay contest to win one of 10 $1,000 prizes. Essays must be 250 words or less and answer the contest's theme. Last year's theme was "A Note To My Parents, I Love My School Music Program Because ... "

 

Technology Addiction Awareness Scholarship

All US high school students can apply for a chance to win a $1,000 prize. Applications must be submitted along with a 140-character message that completes the following statement: “Instead of spending time with technology, I'd rather ... ” The top 10 applicants will be contacted and invited to write a 500- to 1,000-word essay on technology addiction. The winner will be selected from this 10. Applications for this year's contest are due January 30, 2018.

 

Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

Any full-time student aged 8-18 can apply to win one of 20 $10,000 scholarships. Applicants must show outstanding classical music achievement; eligibility also depends on financial need. Students must submit at least two audio samples of their music along with tax forms, transcripts, and other supporting documents. There are three application cycles each year. This year's deadlines are October 2, 2017; January 8, 2018; and March 5, 2018.

 

Davidson Fellows Award

US students aged 18 or younger who have completed a "significant piece of work" in one of the categories listed here can apply for this scholarship. Applicants compete for large prizes of $10,000, $25,000, and $50,000. This year's deadline is February 14, 2018.

 

BMI Student Composer Awards Program

US and international students (in the Western Hemisphere) younger than 28 can apply to win a scholarship of up to $5,000. Each applicant must submit an audio recording of an original music composition along with legible manuscripts.

 

Eagle Scout of the Year Award

US students aged 15 or older who are registered and active members of a Boy Scout Troop, Varsity Scout Team, or Venturing Crew can be nominated to win a scholarship of up to $10,000. Applicants must be active in their religious institutions and have received the corresponding Boy Scout religious emblem and the Eagle Scout Award. They must also have shown practical citizenship in their churches, schools, Scouting groups, and communities. The nomination and application forms must be received by the applicant's corresponding department (state) headquarters by March 1.

 

National High School Oratorical Contest

US high school students under the age of 20 can apply to receive a maximum scholarship of $18,000. Students will first need to compete in their local oratorical contests and deliver a prepared speech on a particular topic. Winners will then advance to the national competition.

 

Location-Based Scholarships

 

 

Meriwest Annual High School Essay Competition

Applicants must be in grades 9-12,  have an average GPA of at least 2.0, and live in one of the following California counties: Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, or San Francisco. Students who live in Arizona's Pima County are also eligible. Students who live outside these counties can still enter the contest if they are members of the Meriwest Credit Union.

 

Take Stock in Children Scholarship

Any students in grades 6-9 who attend a public school in Hillsborough County, Florida, have a 2.5 GPA or higher, and qualify for free or reduced lunches may apply. Prizes range from $1,000 to $10,000. The application period opens in November.

 

Diverse Minds Writing Challenge

Applicants must be US students in grades 9-12 and attend school in the metro area of New York City (all five boroughs); Washington, DC; Atlantic City, New Jersey; or the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware and Maryland). Students can win up to $5,000. To enter, applicants must create a children’s book that addresses themes of tolerance and diversity, and promotes a greater understanding of different cultures, lifestyles, and beliefs. The book can be either fiction or non-fiction and should target children between kindergarten and 5th grade. It must also include full-color illustrations.

 

Oklahoma's Promise — Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program

Oklahoma students currently enrolled in grades 8-10 and whose families make $55,000 or less annually can apply for the chance to receive full tuition for an Oklahoma public two-year college or four-year university, or partial tuition for an accredited Oklahoma private college. The application must include the first two pages of the applicant's most recent federal tax return. The deadline to apply is July 2, 2018.

 

Easy Scholarships

 

 

$2,000 "No Essay" College Scholarship

Any student can apply by simply registering on the website. A winner is chosen each month to receive $2,000. The deadline to apply is the last day of each month.

 

$1,000 Cappex Easy College Money Scholarship

Any high school student who registers and completes a profile at cappex.com will be entered into a monthly drawing to receive $1,000. The deadline to apply is the end of each month.

 

Top Ten List Scholarship

Any US student 13 or older can apply for the chance to win a $1,500 scholarship. Applicants must respond to the following statement in no more than 250 words: “Create a Top Ten List of the top ten reasons you should get this scholarship.” The deadline is December 31, 2017.

 

Wells Fargo CollegeSTEPS Program Sweepstakes

Students aged 14 or older can apply for this scholarship by simply registering for the CollegeSTEPS program. Awards are $5,000 each. The deadline is June 30, 2018.

 

What's Next?

Too old for these scholarships? Check out these 21 scholarships that you can apply to in your senior year of high school.

Need more money than what these scholarships are offering? Check out our list of 15 amazing full-ride scholarships and 81 colleges that offer full-ride scholarships.

 

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

 

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