Senior year is probably the busiest time for high school students because of all the tests, classes, and extracurriculars that they have to juggle all at the same time. However, they should also invest effort in preparing for college admissions and looking for scholarships for high school seniors that can help them minimize student loans.
There are several scholarships given by different organizations and colleges to students they find deserving. These scholarships vary in amount and eligibility and unlike loans, students do not have to pay their benefactor back after graduation.
In this article, we will discuss why college scholarships are important, some tips on how to get a scholarship, and the best seniors scholarships that can help you get into your dream college.
Table of Contents
Why scholarships for seniors are important
While there are colleges that offer Merit Scholarships, there are many others that do not. That is why learning about various private and public scholarships available in your area is the goal of this article.
To understand the importance of getting a scholarship, we should first look at how much college cost. According to CollegeBoard, the following figures represent the estimated tuition cost for college:
|Type of College||Average Published Yearly Tuition and Fees|
|Public Two-Year College (in-district students)||$3,440|
|Public Four-Year College (in-state students)||$9,410|
|Public Four-Year College (out-of-state students)||$23,890|
|Private Four-Year College||$32,410|
Aside from the tuition fee, college students also have to pay for books, supplies, food, and housing. That’s quite a lot of money and a lot of student debt to think of after graduation. In fact, CBS claims that 43 million Americans have student debt.
Scholarships are essential in such a way that it lessens the cost of college, therefore, also lessening the pressure and stress for most students. Some organizations and universities even offer a full ride into college so researching for scholarships and working hard to get one is truly worth your time.
Tips to get scholarships for seniors
It is really your lucky day because aside from giving you an idea about the best scholarships for high school seniors (which we will do later), we have also compiled some useful tips on how to apply and receive scholarships. We are talking about thousands of scholarship money here so you better stay focused.
Tip #1: Research
There are many national and local scholarships you can apply for if you will only dedicate time to research. You must visit each scholarship’s website and review the requirements to see if you are eligible. If you find yourself overwhelmed with national scholarships that have too many applicants, you can try to look for scholarships that fit your niche. For instance, if you are good at writing, there may be a local scholarship that finances those students who have excellent writing skills. You won’t find the application that hard because it focuses on your strongest skill in the first place.
Tip #2: Apply to more than one scholarship
The common mistake of some students is that they only apply for one or two scholarships. You must understand that there are a lot of students looking for scholarships for seniors and the competition is always high. You should always put on your A-game or apply to a lot of scholarships, both large and small, for higher chances of receiving one.
Tip #3: Put effort in your application
Sometimes, scholarship requirements can be quite demanding. This is why some students are quick to leave the website of organizations where they will have to put a lot of effort into the application process. What you have to realize is that if you really want to gain something, you have to work for it. Besides, you will be receiving a significant amount once you qualified so your effort won’t be wasted
Tip #4: Learn from past winners
If you decide to join scholarship competitions, a good tip will be to research the past winners to give you a clue about what the committee is looking for in a scholarship grantee. You can see the list of winners most of the time on the scholarship website.
Tip #5: Note the deadline of submissions
If you followed tip no. 2 and applied to multiple scholarships for seniors, you should keep a list of the submission deadlines and religiously visit their websites for any changes. This will help you be more organized in your applications especially if you need to ask your teachers for recommendation letters. A good tool to keep you organized is the google spreadsheet. You can also use the notes or memo function of your phone or download third-party apps that can give you reminders.
Best scholarships for High School Seniors
Some people look at the potential for millions of scholarships for high school seniors and think “My chances are slim. Why bother?” If you haven’t applied to any scholarship yet, our guesses are that’s how you’ve felt last year, maybe the year before.
Here’s the thing — you’ve got NOTHING to lose from applying, and thousands to lose from “what-if-ing” yourself out of it!
Do not worry. There’s still time! If you are asking, “what scholarships can I apply for as senior high school?” read on to learn the answer.
Note: The following scholarships are not arranged in any particular order.
Fountainhead Essay Contest
Eligibility: Grades 11 and 12 students
The Fountainhead Essay Contest Scholarship is one of 2 scholarships in this list that is offered by Ayn Rand. Applicants can be either juniors or seniors in high school.
Students can choose to answer one of three prompts in an essay format, and the grand prize winner will receive $10,000! You should, therefore, enhance your essay writing skills before you join this contest. One of the most important points you have to learn is how to write a thesis statement because your introduction dictates whether they will choose you or not.
To learn more about the Fountainhead Essay Contest, click here to visit their website.
Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest
Eligibility: High school senior, undergraduate, and graduate students
The Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest Scholarship is the other scholarship offered by Ayn Rand. Like Fountainhead, students are able to choose 1 of 3 prompts to address in an essay format and submit it.
However, this contest has a wider scope since it is open to high school senior, undergraduate, and graduate students and the highest award they can receive is a larger amount than Fountainhead by $25,000.
To learn more about the Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest, click here to visit their website.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship
Eligibility: High school seniors except for children or grandchildren of Coca-cola employees
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship is awarded to a total of 150 students of $20,000 each. GPA, extracurricular activities, and community service are among the primary criteria of how Coca-Cola chooses its scholars.
To learn more about the Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship, click here to visit their website.
Elks Foundation Scholarship
Amount: $4,000 – $ 50,000
Eligibility: High school seniors
500 High School seniors have the chance to receive the Elks Foundation Scholarship, which can be anywhere from $4,000 to $50,000 in reward money.
$50,000 is the highest amount offered to winning applicants. With 500 winners selected, students also have a higher chance of winning some money reward — unlike scholarships that are only awarded to one student per year.
To learn more about the Elks Foundation Scholarship, click here to visit their website.
Equitable Excellence Scholarship
Amount: $2,500, $10,000, or $25,000
Eligibility: High school seniors
A student from each state receives the Equitable Excellence Scholarship of $2,500, $10,000, or $25,000. Meanwhile, the winning schools will get $1,000 dollars for each student who received the scholarship.
This is another scholarship that is specifically for High School seniors.
To learn more about the Equitable Excellence Scholarship, click here to visit their website.
Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship
Amount: Varies depending on location
Eligibility: High school seniors
The Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship is exclusively for High School seniors, which means you don’t have to compete with multiple grade levels.
The amount of the award varies depending on your location but you can get as high as $100,000!
To learn more about the Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship, click here to visit their website.
Niche No Essay Scholarship
Eligibility: high school, college, and graduate school students
Another one of the scholarships for seniors that you can try for more than once a year is the Niche No Essay Scholarship. Every month, Niche awards $2,000 to a randomly selected student who applies to their scholarship.
The application takes maybe a minute to fill out and could result in potentially 2 grand or more for you — no essay needed.
Especially if you’ve already spent some time finding scholarships, you can see why short and sweet in exchange for a couple thousand is a pretty nice deal.
To learn more about the Niche No Essay Scholarship, click here to visit their website.
Unigo 10K Scholarship
Eligibility: US students 14 years old and above
Who couldn’t use $10,000 extra?
Unigo will pay you that much for only 250 words. That’s not even half a page! For the year 2020, the question is “Imagine a historical figure is brought back to life. Who is it? What’s their favorite mobile app?”
Easy? We’d say so.
Seniors Scholarships Essay Tip: When you are applying to scholarships that require any kind of writing, remember to address your audience.
To learn more about the Unigo 10K Scholarship, click here to visit their website.
Voice of Democracy Scholarship
Eligibility: High school seniors
The Voice of Democracy Scholarship is an interesting scholarship contest that requires it’s applicants to submit an audio recording of their “speech” or essay response to the given prompt.
The overall winner of the Voice of Democracy scholarship receives $30,000. Other applicants that place in different areas will win anywhere from $1,000 to $16,000.
And, true to the article’s title, this scholarship is another SENIORS ONLY scholarship, which narrows the pool of applicants for your high school senior.
To learn more about the Voice of Democracy Scholarship, click here to visit their website.
Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway
Eligibility: U.S. resident between ages 18-24, employees of Dr. Pepper and members of their immediate family are not allowed to apply
In order to get this scholarship, you should submit a video stating your goals and what you are willing to do to achieve it. 20 applicants will be selected through this and they will be asked to throw footballs at a giant Dr. Pepper can.
To learn more about the Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway, click here to visit their website.
The Gates Scholarship
Amount: covers all cost of attendance
Eligibility: High school seniors
This scholarship is awarded to 300 students with leadership skills to help them reach their potential. According to TGS, they will cover the cost of attendance of each student which includes tuition, fees, room, board, books, and transportation, and other personal costs.
To learn more about The Gates Scholarship, click here to visit their website.
Davidson Fellows Scholarship
Eligibility: U.S. citizen or a Permanent Resident who is 18 or younger
If you have done something significant in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Outside the Box, you can be awarded the Davidson Fellows Scholarship. Once successful, you would have to attend the awards ceremony at MIT.
To learn more about the Davidson Fellows Scholarship, click here to visit their website.
We do want to stress one thing with all of these scholarships for high school seniors— APPLY.
You’ve got nothing to lose from applying, but potential thousands to lose from thinking you don’t have a chance.
Maximize your scholarship potential and apply to all of these!
To review, the best seniors scholarships are:
- Fountainhead Essay Contest
- Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest
- The Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship
- Elks Foundation Scholarship
- Equitable Excellence Scholarship
- Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship
- Niche No Essay Scholarship
- Unigo 10K Scholarship
- Voice of Democracy Scholarship
- Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway
- The Gates Scholarship
- Davidson Fellows Scholarship
Know of any other seniors scholarships? What scholarships has your student applied to? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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