15 College Scholarships for High School Juniors

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Your GPA and SAT don’t tell the full admissions story


Our chancing engine factors in extracurricular activities, demographic, and other holistic details. We’ll let you know what your chances are at your dream schools — and how to improve your chances!

Calculate your acceptance chances

Think it’s too early to apply for a scholarship? If you’re a high school junior, think again. There are many college scholarships open to 11th graders and other students who aren’t yet seniors. So, what’s available? Here’s your guide to top scholarships for juniors.


Are you applying to schools and want to know your admissions chances? Calculate your chances right now and understand your odds before applying.


Why Scholarships Matter


Scholarships can help offset the cost of college tuition and other expenses, such as room, board, and textbooks. Unlike loans, you don’t have to pay them back, so they can be enormously helpful to you throughout your education.


Receiving a merit scholarship is also an honor that can help you get into a college. If you receive the award as a junior, you’ll be able to include it on your college application.


It’s a good idea to start early because you’ll save time during your busy senior year. It can also give you peace of mind to know that you have supplemental income to add to your college fund. You may even be able to attend a college you may not have been able to afford otherwise.


15 College Scholarships for High School Juniors


1. Alexander Hamilton Awards


  • Scholarship award: $500
  • Open to: high school juniors


Thirty-five awards are given to underserved students based on academic, personal, service, and entrepreneurial accomplishments. Along with receiving the monetary award, honorees participate in a five-year empowerment program at no cost to them.



2. American Legion Oratorical Contest


  • Scholarship award: 18,000 (top prize); each state winner receives a $1,500 scholarship, and those who advance past the first round receive an additional $1,500 scholarship
  • Open to: High school students under age 20


This oratorical content has a mission of instilling a deeper knowledge of and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution in high school students. Students must speak about some aspect of the Constitution, emphasizing citizens’ obligations to the government.



3. Carson Scholars


  • Scholarship award: $1,000
  • Open to: students in grades 4-11


Carson Scholars give back to their communities through community service. They must have a minimum GPA of 3.75, and only one student per high school may apply.



4. The Coolidge Scholarship


  • Scholarship award: full ride, including tuition, room, board, and expenses for four years of undergraduate study
  • Open to: high-school juniors


Coolidge scholars display academic excellence, as well as a demonstrated interest in and appreciation for public policy and the values of Calvin Coolidge. Award recipients participate in an orientation in Plymouth Noth, Vermont the summer before their senior year of high school and return for one week for the next three summers.


Top applicants are designated “Coolidge Senators” and are invited to participate in the Senators Summit in Washington, D.C.



5. Doodle 4 Google


  • Scholarship award: $30,000 plus $50,000 tech grant for the recipient’s school
  • Open to: K-12


Open to young artists, Google announces a theme for the competition in January and features the National Winner’s artwork on the Google homepage.

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6. Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship


  • Scholarship award: $1,000 (first place)
  • Open to: students in grades 9-12


For this scholarship, students submit a personal statement responding to a prompt or topic of their choice. Applicants may reuse an essay used for another purpose, such as a class or other scholarship application.



7. John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest


  • Scholarship award: $10,000 (first place)
  • Open to: high school students in grades 9-12 under the age of 20


This competition challenges students to write an original essay in which they grapple with political courage as described by John F. Kennedy in his book, Profiles of Courage. This year’s topic is:


“Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during or after 1917.”



8. National Merit Scholarship Program


  • Scholarship award: $2,500
  • Open to: high school juniors


Your PSAT scores qualify you to be considered for this prestigious award. Semifinalists will complete applications through their school, once notified of their status by National Merit. Scores are ranked within states, so students from higher-scoring states are less likely to become semifinalists. Approximately 7,500 students receive scholarship awards. To learn more about the process, read How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.



9. NHSS Foundation Earth Day Awards


  • Scholarship award: $500 (10 recipients)
  • Open to: all high school students


Applicants submit a written explanation of an environmental project they are conducting or planning to initiate for Earth Day. In their applications, they must describe the process, impact, and future impact of the project. Students are also asked to include a creative component, such as a video, painting, drawing, or collage, to supplement the project.



10. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards


  • Scholarship award: $5,000 plus $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a nonprofit charitable organization of the recipient’s choice (national recipients)
  • Open to: students in grades 5-12


This award recognizes students for outstanding service to others at the local, state and national level. (Find more community service scholarships here.)



11. Samsung American Legion Scholarship


  • Scholarship award: $10,000 each (National Scholars, two from each region)
  • Open to: High school juniors


In order to qualify for this scholarship, you must have attended one session of The American Legion Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program and be a direct descendant of a wartime U.S. military veteran who served on active duty during at least one of the periods of war officially designated as eligibility dates. The scholarship is awarded based on academic record, involvement in school, and community service.



12. Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest


  • Scholarship award: $1,000 plus a Signet Classics library for the student’s school or public library
  • Open to: high school juniors and seniors


Choose one from five essay topics concerning the classic selected by the publisher. This year’s book is Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.



13. United States Senate Youth Program


  • Scholarship award: $10,000
  • Open to: rising high school juniors and seniors


Students apply for this competition through state selection contacts. They must display leadership by serving in an elected or appointed position within an organization related to student government, education, public affairs, or community service. Two “student leaders” from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity will spend a week in Washington.



14. Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Science Competition


  • Scholarship award: $10,000
  • Open to: students in grades K-12 (separated by age groups)


Students submit projects that show engagement in real-world problem-solving with a strong emphasis on STEM. All entries must include an abstract, description, bibliography, and five sample web pages.


For more STEM scholarships, check out A Guide to STEM Scholarships.



15. Voice of Democracy


  • Scholarship award: $30,000 (first place)
  • Open to: grades 9-12


In this audio-essay program, students respond to a theme regarding their democratic and patriotic values in a recorded essay. This year’s theme is “Why My Vote Matters.”


Tips for Applying for Scholarships


Explore your options.


There are many other niche scholarships and resources available. Do your research to find a scholarship most appropriate for your interests and strengths.



Know the terminology.


A need-based scholarship is awarded based on demonstrated financial need. A merit-based scholarship is awarded based on qualities such as academic strength or a winning project.



Read the rules carefully.


An error can lead to your disqualification from a competition. Make sure you understand all the rules and submit all the necessary components.


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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.