40 College Scholarships for High School Juniors

Do you know how to improve your profile for college applications?

See how your profile ranks among thousands of other students using CollegeVine. Calculate your chances at your dream schools and learn what areas you need to improve right now — it only takes 3 minutes and it's 100% free.

Show me what areas I need to improve

What’s Covered:

 

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.

 

40 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. CollegeVine Scholarships

 

Scholarship award: Up to $500

Open to: High school students

 

To be awarded CollegeVine’s weekly scholarships, you simply have to join our free admissions platform and earn karma, the free CollegeVine “currency.” You can earn karma by reviewing essays through our Peer Review tool and answering questions in our Community Forums. After earning karma, you can enter the scholarship drawing, and if you win, you can use the money to cover any educational costs.

 

4. 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.

 

5. 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 and a demonstrated interest in and appreciation for public policy and the values of Calvin Coolidge. Award recipients participate in an orientation in Plymouth Notch, 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.

 

6. 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 each January and features the National Winner’s artwork on the Google homepage after the contest closes in March.

 

7. 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.

 

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. 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 levels. (Find more community service scholarships here.)

 

10. 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.

 

11. 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.

 

12. 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.

 

13. Voice of Democracy

 

Scholarship award: $30,000 (first place)

Open to: Students in grades 9-12

 

Students respond to a theme regarding their democratic and patriotic values in a recorded essay in this audio-essay program. This year’s theme is “America: Where Do We Go From Here?”

 

14. “Be Bold” No-Essay Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $10,000

Open to: All students 

 

Students at all education levels from high school to graduate school are challenged to create the boldest profile according to these characteristics: earnestness, determination, and moving. Carpe diem—preference is given to applicants who apply early. 

 

15. $1,000 Cappex Easy College Money Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $1,000

Open to: High school, community college, and college students 

 

Truly an “easy” scholarship to apply for, the short, simple-to-fill-out application asks a few basic questions such as your GPA, the colleges you’re considering applying to, and what you intend to major in. 

 

16. The Fountainhead Essay Contest

 

Scholarship award: $5,000 first place, $1,000 second place, and $500 third place 

Open to: 11th and 12th graders 

 

Perfect for students who love to read, write, and think about books, the Fountainhead Essay contest challenges applicants to write an 800- to 1,600-word essay about Ayn Rand’s novel, The Fountainhead. 

 

17. SelectBlinds $1,000 Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $1,000

Open to: High school and college students 

 

Show off your innovative spirit and highlight what you’re passionate about for the opportunity to win this $1,000 award. To enter, share a unique way to use window coverings (other than covering windows) or highlight a technology that you think can improve window coverings. Additionally, applicants are asked to submit a 250- to 750-word essay answering one of four prompts. 

 

18. Unigo Flavor of the Month Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $1,500

Open to: Students ages 14+

 

Ice cream lovers and creative writers rejoice. There’s a scholarship just for you! Submit an essay no longer than 250 words answering the question: “If you were an ice cream flavor, which would you be and why?” Get creative and share the story of the rocky road you’ve traveled to college or how you’re as sweet as chocolate.  

 

19. American College Foundation Visionary Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $5,000

Open to: High school students in grades 9-12 

 

Write a 500-word essay on why college is important to you, and submit your most recent high school transcript for a chance to win this robust award. Financial need is not considered when choosing a winner, but punctuation, grammar, ability to follow guidelines, originality, and overall quality is—so be sure to submit your best work.  

 

20. The Christian Connector Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $2,500 

Open to: High school students with interest in attending a Christian college or university

 

A can’t-miss scholarship opportunity for students thinking about attending a Christian college, university, or Bible college, simply fill out the form on their website to put yourself in the running for this award. Note, the scholarship is only good at qualifying schools—any school that is a member of the CCCU, NACCAP, or ABHE automatically qualifies.

 

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

 

21. CollegeXpress One Question Scholarship 

 

Scholarship award: $1,000 

Open to: Students ages 13+ 

 

The premise of CollegeXpress’s One Question Scholarship is simple, answer one question—“What’s the one question you would ask a college or university right now?”–in one sentence for your chance at winning a $1,000 scholarship. 

 

22. Courageous Persuaders Video Scholarship Competition

 

Scholarship award: $3,000 grand prize 

Open to: High school students

 

Create a 30-second (or shorter) commercial delivering a message about the dangers of drinking or texting while driving—the grand prize-winning video will be run on television. Looking for ideas? Check out last year’s winning video

 

23. Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) Americanism Essay Contest

 

Scholarship award: $5,000 grand prize 

Open to: Grades 7-12

 

The FRA—a group representing the sea Services: U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard—welcomes students to write a 350-word essay promoting the spirit of Americanism and patriotism. Submissions must be made through an FRA member of a local FRA branch. If you’re looking for inspiration, you can find past winning essays on the FRA’s website

 

24. Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

 

Scholarship award: $10,000

Open to: Students ages 8 to 18

 

A scholarship for inspiring, public-spirited young people, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes rewards students who have positively impacted their community and environment. Past winners of the award have organized and led extraordinary service activities, and demonstrate characteristics such as positivity, courage, generosity, and high moral purpose. 

 

25. Jane Austen Society of North America (JANSA) Essay Contest

 

Scholarship award: $1,000

Open to: High school students in grades 9-12

 

Literature lovers will welcome this opportunity to win an award for college. To compete, write an essay on a work of Jane Austen’s (the topic changes yearly; 2020’s contest is focused on her female villains). In addition to a scholarship, winners also receive a one-year JASNA membership, a set of Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen’s novels, and their winning essay is published on JANSA’s website.

 

26. The James Alan Cox Foundation for Student Photojournalists

 

Scholarship award: $2,500

Open to: High school students, college students, and graduate students 

 

Tell a story with still photography—think newspaper, not art gallery—to earn a chance at a $2,500 scholarship from the James Alan Cox Foundation for Student Photojournalists. In addition to their photo submission, applicants are asked to include an essay, two letters of recommendation, a transcript, and a portfolio. 

 

27. Annual DNA Day Essay Contest

 

Scholarship award: $1,000 for first place and a $1,000 genetics material grant for winner’s school, $600 for second place and a $600 genetics material grant for winner’s school, $400 for third place and a $400 genetics material grant for winner’s school, $100 for ten honorable mentions

Open to: High school students

 

The American Society of Human Genetics hosts an annual scholarship competition to support National DNA Day. Students must write an essay that answers a unique question each year that displays an understanding of important concepts in genetics.

 

28. Teen Entrepreneur Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $3,000

Open to: High school students

 

Are you a young entrepreneur or interested in starting a business one day? The Teenage Entrepreneur Society is awarding one high school student $3,000 to further your education or business. To apply, you must talk about the support systems in your life that have helped you succeed in entrepreneurship.

 

29. $500 High School Junior Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $500

Open to: High school juniors

 

Are you a high school junior in the Class of 2023? If so, this might be the easiest scholarship you apply for. Visit niche.com, create an account, and you’ll be entered to win $500! If you win, you can use the money to pay for the college search process or apply the funds to your future education expenses.

 

30. CollegeXpress “Grill & Chill” Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $1,000

Open to: High school students

 

CollegeXpress’s “Grill and Chill” Scholarship has a quick and easy application process. Simply answer one question—“What’s your favorite summertime food?”–in one sentence for your chance at winning a $1,000 scholarship. 

 

31. Americans United’s Student Essay Contest

 

Scholarship award: $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place

Open to: High school juniors and seniors

 

This annual essay contest by Americans United challenges students to write a 750 to 1,000-word essay about why religious freedom and the separation of church and state is important for them and their communities.

 

32. Speak Up! Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $2,000

Open to: High school juniors and seniors

 

The National Society of High School Scholars is awarding five students involved in communications classes like Yearbook, Public Speaking, or Visual Design a $2,000 scholarship. Students must answer the following two questions in a 500 to 800-word essay: “What do you think are the most important aspects of clear and effective communication? What have you done to practice and perfect the art of communications?”

 

33. Claes Nobel Good Earth Sustainability Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $2,000

Open to: High school juniors and seniors

 

The National Society of High School Scholars is awarding five students with a passion for sustainability, conservation, and preserving the earth a $2,000 scholarship. Students must answer the following question in a 500 to 800-word essay: “Mr. Claes Nobel said: ‘ I hope soon, you shall gain a new world view that fosters global stability and the cultivation of love and virtue.’ What do you think Mr. Nobel meant by this statement, and what does it mean to you personally?”

 

34. Annual Catholic College Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $1,500

Open to: High school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors

 

The $1,500 Catholic College Scholarship Drawing is open to all high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors interested in attending a Catholic college or university.

 

35. Technology Addiction Awareness Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $1,000

Open to: High school students, undergraduate students, graduate students

 

To raise awareness about technology addiction, Digital Responsibility requests students to answer this prompt in 140 characters: “Instead of spending time with technology, I’d rather…” Ten finalists selected will be asked to write a 500 to 1,000-word essay about technology addiction, and the winner will receive the $1,000 scholarship.

 

36. Minecraft Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $2,000

Open to: High school and college students

 

Do you love playing Minecraft? If so, this annual scholarship awarded by Apex Hosting is the perfect opportunity for you. To enter, students with a 3.0 or higher GPA must write a short 500-word essay about how Minecraft can positively influence the future of education and the workforce.

 

37. UniMovers Working Student Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $1,000

Open to: High school juniors, seniors, and college students

 

UniMovers understands the challenges of balancing school and work, so they want to award working students a $1,000 scholarship. Students who have been employed for at least one year during school and are planning to attend college within the next year can apply during two application periods—either before December 15th or June 15th. To enter, students must write an essay about “a time in your life when you, your family, or a friend moved away and how it impacted you.”

 

38. Phyliss J. McCarthy Scholarship for Excellence in Writing

 

Scholarship award: $1,000

Open to: High school juniors or seniors

 

A scholarship for aspiring writers, the Phyliss J. McCarthy Scholarship by Learncurious is offering one grand-prize winner a scholarship of $1,000 for answering one of three prompts in a 2,000-word essay.

 

39. Courage to Grow Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $500

Open to: High school juniors or seniors

 

This scholarship that renews each month is simple—students must explain why they believe they should be awarded the scholarship in 250 words or less. Students must be juniors or seniors in high school with at least a 2.5 GPA.

 

40. NSHSS-DECA ICDC Conference Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $1,000

Open to: High school juniors or seniors

 

Students who are members of both the National Society of High School Scholars and the Distributive Education Clubs of America with at least a 3.5 GPA interested in pursuing a career in marketing, finance, hospitality, or business can apply for this scholarship. Students must describe their career plans and explain how DECA and NSHSS have prepared them to succeed in a 500-word personal statement.

 

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. The more specific the scholarship, the better your chances of winning. Similarly, local awards are easier to win than big, national competitions.

 

Know the terminology.

 

A need-based scholarship is awarded based on demonstrated financial need. A merit-based scholarship is awarded based on academic or extracurricular talents. Most external scholarships such as the ones listed above are merit scholarships, though some do take into account a student’s financial need.

 

The best way to win merit scholarships, however, is not by applying to external scholarship. You’re much more likely to win more scholarship money by applying to lower-ranked schools where your profile is especially strong. See our post The Secret to Winning Merit Scholarships for more info.

 

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. Be sure to submit them early or on-time as well!

 

Want access to expert college guidance — for free? When you create your free CollegeVine account, you will find out your real admissions chances, build a best-fit school list, learn how to improve your profile, and get your questions answered by experts and peers—all for free. Sign up for your CollegeVine account today to get a boost on your college journey.


Short Bio
Brittany Sawyer is a graduate of Grand Canyon University, where she majored in Marketing and minored in Professional Writing. She works as a freelance copywriter and lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and her golden retriever, Sedona. When Brittany isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, trying new coffee shops, and traveling.

Don't miss out on the best high school & college admissions resources!

Join thousands of students and parents getting exclusive high school, test prep, and college admissions information.