Laura Berlinsky-Schine 9 min read 11th Grade, Scholarships

30 College Scholarships for High School Juniors


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

 

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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.

 

30 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 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.

 

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.

 

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 U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917, the year John F. Kennedy was born. Include an analysis of the obstacles, risks, and consequences associated with the act. The essay may concern an issue at the local, state, national, or international level.

 

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 levels. (Find more community service scholarships here.)

 

11. Samsung American Legion Scholarship (Suspended for 2020) 

 

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. 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.

 

13. 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.

 

14. Voice of Democracy

 

Scholarship award: $30,000 (first place)

Open to: Students in 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.”

 

15. “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. 

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16. $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. 

 

17. FieldLevel Athletic Recruiting No-Essay Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $1,000 

Open to: High school athletes with the goal of getting recruited to play a sport in college

 

Fill out a profile on FieldLevel to automatically qualify for this generous scholarship, along with gaining exposure to over 23,000 college coaches. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of winning. 

 

 18. Scholarcash Role Model Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $1,000

Open to: Any student 

 

Share your role model—whether they’re a family member, coach, teacher, sports idol, movie star, or character from a book—explaining what they mean to you and what you’ve learned from them.

 

19. 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. 

 

20. 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. 

 

21. 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.  

 

22. 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.  

 

23. The Christian Connector Scholarship

 

Scholarship award: $2,500 

Open to: High school students with an 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.

 

24. 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. 

 

25. 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

 

26. Drive2Life Contest

 

Scholarship award: $1,000

Open to: Grades 6-12 

 

Future directors and screenwriters will love this scholarship opportunity, as the main requirement is to submit a storyboard or script promoting the importance of wearing a seatbelt. In addition to the award, winners also receive a trip to New York City to have their PSA filmed and will be featured on Teen Kids News

 

27. 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, past winning essays can be found on the FRA’s website

 

28. 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 made a positive impact on 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. 

 

29. 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.

 

30. 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. 

 

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!

 

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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.