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Duke University
Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Google Science Fair: Win $50k For College

As college costs continue to rise, families must often find additional financial assistance to help defray these expenses. CNN reported in 2016 that the average U.S. family was paying more than $100,000 out of pocket for a degree from a private four-year college. It’s no wonder that 85% of college students now receive some kind of financial aid. The good news is that there are other ways to offset costs as well. Many scholarship opportunities exist nationwide, and you could earn tens of thousands of dollars to use towards college.


In this post, we take a closer look at the Google Science Fair and how one lucky student can win $50,000 to use for college. If you are a STEM student looking for more scholarship opportunities, you won’t want to miss this post.

About the Google Science Fair

The Google Science Fair is among the most prestigious awards that a student can earn, and its $50,000 grand prize is proof. The Science Fair takes place online, rather than in person, which makes it easier for students around the world to enter. The objective posed to entrants is fairly simple: find a problem worth solving and develop a solution. This leaves the possibilities open to a nearly endless number of ideas and projects. Past entrants have included:


  • How can we improve the safety of Alzheimer’s patients?
  • Can a flashlight be battery free?
  • Can banana peels make plastic?


Students submit projects online either individually or in small teams. There is an extensive application, which basically includes each section of a scientific research project. Students may also submit an optional two-minute Youtube video or 20-slide Google slideshow. Google provides a slideshow that outlines the submission process so that you will know exactly what to expect before you login to upload your project.


Projects are judged by professionals who are experts in their fields. Judges score projects based on the following criteria:


  • Inspirational idea/entry
  • Capacity to make an impact
  • Passion for science/engineering
  • Excellence of method
  • Communication


There are almost 200 prizes awarded through this contest. One grand prize winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, and sponsors award $15,000 scholarships in special prize categories. 100 Regional Finalists also receive Google Chromebooks.

Requirements for Entering the Google Science Fair

Participants must be between 13-18 years of age and may enter only one project, as either an individual or as part of a team with up to three members.


Also entries must be submitted in one of the following languages: English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Hebrew, Polish, Japanese, Russian, Turkish, Portuguese, Korean, or Chinese (simplified or traditional).


The contest is held annually, and entries are generally accepted between mid-September and mid-December. Winners at the state and regional levels are announced in March and April, and global finalists are announced in May. You will find more up-to-date information about this year’s dates and deadlines on the contest page as the opening dates near.


To learn more about the rules, including entry restrictions and research guidelines, see Google’s 2018-2019 Science Fair Official Rules.

Tips for Submitting a Winning Project to the Google Science Fair

Choose a Winning Idea. Don’t necessarily run with the first project that pops into your head. Winning projects start with a winning idea, so it’s important to put ample time into your brainstorming process. Google does provide some tools to help you start thinking about your project topic, and we at CollegeVine have written about choosing science fair topics in the past. Don’t miss our posts How to Choose a Winning Science Fair Project Idea and A Beginner’s Guide to the Science Fair to learn more.


Use the Resources Available. While any work that you submit as a part of your project needs to be yours and yours alone (or that of your team, if you’re submitting a group project), there are no rules against using the resources available to you. This often means enlisting the help of teachers, mentors, and professionals in the field to provide you with the tools and knowledge needed for success. Remember, science is a collaborative effort.


In addition, Google provides a ton of tools for you to use as you work on your project. These include a collection of Google’s Past Projects and step-by-step instructions to guide you along the way. Follow this advice carefully to maximize your shot at a Google scholarship.


Complete Your Application In Advance. The online application will allow you to type your project into each field before you submit it, but you should never be writing something for the first time when you enter it into your application. Instead, write your entire paper in advance and put it through several rounds of editing and proofreading before you upload it. Make sure to have a second set of eyes give it a good look too, to ensure it is free of any embarrassing typos.


Once you have completed your project, consider submitting it to other STEM competitions as well. Most contests allow entries that have been submitted elsewhere (though check the full contest rules to confirm). You can find more STEM scholarships and competitions in our posts Prestigious STEM Competitions for High School Students and A Guide to STEM Scholarships.


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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.