10 Awesome Scholarships for Community Service + Volunteering
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Calling all service-oriented students! Did you know your good deeds not only benefit the community — they can also help you save money on your college education?
There are plenty of scholarships for students who are dedicated to their communities and bettering the world. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best awards for college-bound high schoolers who are committed to making a difference through volunteering and community service.
10 Community Service Scholarships
Amount: Varies (in 2020, scholarships ranged from $500 to $5,000)
Deadline: Varies by campaign
Eligibility: Citizens or residents of the U.S. or Canada age 25 or younger
Application Requirements: Complete the specific campaign and upload a picture of your work
DoSomething.org offers scholarships that range in prize amount based on the specific campaign. All you need to do is sign up for the community service campaign, complete it (sometimes in a matter of minutes), and upload a photo as proof that you did it. Upcoming campaigns include the Road to Self-Care, in which students simply need to share a mental health checklist to encourage friends to stay calm and safe on the road, and Why We Should Care, where students take a quiz and educate friends on an important social justice issue.
Amount: $2,500 (State Honorees); $5,000 + $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a nonprofit charitable organization of your choice (National Honorees)
Deadline: November 10 (2020 deadline)
- U.S. residents or residents of Japan, India, China, or Brazil
- Grades 5-12
- Engaged in a volunteer activity within 12 months prior to the application date
- Student/parent agreement
- Certification by eligible certifier (school principal, head of a county 4-H organization, Girl Scout council, American Red Cross chapter, YMCA or a Points of Light Global Network member)
One of the largest programs recognizing youth volunteer work, Prudential honors middle- and high-school students for their service to others at local, state, and national levels. Since 1995, the program has recognized more than 140,000 service-oriented youth. In addition to the U.S., Prudential offers awards to students in Japan, India, China, and Brazil.
Deadline: March 1 (2021)
Eligibility: U.S. students grades 9-12
Application Requirements: Complete the two-part application
- Part 1: describe your role in and the impact of an activity that advances racial equity, understanding and mutual respect among members of your school or community
- Part 2: completed by a sponsor
The Princeton Prize in Race Relations (PPRR) honors high school students who have made a commitment to advancing racial equity and understanding in their schools and/or communities through volunteer activities. In addition to a scholarship, recipients are awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Symposium on Race at Princeton University.
Amount: $2,500, $10,000 or $25,000 + $1,000 grant to winner’s high school
Deadline: Opens September 1 (deadline not yet posted)
- Citizens or legal residents of the U.S. or Puerto Rico
- High school seniors
- Plan to attend a two- or four-year college or university in the U.S.
Application Requirements: Complete the application
The Equitable Excellence Scholarship recognizes students who demonstrate courage, strength, and wisdom through volunteer service in their communities. Students come from a wide range of backgrounds but are “united by their drive, determination, and strong character.” Equitable awards $1.8 million in college scholarships annually.
Amount: Varies by state
Deadline: May 10
Eligibility: High school seniors
- Summary of community service
- Information about the college you’ll be attending
Zakat allocates $20,000 in scholarships for college-bound high school seniors who have volunteered or engaged in community service. Awards are distributed to students in different regions in the U.S. where the organization has a strong presence (Illinois, North Carolina, Delaware, DMV [DC/Maryland/Virginia area], California, and New Jersey).
Deadline: April 15
Eligibility: Permanent or current residents of the U.S. or Canadian between the ages of 8 and 18
- Letter of reference from an adult advocate
- Two additional letters of reference
- Project summary
- Project essay
- Color photo of the applicant
A program of the Young Heroes Project, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates “public-spirited” youth from diverse backgrounds who have made a significant positive impact on people, their communities, and the environment. In order to be eligible, applicants must have organized and led an extraordinary service activity that has clearly benefited others.
Amount: $20,000, $15,000, $10,000, $7,500, or $5,000
Deadline: February 28, 2022
Eligibility: Students age 21 or younger who have contributed at least 100 hours of volunteer work to the DAV or DAV Auxiliary
Application Requirements: Complete the application and write an essay addressing what volunteering for veterans means to you
This scholarship honors volunteers who have demonstrated exemplary dedication to America’s veterans through volunteering with the DAV or DAV auxiliary. Scholarships may be applied to any accredited institution of higher learning.
Deadline: January 11 (2021)
- High school seniors attending school in the U.S. or its territories and commonwealths
- Plan to enroll full time at a four-year academic institution in the U.S.
- Minimum 3.0 GPA
Application Requirements: N/A (you can ask to be notified when the next application opens)
Established in honor of President Ronald Reagan, the GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program honors students who demonstrate exemplary leadership, integrity, and citizenship. Selected Scholars receive a scholarship renewable for up to three years and receive leadership development support.
Deadline: November 15, 2021
- U.S. citizens
- High school seniors
- Plan to attend four-year institutions full time
- FAFSA Student Aid Report
- Teacher evaluation
The Elks National Foundation awards 500 four-year scholarships annually. Award amounts are:
- First place: $50,000
- Second place: $40,000
- Third place: $30,000
- Fourth place: $20,000
- Runners up: $4,000
Students advance through local, district, and state levels before competing at the national level. In addition to the above application requirements, the top 20 national finalists are required to attend a mandatory, all-expenses-paid Leadership weekend in Chicago, where they will participate in an interview.
Deadline: Opens August 1, 2021
- High school seniors
- Attending school in the U.S.
- Plan to pursue a degree at an accredited U.S. postsecondary institution
Application Requirements: Complete the application
This scholarship recognizes high-achieving leaders who also make a commitment to making a “significant impact” on their schools and communities. Each year, 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are selected to receive the award. (NB: Children and grandchildren of employees, officers, or owners of Coca-Cola and its divisions and subsidiaries are not eligible to receive the scholarship.)
11. Bonus: CollegeVine Scholarships
Amount: Up to $500
Eligibility: High school students who are U.S. residents
Application Requirements: create a free CollegeVine account
We encourage all college-bound students to create a CollegeVine account to be entered to win a prize of $500 or more! For every activity you do via our site, such as creating a school list or using our financial aid calculator, you earn karma, the free CollegeVine “currency”. You can bid your karma to enter to win one of our weekly awards. If you don’t win, you’ll get your karma back and can “spend” it on essay reviews and expert advice. Learn more about the CollegeVine scholarships.
5 Tips for Applying
1. Start early
You don’t have to wait until senior year to start applying for scholarships. In fact, you shouldn’t! There are many scholarships for younger students, and even if you’re interested in an award for students heading to college soon, it’s always helpful to look early so you can begin to gather your materials and keep track of deadlines. You’ll be grateful to not have to deal with completing all the requirements while you’re also applying to colleges, too.
2. Cast a wide net
There are many, many scholarships from outside organizations and schools themselves. The more you apply for, the better your chances of winning. There’s no limit to how many awards you can apply to your education (although they may impact your need-based financial aid package).
3. Explore other niches
Niche scholarships, like those with a community service focus, are often easier to win than broader contests with few requirements because the pool of candidates tends to be much smaller. Research other niches that apply to you in addition to your volunteer work, such as a particular major you’re planning on pursuing or demographic, like race, ethnicity, or religion.
4. Polish your application materials
Your application for every scholarship should be your best work. Take the time to craft compelling essays or personal statements, and read over your application several times. Get another set of eyes on your scholarship applications, too — a guidance counselor, teacher, parent, or friend may be more likely to catch errors.
5. Check out school-specific and local scholarships
Some colleges, such as Davidson College, offer merit scholarships with a community service focus. Look into these awards at the schools you’re applying to, because they tend to be very generous. Just keep in mind that they’re usually highly competitive.
Learn more about scholarships and find additional resources, tips, and more.