10 Scholarships for High School Freshmen

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It’s never too early to apply for scholarships. In fact, there are plenty of scholarships available for students starting your freshman year of high school! Applying to scholarships at the beginning of high school gives you more time to find scholarships that are the right fit for you. There are many companies and organizations that offer awesome scholarships to high school students, it’s just a matter of getting a head start and applying! 

 

Here is our list of 10 scholarships that high school freshmen can apply to and some tips for how to write a strong application. 

 

10 Scholarships for High School Freshmen

 

1. Doodle for Google Competition

Amount: $30,000 or $5,000

Deadline: March 5

Eligibility: 

  • Kindergarten – 12th grade
  • U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. legal resident
  • Enrolled in a U.S. based school (including home school) or a school in Puerto Rico, Guam, or the U.S. Virgin Islands

Application requirements: 

  • Fill out entry form
  • Create your Doodle
  • Write an artist’s statement

 

If you are creative and artistic, this may be the scholarship for you! The Doodle for Google Competition asks applicants to design their own Google logo for the chance to have it featured on Google.com. Winners are also selected for scholarships and tech packages for their school. Each year, the theme of the competition changes (this year’s was “I am strong because…”). The doodles are judged on artistic merit, creativity, and theme communication. 

 

The competition is divided into five grade divisions: K-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10-12. Each year Google chooses one national winner to receive a $30,000 scholarship and four national finalists in each division to receive $5,000 scholarships.

 

2. John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest

Amount: $10,000, $3,000, $1,000, or $100 depending on what place

Deadline: January 15

Eligibility: 

  • 9th – 12th grade
  • U.S. students under the age of 20 enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program in the U.S. or U.S. citizens attending schools overseas.

Application requirements: 700-1,000 word essay with five sources properly cited

 

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest is a scholarship that goes to the best essay in the contest. The essay must “describe an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917.” It must include a minimum of five sources, which can include government documents, letters, newspaper articles, books, and/or personal interviews. Make sure to do your research on whoever you choose to write about!

 

This contest and scholarship is open to practically any U.S. high school student under the age of 20 and is an awesome opportunity for students with a knack for English and history.

 

3. VFW Auxiliary’s Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest

Amount: $31,500

Deadline: March 31 

Eligibility: 

  • 9th – 12th grade
  • U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. legal resident
  • Enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools.

Application requirements:

  • Two or three dimensional art
  • Entry form
  • Typed explanation of patriotism expressed in art (250 words or less)

 

This scholarship is an amazing opportunity for talented high school students to show off their art skills and earn scholarship money while doing so! This art contest gives you the option to create a two-dimensional or three-dimensional piece of art that depicts American patriotism. The scholarship has been around since 1979 and more than 4,000 students participate each year. 

 

There are multiple rounds of selection at the local, state, and national level. The state winners compete against one another for an ultimate prize of $31,500.

 

4. Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: April 15 

Eligibility: 

  • Ages 8-18
  • Permanent residents of the U.S. or Canada
  • Currently working on an inspiring service project or have done so within the past 12 months.
  • Working as an individual to lead Barron’s service work. The Barron Prize does not accept applications from large groups of young people.

Application Requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Project summary (250 word limit)
  • Project essay (1,500 word limit)
  • Letter from the lead reference
  • Two additional letters of recommendation
  • One color photo of the applicant

 

Have you led a community service project? Each year, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes honors 25 students from across the United States and Canada who have made a positive impact on their communities and/or the environment. Since 2000, the Barron Prize has honored 498 students and awarded over more than half a million dollars. Applicants who demonstrate heroic character qualities like courage, compassion, and perseverance are selected. 

 

5. Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: March 9

Eligibility: 

  • 14 years of age or older
  • High school, college, and university students enrolled in an academic program designed to conclude with a diploma or degree
  • Legal U.S. resident 

Application Requirements:

  • Entry form
  • Greeting card

 

This scholarship is a great opportunity if you enjoy arts and crafts. The contest is won by the student who creates the best greeting card, and the reward is $10,000 in scholarship money. Applicants must simply submit a photo, artwork or computer graphic for the front of a greeting card. The cards are judged on overall aesthetic appeal, quality of execution, creativity, and originality. Each month leading up to the deadline, judges select 100 cards which are posted to the Gallery Collection’s Facebook page for voting. The top 10 cards make it to the final and a winner is announced on May 17th. So channel your creative side and have fun while hopefully making some scholarship money!

 

6. Breakthrough Junior Challenge 

Amount: $250,000 college scholarship, $100,000 for the renovation or addition of a science lab, $50,000 for a teacher in the field of science or mathematics who has inspired the winning student.

Deadline: June 25

Eligibility: Students ages 13-18 worldwide

Application Requirements:

  • Short (three minute max) video demonstrating keen passion and knowledge of a complex scientific idea explored in an imaginative and engaging way
  • Review at least five other entries from other entrants

 

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge offers an extremely prestigious scholarship to young students who are passionate about science and technology. This challenge was founded by Yuri and Julia Milner. The submissions are judged on the student’s ability to communicate complex scientific ideas in engaging, illuminating, and imaginative ways. The Breakthrough Junior Challenge includes a special category this year for topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

If you are passionate about STEM, this is an amazing opportunity! 

 

7. Ayn Rand’s Anthem Essay Contest

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: April 29

Eligibility: 

  • 8th – 12th grade
  • Worldwide

Application Requirements: 600-1200 word essay based on the novel, Anthem, around one of the three predetermined topics.

 

Have you ever read one of Ayn Rand’s novels? If so, this scholarship might be the one for you. Each year the Ayn Rand Institute hosts an essay contest on Ayn Rand’s fiction. Essays are judged on whether the student can make a strong argument for his/her point of view. Judges are looking for clear, concise, and well-organized writing. This year’s applicants must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophical meaning of Anthem.

 

8. Think for Yourself Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 for first place, $1,000 for three runner-ups

Deadline: April 30

Eligibility: 

  • At least 13 years of age or older
  • U.S. legal resident 
  • Must enroll no later than the fall of 2026 in a post-secondary institution of higher education (2 or 4 year college or university, trade school, online or vocational school program).

Application Requirements: 500-800 word essay on one of the nine prompts

 

Let Grow’s “Think For Yourself” essay contest allows for students to reflect on topics such as the value of free speech, curiosity, and open mindedness, with intriguing prompts like: “Some people say young people should be shielded from controversial books, ideas or speakers, because these could be traumatizing or offensive. Who − if anyone − would you choose to decide what you could be exposed to? Why?” 

 

Past contest winners’ work have been published in leading newspapers such as USA Today and The New York Post.

 

9. Stuck at Prom

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: July 21

Eligibility: 

  • At least 14 years of age
  • Enrolled in high school or home school association during the 2020 – 2021 school year
  • Legal resident of the U.S. or Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec)

Application Requirements:

  • Entry form
  • Picture of yourself in prom attire made out of Duct tape
  • Written details about the outfit as requested on the entry form

 

Do you have an eye for fashion? Sponsored by Duck brand duct tape, the Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest is an opportunity for high school students to make the best prom attire out of duct tape. The attire is judged by a panel of judges based on workmanship, originality, use of colors, accessories, and use of Duck brand duct tape. Think about creating something that will wow the judges! 

 

10. CollegeVine Scholarships

Amount: Up to $500

Deadline: Weekly

Eligibility: 

  • High school students
  • U.S. resident

Application Requirements: create a free CollegeVine account

 

CollegeVine provides weekly scholarships of up to $500! All you have to do is 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 bid it to enter the scholarship drawing (if you don’t win, that karma will be returned, where you can “spend” it on essay reviews and expert advice). Awards will be paid out directly to students to help them cover any educational costs. 

 

Learn more about the CollegeVine scholarships.

 

4 Tips for Applying to Scholarships

 

1. Don’t Forget about Smaller Scholarships

 

Although most of the scholarships mentioned above are “bigger” scholarships, don’t forget to look out for $250 – $500 scholarships. These smaller awards can be extremely helpful when paying for books and supplies and are often less competitive. Additionally, there is no limit to how many scholarships you can win, so winning multiple smaller awards can really add up.

 

2. Stay Organized

 

The more scholarships you apply to, the better your chances are of winning. However, this can become overwhelming as scholarships tend to have different deadlines and requirements. Therefore, it is important to stay organized and keep a calendar that notes your application deadlines.

 

3. Don’t be Afraid to Try Again

 

If you aren’t selected for a scholarship, you don’t need to give up. Often, you can apply again the next year. Since this list is for students starting in 9th grade, we encourage you to try again the following year if things don’t work out. After a year of more experience, you are bound to have a stronger application!

 

4. Go Local

 

Although you can find tons of scholarship opportunities online, local scholarships are often less competitive, since you are only competing against students in your community. This gives you a higher chance of winning the award. Be sure to reach out to your high school counselor to learn about local opportunities. Additionally, you can try searching for “scholarships + your city/state” on a search engine.


Short Bio
Bijal is a senior at UCLA studying Anthropology with minors in Global Health and Gerontology. Working as a Bruin Ambassador in the Undergraduate Admissions office throughout college and having gone through the application cycle again for graduate school, she is eager to share her knowledge!

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