✈ DAILY DEAL: $53 FLIGHTS ON SOUTHWEST (MUST BOOK TODAY)!.

18 college scholarships high school seniors can still apply for

graduation hat and one hundred dollar bills
Adobe

The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Don't Waste Your Money may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

Prices keep going up for college students. This year, attending some American colleges and universities is expected to cost students more than $90,000 a year.

Granted, that’s based on figures for tuition, room and board and other expenses from some of the country’s most elite private institutions. Even so, the Education Data Initiative reports that the average private college student living on campus actually spends about $55,840 per year, with $38,768 of it going towards tuition and fees). And students at public universities spend an average of about $26,027 per year.

That’s still quite a chunk of change, even if you’ve decided it’s worth the cost. In fact, college prices have risen by 169% since 1980, according to a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. If you’re a high school senior or college student (or the parent of one) who is trying to figure out how to pay these bills, you may want to consider some of the scholarships available to defray costs.

And while the deadlines of some scholarships have passed, there are still lots of options if you act fast.

Scholarships That Award Over $15,000

Breakthrough Junior Challenge: $250,000

Deadline to apply: June 25, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school students

This generous scholarship is offered by the philanthropists Yuri and Julia Milner, who have a special interest in science and technology. To apply, you create a 2-minute video that explains a scientific or mathematical theory or principle.  Think creatively and incorporate elements like diagrams, simulations and physical demonstrations.

If you submit the most impressive video, you’ll receive a $250,000 scholarship to college. Your teacher will receive $50,000, and your school will receive $100,000 for a science lab. Apply here.

Niche ‘No Essay’ Scholarship: $25,000

Deadline to apply: May 31, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school and college students, as well as anyone looking to attend college or graduate school in the next year

Niche is a ranking and review site that runs a scholarship directory and offers many of its own scholarships. This one couldn’t be easier to apply for. Start by creating a Niche account. Then fill out the online application; the winner will be determined in a random drawing by June 15, 2024. They will contact you if you were selected. Apply here.

Ayn Rand Scholarship: ‘The Fountainhead’ Essay Contest: $25,000

Deadline to apply: June 7, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school juniors and seniors

The Ayn Rand Institute offers rolling essay contests three times a year to encourage students to engage with this prominent novelist’s works and ideas. The upcoming summer essay contest for “The Fountainhead” is currently open.

You’ll write a double-spaced essay that’s between 800 and 1,600 words, based on a prompt question (about the book) that The Ayn Rand Institute provides. If you are one of the top three entries, you’ll receive a cash prize of up to $3,000, and the first-place entry from each season will go on to compete against the other seasonal winners for an annual grand prize of $25,000. You can spend the money on college — or anything else you like. Apply here.

Adobe

Ayn Rand Scholarship: ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Essay Contest: $25,000

Deadline to apply: June 14, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school seniors, college students and graduate students

Another one of The Ayn Rand Institute’s rolling essay contests is based on her novel “Atlas Shrugged.” The upcoming summer essay contest for this novel is currently open.

You’ll write a double-spaced essay that’s between 800 and 1,600 words, based on a prompt question about the book that The Ayn Rand Institute provides. If you are one of the top three entries, you’ll receive a cash prize up to $3,000, and the first-place entry from each season will go on to compete against the other seasonal winners for an annual grand prize of $25,000. You can spend the money on college or anything else. Apply here.

Scholarships That Award Between $5,000 and $15,000

Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest: $15,000

Deadline to apply: June 5, 2024

Who’s eligible: All high school students

Well, this is a fun one. To win the Stuck at Prom scholarship, you need to make your own prom outfit (a dress or a tux) completely out of Duck Brand duct tape or Duck Brand crafting tape. Then fill out the online entry form, which includes a place for you to upload at least one photo of yourself wearing this DIY prom outfit. You can submit up to five photos.

The entry form will ask you to supply some written details about your creation or to upload a video showing the requested details. The first-place winners for dress and tux will each be awarded $15,000, while four runners-up in each category will win $1,000 each. And this year they will also be handing out “Judges’ Choice” awards worth $1,000 each to three finalists. Apply here.

ScienceSaves High School Video Scholarship: $10,000

Deadline to apply: May 6, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school seniors

Not a big fan of writing essays? This scholarship contest asks entrants to create a 20-30 second video, answering the question, “What has science done for me?” or “What has science done for somebody I know?”

Be creative! You can use photos, video clips and text. Add the hashtag #ScienceSaves to your video before uploading it. While the grand prize winner will receive $10,000, there will also be prizes for 2nd place ($2,000), 3rd place ($1,000), and 4th place finishers ($500). Apply here.

Adobe

Exceptional Youth Scholarship: $10,000

Deadline to apply: May 17, 2024

Who’s eligible: high school seniors

This scholarship is offered through The Foundation for Global Sports Development, and it’s indeed designed for an extraordinary young person. To apply, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and have devoted at least 100 hours to some form of community service, volunteerism or mentorship activities.

It’s also need-based, so you’ll be required to submit a completed FAFSA form (which is the application for federal student aid) and other financial materials. You’ll also need two letters of recommendation (one from your school and one from your community). Ten graduating seniors will each receive this $10,000 scholarship. Apply here.

Ted and Holly Rollins Scholarship: $5,000

Deadline to apply: June 1, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school seniors

Can you write a compelling essay? For this scholarship contest, you’ll submit at least 500 words that tell your life story, describe your interest in your intended field of study, and/or explain how you plan to impact the world. If you write the winning essay, you’ll be notified by July 15, 2024. Apply here.

Scholarships That Award Between $1,000 and $3,000

There’s Space For Everyone Scholarship: $3,000

Deadline to apply: May 31, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school seniors, undergraduates and graduates enrolled in school

Extra Space Storage is in the business of offering self-storage facilities, but they also offer an annual college scholarship. To apply, fill out the online application form, which includes an essay on the following topic: “How have you exhibited a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, or social justice through work, service, or other extra-curricular activities, and how will your education help you continue this commitment during college and beyond?”

The company will give out eight $3,000 scholarships. Five will go to any student attending or planning to attend a college or university in the U.S., and three are reserved for employees or immediate family members of Extra Space Storage. The winners will be announced on June 21, 2024. Apply here.

Adobe

American College Foundation Visionary Scholarship: $2,500

Deadline to apply: June 1, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school students

This is a bi-annual award in which five recipients win each time — with a total of 10 scholarships awarded each year. Awards range from $1,000 to $2,500 each. To apply, submit a completed application along with your most recent high school transcript and a 500-word essay on “Why College is Important to Me.”

The site posts photos of past winners along with their essays, so you can see what impresses the judges. The winners are announced on July 12, 2024, and the awards are distributed on July 31, 2024. Apply here.

Creativity Leads to Success Scholarship: $2,500

Deadline to apply: June 15, 2024

Who’s eligible: Students who are 18 years or older and attending college or grad school by fall 2024

The Dixie Belle paint company awards $5,000 in scholarship money every year. The first-prize winner will receive $2,500, while two runners-up will receive $1,250 each.

To apply, fill out their online application and submit an essay of no more than 500 words that answers the question: “How has creativity helped you in problem solving?” If you’re a finalist, you will be notified on or about Aug. 15, 2024. Apply here.

CollegeVine No Essay Contest: $2,000

Deadline to apply: June 30, 2024

Who’s eligible: Current high school students and college applicants

CollegeVine is a website that provides college admissions guidance. To take part in this scholarship sweepstakes, you will need to sign up for a CollegeVine account and complete your profile. A random drawing determines the winner. If it’s you, you’ll be notified with an email. Apply here.

Ayn Rand Scholarship: ‘Anthem’ Essay Contest: $2,000

Deadline to apply: May 31, 2024

Who’s eligible: 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade students

To participate, you’ll submit an essay that’s between 600 and 1,200 words, double-spaced. For the topic, you can choose from among three prompt questions related to Ayn Rand’s novella “Anthem.”

This is significantly easier than the Ayn Rand Institute’s other two essay contests since this novella is only about 100 pages long. The top prize is $2,000, and other finalists will receive between $500 and $1,000.  Apply here.

Too Cool To Pay For School Sweepstakes: $1,000

Deadline to apply: Quarterly on the last day of March, June, September and December

Who’s eligible: High school juniors, seniors and college undergrads

This sweepstakes is run through Access Scholarships, an online scholarship search engine. Applying for this one couldn’t be simpler — all you need to do is fill out the online form.  Follow them on Instagram, and they’ll enter you twice. A random drawing determines the winner. You’ll get an email from them if you win. Apply here.

Adobe

Gen & Kelly Tanabe Scholarship: $1,000

Deadline to apply: July 31, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students

The scholarship is funded by Gen and Kelly Tanabe, the authors of “The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2024: Billions of Dollars in Scholarships, Grants and Prizes.” Entrants submit a 250-word personal statement about why you deserve to win this scholarship or about your academic or career goals. You can also write about any topic of your choice. Apply here.

Blaze Your Own Trail Scholarship: $1,000

Deadline to apply: May 6, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students

This scholarship contest is funded by Trail Heads, a company that makes headbands, gloves, hats and other accessories for outdoor sports. To enter, you’ll need to write a 600-800 word essay about a challenge you faced. Describe how you overcame this obstacle and how it affected you going forward. Also, you have to submit your latest transcript with your GPA.

The winner will be announced on the Trail Heads website on Aug. 6, 2024. Apply here.

American Heart Challenge Scholarship: $1,000

Deadline to apply: May 31, 2024

Who’s eligible: High school juniors or seniors

This scholarship is for juniors and seniors who have shown leadership skills at their school’s American Heart Challenge program, which aims to educate young people about healthy lifestyle habits while raising money to help end heart disease and stroke. To apply, fill out a short online application and upload a letter of recommendation from a teacher. Apply here.

About the Author

Jennifer Graham Kizer

Jennifer has written features and essays for over a dozen magazines, including American Baby, Cosmo, Cosmo Girl, Fit Pregnancy, Good Housekeeping, Health, Marie Claire, Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Self, Teen People, TV Guide, and YM. More.

More to explore