With all the hustle and bustle of senior year, it’s easy to forget to apply for some scholarships for high school seniors. However, it’s a good idea to make some time in between your college applications, extracurriculars, and schoolwork to apply for scholarship opportunities.
Whether you are applying for merit-based or need-based scholarships, there are a lot of opportunities out there for high school seniors. Whether you are looking for opportunities in the fall, winter, spring, or summer, many organizations will be accepting applications.
Read on for our comprehensive list of scholarships for the class of 2023! No matter your intended major, location, or background, you’ll find a wealth of great scholarship matches ahead.
How to win scholarships for high school seniors
Most scholarships receive a large amount of applications, so it’s important that your applications stand out! One of the most important parts of the scholarship application process is the essay, which allows the scholarship committee to learn more about you as a person.
To get started, you can check out guide on how to start a scholarship essay, as well as our guide on how to write an essay about yourself. Many essays will also have a word count limit, so you can also check out our articles on how to write a 250 word essay and how to write a 500 word essay. As a final step in the essay writing process, students should be sure to have someone proofread their scholarship essay!
Some competitive scholarships might also require students to do an interview with the scholarship committee. This offers applicants another opportunity to stand out and share more about their goals, experiences, and interests. If you are prepping for a scholarship interview, you should spend some time reflecting on common scholarship interview questions so you can go into the interview well-prepared.
College merit scholarships for high school seniors
While outside scholarships are offered by private companies, non-profits, and foundations, college merit scholarships are offered by individual colleges. Merit scholarships are awarded to students with demonstrated achievement in academics, extracurriculars, and leadership, but the primary factors are grades and tests scores. Merit scholarships are strong sources of financial aid because they generally are renewable for four years of college.
To apply for merit scholarships, students will need to follow each college’s specific scholarship application process. At some colleges, there will be a separate merit scholarship application and deadline, while at other colleges, all students will be considered for merit scholarships. To get started on your merit scholarship search, you can check out our top merit scholarships guide.
Tips for high school seniors applying for scholarships
- Ask for your letters of recommendation early. The last thing you want to do is rush your teachers when they are helping you out by writing you a letter. The earlier you ask, the more time they’ll have and the better they’ll make their letters.
- Apply for local scholarships. These scholarship programs typically have a lower award amount but they have far fewer applicants, so you have a much better chance of winning than national scholarships. A great place to start looking for local scholarships is your high school guidance counselor. Many local organizations like Elks Club and church communities offer scholarships to students in the area.
- Apply to a wide range of safety schools. These safety schools will have a better chance of awarding you merit scholarships that could cover a substantial part of your tuition.
- Before you start your applications, do some informal reflection. Talk to family members, friends, and trusted adults about your goals for the future and your strengths and weaknesses. Think about where you want to be in 10 years and write down the results of your brainstorming on a piece of paper. You can use bullet points or any type of notation that is easy for you. Then come back to this paper as you fill out your applications. It should give you good material to base your essays on and make the whole process much easier.
- Apply to at least one in-state public school. With in-state tuition rates, these typically end up being substantially cheaper than other options.
Frequently asked questions
Is it too late to apply for scholarships as a high school senior?
Should high school seniors fill out the FAFSA?
Are student athletes eligible for scholarships?
Does financial need affect scholarships for graduating high school seniors?
Are there scholarships for African-American seniors in high school?
Explore these other scholarship categories
- Top full ride scholarships for high school students
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- Easy scholarships to apply for
- Top scholarships for Black students
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