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Top Scholarships for Middle School Students in November 2023

One of the most common questions we get from students and parents is “are there any scholarships for middle school students?”

After all, some students want to start their scholarship search as early as possible and fear that all of the great scholarships are for high school students.

There is some truth to this, as the majority of scholarships are for high school, college, and graduate students. However, we have found a number of great scholarships that are open to more students, including middle school students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.

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Top scholarships for middle school students

HSLDA Contests

  • Eligibility: Open to students aged 7 – 19 who create art with influences from American Folk art, American Realism, and the Hudson River School.
  • Amount: Varies
  • Triannual Deadline: August 1 (Photo and Short Stories contests), December 1 (Art and Essay contests), April 1 (Poetry and Video contests)

Rubincam Youth Award

  • Eligibility: Open to middle and high school students who submit an appropriately prepared genealogy
  • Amount: Up to $500
  • Deadline: December 15, 2023

StudentCam Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Middle and high school students who create a 5-6 minute documentary addressing the year’s given theme
  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: January 19, 2024

EngineerGirl Writing Contest

  • Eligibility: Open to students who write an essay on how the world can reach one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through engineering.
  • Amount: Up to $500
  • Deadline: February 1, 2024

Joan Myers Brown Equity Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Open to Black, college-bound, intermediate and advanced dancers between 7 and 22 years of age.
  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: February 15th and September 15th, of every year

Ocean Awareness Art Contest 

  • Eligibility: Open to middle and high school students who use an unconventional art/think piece addressing climate change
  • Amount: Up to $1,500
  • Deadline: June 10, 2024

Tips for middle school students & their parents

If you are a middle schooler or the parent of a middle schooler who is already thinking of scholarships, congratulations! You are already ahead of the curve in planning your or your child’s college education. There are a myriad of other ways to help prepare for college in addition to scholarships.

One of the best things a parent can do to start planning early is start saving money. Oftentimes, a 529 plan is the best way to do this, as it allows your earnings to gain interest before being taxed. Remember, the earlier you start, the better!

It’s also a good idea to do some thinking about where your child may thrive in high school. You may consider charter, Montessori, and Parochial schools as options. It’s a good idea to do some reflecting and decide which would be the best fit for your child.

And remember, education is not limited to the school year! It can be very valuable to investigate some educational summer programs to help a student’s learning to extend beyond the classroom. Our list of the top summer programs for high school students includes some opportunities that middle schoolers can also apply for. This has the added benefit of helping to prepare your middle schooler for high school!

Related: Public vs. private K-12: What to consider

These scholarships are closed, but will open soon!

Breakthrough Junior Challenge

  • Eligibility: Open to students ages 13 to 18 who create an engaging STEM-related video project that effectively communicates the student’s chosen topic.
  • Amount: Up to $250,000
  • Opens: April 1, 2024

ConnectHER Film Festival

  • Eligibility: Open to filmmakers between 13 and 25 years of age who submit 3-6 minute-long films on critical women’s issues.
  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Opens: March 1, 2024

Eco-Hero Awards

  • Eligibility: Open to students aged 8 to 16 who carry out individual environmental action projects.
  • Amount: $500

Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program

  • Eligibility: Open to academically outstanding seventh-grade students who plan to eventually attend college and who demonstrate financial need
  • Amount: Varies
  • Opens: February 8, 2024

Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest

  • Eligibility: High school students in grades 6-8
  • Amount: $500 to $5,000

The Paradigm Challenge

  • Eligibility: Open to students aged 4 to 18 who use kindness, creativity, and collaboration to help solve real-life problems and make a difference.
  • Amount: Multiple awards worth up to $100,000

SBO Scholarship Essay Contest

  • Eligibility: Open to K-12 students enrolled in school instrumental programs. The scholarship is not open to private music students.
  • Amount: $1,000

          Frequently asked questions about middle school scholarships

          What is the youngest age you can qualify for scholarships?

          You are never too young to qualify for scholarships! Scholarships are available for students of all ages, and some students even go to preschool on need-based scholarships and grants. Many private high schools and grade schools offer scholarships, and other organizations like the Children’s Scholarship Fund help pay for private education. Although most college scholarships are available for students who are high school aged or above, there are some available for students of any age. For example, the Action for Nature EcoHero Award is meant for students aged 8 – 16.

          Can 6th graders apply for scholarships?

          6th graders can apply for any scholarships for which they meet the age requirement. Doodle for Google, Paradigm Challenge, and the Young Filmmakers Challenge are three great options open to students in 6th grade. While the majority of scholarships are meant for students who are high school age and above, there are also many scholarships that cater strictly to younger students. It’s a smart move to apply to scholarships as early as middle school — most students don’t think to do this, and so these scholarships often don’t get as many applicants. Applying to lesser-known scholarships improves your chances at earning one.

          Why should I apply to scholarships in middle school?

          As a middle school student, it may seem like college is a long way off. Some people may think that applying for scholarship in middle school is unnecessary. However, it’s never too early to begin planning to finance your education. Applying for middle school scholarships can help you put money aside early on so you’re not scrambling later. It also gets you used to the application process and may bring more success in the future. Scholarship applications are not the only part of college planning that you should start in middle school. Middle school parents should begin putting money aside for college. For most families, a 529 Savings Plan is a great way to grow your savings over time in preparation for college. It comes with unique tax breaks that help you get the biggest bang for your buck. 

          Related: How much to save for college 

          Are there scholarships for elementary school students?

          There are many scholarships for elementary school students! If you are considering attending a private elementary school, you should check their website and reach out to an administrator to find out about scholarship opportunities. You can also check out external organizations such as the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which helps pay for young students’ education regardless of which school they choose. Elementary school students can also begin applying for college scholarships. Many of these opportunities are listed on this page, such as the Engineer Girl Writing Contest and the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarships. Younger students will probably need some help from their parents, but applying for college scholarships early is a great way to get used to the application process and start saving money.

          Do private high schools offer scholarships?

          Many private high schools offer scholarships to students. These are typically a mix of need-based and merit-based aid. You can find private high school scholarships by investigating the website of a school that you’re considering. Another way of finding private high school scholarships is through external organizations. Regional organizations such as Great Philly Schools in Philadelphia and HighSight in Chicago compile scholarship opportunities for private high schools and even offer their own. If you’re looking for private high school scholarships, try to find a similar resource in your locality.

          Also see: How to win local scholarships