There are as many different types of scholarships as there are people! Similarly, the qualifications and the dollar amount vary widely as well. No matter who you are, what your interests are, what background you come from, or what talents you possess, chances are that you are the perfect candidate for more than one scholarship.
Take a look below at some of the different categories of scholarships. After each scholarship type is an excellent example of a national scholarship that fits this category. Use this as a jumping-off point to start your own search for scholarships. (And know that this is not an exhaustive list!)
Also known as merit scholarships, these are given to students who have maintained a high GPA throughout high school. Typical candidates for these scholarships have excelled in more than just the classroom. Participants in a variety of extracurricular activities and community involvement, these gifted students show that they are well-rounded. Academic scholarships tend to be larger amounts, even sometimes offering a “full ride” to the university of the recipient’s choice.
National Merit Scholarship Program
Due: Varies, March-Early May
Description: If you took the PSAT/NMSQT standardized test as a junior, you may qualify for this prestigious scholarship. If you score within the top one percent of your peers, you qualify as a semifinalist, eligible to complete the National Merit Scholarship Application and be considered for one of thousands of scholarships, with a combined value of $44 million.
If you are a gifted athlete, you might be recruited by a college or university to participate in your sport for them. This might include a scholarship component as an incentive to go to that school. We often hear about the full ride scholarships that bigger sports programs offer to major athletes in football or basketball. However, scholarships are often offered for just about any athletic activity and can come in varied amounts. So don’t worry if you don’t feel you’re at the “full ride” level. The average athletic scholarship is about $10,400.
NCAA Division I and II Athletic Programs
Description: There are roughly 138,000 athletic scholarships offered annually for Division I and Division II sports. (Division III schools do not give athletic scholarships.) Unlike typical scholarships that have a standard application process, coaches need to know about your talents to be discovered. Be bold! Email a coach, introducing yourself and sharing some stats or awards during your athletic career. You can also include a YouTube video highlighting some of your best moves.
Having read the first two categories of more common scholarships, you may be feeling daunted. What if you don’t have exceptional physical talents and you aren’t a “genius” in the classroom? Don’t worry. There are lots of scholarships that don’t have academic requirements and are geared towards people that stand out in ordinary ways.
Dell Scholars Program
Due: January 15
Description: This nationwide program offers scholarships to students who have overcome hardships. Their “GPA” requirement has less to do with academic achievement and more to do with grit, potential, and ambition. Besides financial support, this program also provides resources and mentoring to help you pursue a degree.
Community Involvement Scholarships
Many scholarships are offered to individuals that are involved in their communities. Whether you’re passionate about volunteering, served in a leadership capacity at your place of worship, or were a part of an organization such as Boy Scouts or FFA, you might qualify for a number of scholarships. Volunteering and community involvement are requirements for lots of applications, while other scholarships might be offered from specific organizations you are connected with.
Youth Service America
Description: Youth Service America supports several awards and grants for students that make community service a priority in their lives. YSA teams up with various organizations to help support people who are making a difference in their world.
Your passion for creativity could just earn you some extra money. Many scholarships have a competition that highlights a variety of artistic talents. Depending on your medium of choice, you might be asked to audition, create a piece of art or music, write an essay or short story, or come up with a creative solution to a problem using technology. Out-of-the-box thinking and cultivating excellence are skill sets that our world needs, and many scholarships aim to highlight that in the next generation.
Create-a-Greeting-Card Scholarship (Gallery Collection Scholarship)
Due: March 2, 2017
Description: Participants design a greeting card, submitting a photo, a piece of artwork, or graphic design. The cards can be for any occasion or theme, and finalists are judged by a panel of employees from The Gallery Collection. This is open to high school students as well as college students.
Gender Specific Scholarships
It is relatively recent in our history that women have had equal access to higher education. We are also living in a time that recognizes the challenges that the LGBTQ community face. Many activist groups want to support individuals who are trailblazers and defying set societal norms. Some scholarships may have gender-specific qualifications and could be even more specific in the field you’re pursuing.
The Future is Female Scholarship
Due: March 31
Description: The women who founded the company True&Co want women to follow their passion, just like they did. This scholarship helps empower applicants to pursue careers they love through higher education. You must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, be an American Citizen, and be female, of course.
WOMEN IN STEM Scholarship
Due: November 1
Description: As a technology company, Universities.com sees firsthand the shortage of female engineering talent and the shortage of women in technology. We want to do our part in supporting women who are pursuing a science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) degree by establishing the Universities.com Women in STEM scholarship, an annual $2,000.00 scholarship that will be awarded to a woman who best conveys the reason why pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering or math is important to them.
If you a veteran or currently serving in the military in any way, you might have access to a number of scholarships. There are also a lot of aid for family members of veterans. This is one way that organizations, individuals, and companies give back to those who have served our country.
Army Scholarship Foundation
Description: This foundation offers a variety of one-year scholarships to anyone who members the armed forces. Many of the scholarships honor the memory of members of the army that showed tremendous bravery in the line of duty. Their legacy is left through these scholarships.
Statistically and historically, people of color have faced many roadblocks and challenges to seeking higher education. The intention of many scholarship foundations is to help provide the help necessary to have greater access to the same privileges that others have. Some scholarships are open to anyone considered to be a minority, while others are specific to a certain ethnic group.
Gates Millennium Scholars
Due: January 15th
Description: Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this awards a variety of scholarships to minority students who have achieved academic excellence in high school. These scholarships help with college costs not covered by other grants or federal financial aid. Applicants must be nominated by an educator.
With our growing reliance on technology in everyday life, there are an increasing amount of scholarships to support the growth of technology. If you are intrigued by the technical sciences or have a desire to pursue a degree in technology, you might be able to get some help along the way! Many tech companies and large organizations have scholarships aimed at helping innovative thinkers like you.
Siemens Math, Science and Technology Award
Due: September 30th
Description: Your original thinking in a research project is the key to success for this competition. You can submit projects on your own or as a team effort, and they’re looking for problem-solving that works to help make the world a better place.
As we mentioned before, the categories of scholarships are wide and varied. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to seeking scholarship opportunities! If you have an odd talent or niche passion, there’s probably a scholarship for it! There really is something out there for everyone!
Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest
Award: 4 Awards from $500-$2,000
Description: It is what it sounds like. You could get money for sounding like a duck. Head to Struttgart, Arkansas and participate in the annual duck calling contest for your chance at some moola! The date of the contest varies but is typically in November.