As a high school senior, you are just a short time away from attending college. If you’d like to go to college without taking on a huge amount of debt, there are plenty of scholarships for high school seniors that can help you pay your tuition. The key to funding your education with scholarships and grants is to do your research. And for that, you’ve come to the right place.

Different colleges cost different amounts to attend, and that is something that prospective students need to think about. For example, a community college will cost significantly less that a more prestigious private school. Depending on your financial situation, a scholarship may actually be necessary to pay for your tuition.

Types of Scholarships for High School Seniors

Luckily, there are a number of scholarships specifically for high school seniors that are entering college for the first time. Scholarships, a form of “gift aid,” are a great tool because they do not have to be repaid once they are awarded. These scholarships can vary greatly on how much they offer and what the conditions are needed to apply for them. High school seniors that have put more effort into their studies and extracurricular activities will be rewarded for their hard work as they continue their educational path.

Scholarships are given by many different organizations and institutions such as the government, nonprofit organizations, charities, professional associations, community foundations, as well as corporations such as fortune 500 companies.

There are different kinds of scholarship types:

  • Merit-Based: These scholarships are awarded based on your academic, athletic, or artistic performance or your involvement in community service and volunteering.
  • Need-Based: Many scholarships are granted depending on you or your family’s financial situation.
  • Student-Specific: These scholarships are awarded based on factors such as your race/ethnicity, medical history, family history, and other student specific criteria.
  • Career-Specific: Some scholarships are specifically for students that would like to take a certain career path. Popular careers that have an abundance of scholarships are nursing and teaching.
  • College-Specific: Individual colleges will often have their own scholarship programs. Usually these are based on academic merit, some giving a preference to applicants with financial need as well.

Most scholarships are merit-based. Often, scholarships may be classified as a certain type but will take other factors into consideration. For example, a need-based scholarship may still give preference to applicants that have demonstrated involvement in their community. When doing your research, make sure to read the different criteria so that you can make sure you’re a good candidate.

Scholarships award amounts vary greatly depending on the scholarship.high school seniors Some will be a nominal amount such as a one time $500 payment while others will pay your tuition for your entire 4 year program, sometimes even including room and board plus books. Remember, you can apply to more than one scholarship and there generally is no limitation on how many you can win, combining scholarships to help pay for your education.

One of the first things that many scholarships require is a certain grade point average. While the exact average will differ based on each scholarship, the higher a student can keep their GPA, the better. It is crucial that a student does not lose focus on their studies, as some scholarships can be revoked if the requirements are no longer met. This ensures that students remain focused on their studies and get the highest grades that they can achieve.

Scholarships can be given by a number of different departments, and students that have a passion for a certain subject should look into what each college has to offer. Some schools will have a primary focus on certain subjects, and they will offer scholarships to students that share the same passion for growth and achievement. It is also important to note that private colleges and technical colleges also offer a number of scholarships in order to get new students onto their campus. If a student is looking for the best school to pursue their studies, these colleges cannot be ignored either.

Another popular scholarship that high school seniors can obtain, and that would be through the sports that they play. Colleges are constantly looking for talent, and those that excel in certain sports may get a ticket into the university of their dreams. While this type of scholarship is common for athletes, it is important to remember that academia still comes first, as even sports scholarships have GPA’s that must be maintained in order for them to be active.

One mistake that seniors make is to assume that only colleges give out scholarships. In fact, larger corporations like Coca Cola and Burger King have their own scholarship programs that are open to high school seniors. These companies care about the future generation, and the scholarships that they offer prove this belief. Some of their scholarships even include paid internships are part of the award.

high school studentsAnother type of scholarship that you should look into are local organizations and institutions. While you should apply to the large national scholarships, don’t neglect local scholarships. You generally have a better chance of winning a local scholarship because there are fewer applications, increasing your odds. For more information on local scholarships, check out guide on scholarships in your state.

To increase your chances of getting awarded a scholarship, make sure to read the requirements very carefully and to put a lot of effort in your application. Remember, you are competing against hundreds, if not thousands, of other students to get awarded the scholarship.

Popular Scholarships For High School Seniors

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation scholarship
This is an award given to about 250 seniors in high school to cover part of their tuition expenses when they enroll at an accredited college or university. The award is given on merit. The scholarships consists of 50 $20,000 four year awards ($5,000 per year for four years) and 200 $10,000 awards ($2,500 per year for four years). To qualify for this award, you must have a 3.0 minimum GPA. You must not be the child of an employee of the Coca-Cola company, its bottlers or subsidiary companies. Click here to read more and apply for this scholarship.

The Best Buy Scholarship Program
The popular electronics store, Best Buy, awards 1,100 scholarships of $1000 each, per year to high school seniors that are graduating and planning to attend post-secondary education. The motto is “Students That Hit the Books and Help Their Communities” so recipients are selected based on academic achievement, community work and/or work experience. The scholarship is not renewable and is only valid for your first year of study. The application process is done completely online with a deadline of February 15th but their website slows down near the deadline due to popularity so you don’t want to wait until the last minute to apply. Read more or apply here.

AXA Achievement Scholarship
Every year, AXA, the insurance company, awards over $600,000 in scholarships to deserving high school seniors. One student in every state is selected for a one-time scholarship of $10,000. From the pool of state winners, ten of these students are further selected as national winners, each receiving a bonus of $15,000, bringing the national winner scholarship value to a total of $25,000. AXA makes their selections based on the individual student’s ambition and drive as well as leadership in making the world a better place. Previous winners have accomplishments such as starting a nonprofit organization or creating a literacy program. Since there is only one scholarship winner in each state, being from a lower population state can drastically improve your odds of winning this scholarship. To learn more, visit the AXA Achievement Scholarship page.

RMHC Scholarships
The RMHC (Ronald McDonald House Charities) awards several scholarships to help pay for your tuition fees in a 2 or 4 year college or university. Seniors graduating high school who are eligible to attend a 2 or 4 year college can apply for these scholarships. To apply, you must leave in an area with a participating RMHC Charter. You must be a high school senior, 21 years or younger, a legal resident of the United States, submit your application before the deadline and provide any other additional documentation if required. There are four categories of scholarships available and you can only apply for one. You can complete your application online. For more information about the program and how to apply, visit this page.

Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Awards
The Elks National Foundation awards up to 500 scholarships ranging from $4,000 ($1,000 per year) to $60,000 ($15,000 per year). Recipients are selected based on scholarship, leadership and financial need. Students must apply through their local Elks  competitions where they will advance through to the district and state competitions before reaching the national competition.  To be eligible, applicants must be a high school senior and a citizen of the United States (permanent residents do not qualify) by the time they submit their application. You must attend a four year accredited tertiary institution to receive this award. There are separate competitions for male and female students.  Read more and learn how to apply.

George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation Scholarship for High School Seniors (Houston, Texas)
This is an a four year award given to 70 students in their high school senior year. There are 70 $16,000 awards spread over 4 years to students enrolling at a four-year accredited college in the United States. To be eligible for an award, a student must be a senior in high school, a US citizen (permanent residents do not qualify). The student must be a high school senior in the Houston, Texas area in some 9 counties. Visit the official site for a list of counties that qualify. The awards are awarded on a scholastic ability and financial need basis. The 2012 awards are over. Visit the official site for more information on the 2013 awards and how to apply.

Engebretson Foundation Scholarships
The foundation awards a scholarship valued at $5,000 per semester to an outstanding high school senior each year. The award is renewable each year ( Recipient must reapply). The amount can also be adjusted on a case by case basis if needed. The amount awarded can be used towards tuition, room and board and fees. To be eligible, you must have financial need, score 28 composite or higher on the ACT, 1240 or higher on the SAT and have a minimum of 3.75 GPA, as well as demonstrate strong leadership skills.  Visit the official site and download application forms as well as teacher recommendation forms. Complete the forms and mail them in before the deadline.

There are many more scholarships opportunities out there for high school seniors. You have to dig around to find them but it is well worth it. Using our site’s navigation menu, search for scholarships and grants by state, by minority, by career, or by student type. You can be sure to find scholarships that are a match for you.