22 Scholarships for High School Juniors to Apply for Right Now

Most people think of college prep as a task reserved for high school seniors, but junior year is arguably the better time to begin. After all, senior year can get extremely busy. Between finals, SAT prep, and college visits, high school seniors don’t usually have the time they need to devote to scholarships, since they’re bogged down by the college application process. Plus, there are a number of great scholarships available to students in their junior year or younger. That means that if you wait too long to start applying for scholarships, you could be missing out on free money. 

If you’re ready to get a head start on college prep, check out this list of 25 college scholarships for high school juniors just like you.

1. The Paradigm Challenge

Amount: Up to $100,000

Provider: Project Paradigm

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Ages 4 to 18

Application Requirements: Work sample, bio

The Paradigm Challenge is a unique opportunity to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems — and to earn a good chunk of change to put toward college costs. Each year, the challenge invites students from ages four to 18 to think outside the box. Your application can address problems in any of the following areas: home fires, waste reduction, personal health, food security, or biodiversity. You can either work in a team or alone, and your entry can be any medium, from a traditional essay to a video or mobile app. Each year, 100 finalists receive awards ranging from $200 to $100,000. 

2. Breakthrough Junior Challenge

Amount: $50,000

Provider: Khan Academy

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Ages 13 to 18

Application Requirements: Video essay

If you’re a high school junior who loves physics, math, or life sciences, take a look at the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. One of the top scholarships on our list in terms of dollar value, this competition asks curious high school students to create a 90-second video explaining a complex topic in one of the aforementioned fields. The winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship as well as a $50,000 award for their teacher and a $100,000 grant to put toward a new science lab for their school. Your video can be in whatever format you wish: live-action, animation, or documentary. Entries will be judged according to several criteria, including the creativity of the video and the complexity of the subject covered. 

3. Davidson Fellows Scholarship

Amount: Up to $50,000

Provider: Davidson Institute

Eligibility Requirements:

  • 18 years of age or younger

Application Requirements: Letter of recommendation, personal statement, work sample, bio

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship is essentially a prestigious science fair for high-achieving high school students. To apply, you’ll have to submit a project in one of these categories: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature, music, or philosophy. Your project must have the potential to make a significant impact in its field and to benefit society in some way. (Unfortunately, artistic submissions like photography, art, or film proposals are not permitted). Students can apply on their own or in teams of two. Each year, three top winners take home $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000, respectively. 

4. Ocean Awareness Contest

Amount: $1,500

Provider: Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, Inc.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Ages 11-18

Application Requirements: Essay and short answer question

The annual Ocean Awareness Contest is a platform for young people to learn about environmental issues through art-making and creative communication, explore their relationship to a changing world, and become advocates for positive change. Students ages 11-18 from around the world are invited to participate. Your voices, visions, and stories of hope are needed to help transform the world.

Each year brings a different creative prompt – check out the themes for this year!

5. Doodle for Google

Amount: Up to $30,000

Provider: Google

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Currently enrolled in an elementary, middle, or high school

Application Requirements: Work sampleOften catch yourself doodling in the margins of your notes? Put those artistic skills to good use by applying for the Doodle for Google scholarship contest. Open to current students enrolled in grades K-12, this competition evaluates original illustrations for use on Google’s homepage. Top prize winners will receive $30,000 to help pay for their undergraduate studies. Your work will be judged based on its artistic merit, creativity, and how well your drawing communicates your chosen theme.

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6. “Be Bold” No Essay Scholarship

Amount: $25,000

Provider: Bold.org

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college or university

Application Requirements: None

The founders of scholarship platform Bold.org are on a mission to help students tackle the next step of their education without taking on undue student debt. That’s where their “Be Bold” No Essay Scholarship comes in. This scholarship program is open to high school students (and current college students) of all ages. All you have to do to apply is create a profile on Bold.org and fill it out with the facts and perspectives that make you unique. This selection committee won’t look at your GPA or test scores; they only care that your profile is interesting and unique. 

7. Live Más Scholarship

Amount: $25,000

Provider: Taco Bell

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Ages16 to 26

Application Requirements: Video essay

Taco Bell’s annual Live Más Scholarship isn’t a needs-based or merit-based scholarship; instead, it’s awarded based entirely on passion. To win, applicants must create a video about their personal passion and explain how a college education will help them pursue it. Your video must be between 30 seconds and two minutes. Everything else is up to you. This scholarship is open to high school juniors and seniors, undergrads, and graduate students. As long as you’re younger than 26 years of age, you’re welcome to apply. 

8. Eon Essay Contest Award

Amount: Up to $15,000

Provider: Eon

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled in a high school, college, or university
  • 13 years of age or older

Application Requirements: Essay

If you’ve always been partial to writing book reports, the Eon Essay Contest Award is for you. Open to a wide range of students (including those in their junior year of high school), this scholarship asks applicants to read a book called The Precipice. You’ll then need to write a 1,200-word essay about a dream piece of technology that could transform the world. If you can’t find the book at your local library, you can reach out to the scholarship provider via their website to get a free copy. 

9. Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Provider: Prudent Publishing Company

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Currently enrolled in a high school, college, or university
  • 14 years of age or older

Application Requirements: Work sample

Greeting cards have the power to connect, motivate, and inspire. So does higher education. As an ode to those shared missions, the Prudent Publishing Company founded its Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship to help students earn money toward their college tuition. To enter the contest, submit a piece of original artwork designed to be the front of a greeting card. You could win $10,000 to fund your own education and $1,000 for your school. (Both high school students and undergraduate students are welcome to apply.)

10. Profile in Courage Essay Contest

Amount: Up to $10,000

Provider: John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Currently enrolled in high school 
  • 20 years of age or younger

Application Requirements: Letter of recommendation, essay

John F. Kennedy was a beloved and courageous American leader. In his honor, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created its annual high school scholarship, the Profile in Courage Essay Contest. To apply, you’ll write a 700- to 1,000-word essay about an act of political courage by an elected leader between 1917 and today. As you might expect of a library-sponsored essay contest, a little research is required: you must cite a minimum of five sources in your essay. (You’ll also need to include a bibliography as part of your scholarship application.) This selection committee encourages students to choose original subjects. Try researching political leaders from your hometown to discover exciting, untold stories of courage. Going the extra mile could pay off big: the winner will take home $10,000 to put toward their college tuition. 

11. Sean Carroll’s Mindscape Big Picture Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Provider: Sean Caroll

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Currently enrolled in a high school, college, or university

Application Requirements: Transcript, essay

Sean Caroll, a physicist, philosopher, and host of the Mindscape podcast, lives to help people understand and appreciate the complexity of our universe. Now, he wants to help students with similar interests pay for their higher education. Open to all current students, the Sean Carroll’s Mindscape Big Picture Scholarship will grant two $10,000 scholarships. To win, you must demonstrate a deep passion for a field that seeks to understand and explain human existence. You’ll have the chance to explain that passion in your essay: simply write 1,500 words on why you think it’s important to comprehend the vastness of our universe.

12. Little Bird Scholarship for LGBTQI Immigrants

Amount: $18,000

Provider: Stonewall Community Foundation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • New York City resident
  • Enrolled full-time as a high school junior or senior 
  • Lack a U.S. citizenship, green card, or F-1 visa
  • Identify as LGBTQ+

Application Requirements: Transcript, letter of recommendation, essay

The Little Bird Scholarship for LGBTQI Immigrants is a top scholarship program for current juniors in high school who are not legal residents of the U.S. To apply, you must be both undocumented and identify as LGBTQI. This scholarship award is sponsored by the Stonewall Community Foundation, a non-profit focused on supporting and advocating for anyone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum. The Stonewall Community Foundation also understands that some of these topics and documents might be sensitive; so all materials will be kept confidential, and applicants are not required to provide any information that makes them feel unsafe. 

13. KASF Scholarship

Amount: Up to $5,000

Provider: Korean American Scholarship Foundation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Korean or Korean American
  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college or university

Application Requirements: Transcript

The Korean American Scholarship Foundation (KASF) is a non-profit organization that exists to help Korean and Korean American students pursue higher education. KASF is organized into seven different chapters, and each one sponsors scholarships for the residents of its corresponding region. The KASF Scholarship is open to currently enrolled, full-time high school students of all ages. The award amount and submission details vary by region. (Students can find information for their region on KASF’s website.) 

14. Too Cool to Pay for School Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Access Scholarships

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be 13 years old or older.
  • Must be a current full-time high school, college, or graduate school student.
  • Must be a US resident, DACA or undocumented student, or an international student currently studying in the US.

Application Requirements: 

The “Too Cool to Pay for School” scholarship is part of our contribution to helping students save money for higher education. The scholarship can be used to cover education-related expenses such as tuition, textbooks, housing, technology, and other fees.

To apply, simply enter your info into the form and cross your fingers – it’s as easy as that.

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15. National High School Essay Contest

Amount: Up to $2,500 

Provider: American Foreign Service Association

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Currently enrolled as a high school student

Application Requirements: Essay

Interested in government, history, or travel? Then don’t sleep on the National High School Essay Contest. This exciting scholarship opportunity is sponsored by the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), a nonprofit that aids the U.S. Foreign Service (USFS) in its mission to deploy diplomats and support peacemaking around the world. As the USFS gets ready to celebrate its 100th birthday, it’s asking applicants to write about an important event in the past 100 years of American foreign policy. Students’ essays should analyze an event between 1924 and today in fewer than 1,500 words. The author of the winning essay will receive a $2,500 scholarship — as well as full tuition for an AFSA-organized “Semester at Sea” voyage. Winners will also be sent to Washington D.C. (all expenses paid) to meet with a member of the State Department. 

16. National Merit Scholarship Program

Amount: Up to $2,500

Provider: National Merit Scholarship Corporation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Currently enrolled in high school
  • Have taken the PSAT 

Application Requirements: PSAT scores

The National Merit Scholarship Program is one of the best-known scholarship competitions for high school juniors — and one of the most compelling reasons to take the PSAT during your junior year of high school. That’s because anyone who takes the PSAT is automatically entered to win this prestigious award. If you’re interested in being considered, contact your guidance counselor to ensure that your school offers the PSAT (or make other arrangements to take it). The top 50,000 highest PSAT scorers will qualify for recognition. The NMSC will then narrow this pool down to 15,000 finalists. From here, winners will be chosen based upon a students’ PSAT scores, high school grades, recommendations, essays, and resumes. But you don’t have to earn finalist status to benefit: every student who makes it past the first round will be eligible for additional special scholarships.

17. INvested Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: INvested

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Applicant needs to be 16 or older.
  • Must live in Indiana

Application Requirements: No-Essay

Indiana Secondary Market for Education Loans, Inc. (“INvestEd”) is offering participants a chance to win one of five (5) $1,000 scholarships in the “$1,000 INvestEd Scholarship Giveaway”. This super-easy scholarship is no-essay and no-GPA required, so check it out today!

18. NextStepU No Essay Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Provider: NextStepU

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be currently enrolled in college, or will be enrolled in college within three years of the scholarship deadline.
  • Must be over the age of 15.
  • Must be attending high school or college in the United States or Canada.

Application Requirements: No-Essay

It’s no secret — college is expensive. Reduce your college expenses by applying to NextStepU’s No Essay Scholarship!

19. Wizeprep USA High School Scholarship

Amount: $500

Provider: Wizeprep

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be a current high school student (any age).
  • Must attend high school in the United States.

Application Requirements: No-Essay

The Wizeprep USA High School Scholarship is a $500 scholarship for students currently enrolled in an American high school. Students in any year (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) are eligible, and there is no GPA requirement.

20. The Hamilton Award

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Alexander Hamilton Scholars

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Currently enrolled as a high school junior
  • Household adjusted gross income of less than $100,000

Application Requirements: Transcript, letter of recommendation, tax returns, SAT and/or ACT scores, essay, list of extracurricular activities, list of honors and awards

The Alexander Hamilton Scholars Program is a five-year, needs-based program that helps high-achieving students transition from high school to college and beyond. The Hamilton Award itself is given out in two installments: $500 at the beginning of the program and $500 at the end of the five years. Hamilton Award recipients will also receive a laptop to help with their studies. To be eligible, students must attend the New York Leader Week in NYC, which is held annually in June. 

21. Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Digital Responsibility

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a high school, college, or university

Application Requirements: Personal statement

Getting a driver’s license is an exciting milestone for many high school sophomores and juniors. But getting behind the wheel comes with a lot of responsibility. To help encourage smart driving habits, Digital Responsibility (a nonprofit created by Silicon Valley executives to educate the public on the impacts of tech) sponsors the annual Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship. To apply, you’ll write a 140-character response to the prompt “​​I pledge to not text and drive because…” If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll then be asked to write a 500- to 1000-word essay about texting and driving. From here, one winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

22. Patricia W. Edwards Memorial Art Scholarship

Amount: Up to $500

Provider: Rhode Island Foundation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Rhode Island resident
  • Currently enrolled as a high school freshman, sophomore, or junior 
  • Declared interest in visual arts

Application Requirements: Work sampleSponsored by the Rhode Island Foundation — which aims to strengthen the state of Rhode Island through investments in education — the Patricia W. Edwards Memorial Art Scholarship is given annually to a high school student with an interest in visual arts. The scholarship is designed to fund an art class to further the winner’s practice at a Rhode Island-based arts institution. Note that while artists of all disciplines are welcome to apply, the selection committee prioritizes students interested in painting.

Get matched to scholarships with Going Merry

The college admissions process takes a lot of time and energy. From filling out the FAFSA to preparing for the SAT or ACT, there are a ton of tasks to complete before graduation. The easiest way to reduce stress and set yourself up for success is to get started early. 

To that end, it’s best to start applying for scholarships during your junior year of high school. Scholarships can help you avoid student loans, beef up your resume, score internships, and connect you with important organizations. And the best way to find those high-dollar scholarships? Sign up for Going Merry. 
At Going Merry, we use your unique profile to find and organize top scholarships that you’re already eligible for. We also help you keep track of application deadlines and allow you to apply for multiple awards at once. Simplify your college application process and scholarship search today by signing up for a free Going Merry account.

Kelly Lamano

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