25 Scholarships for High School Seniors

In 2022, 55% of public university students graduated with student loan debt—about $28,950 per student on average. That kind of debt can be a serious burden when you’re new in your career and trying to build a life for yourself. The good news is that there are many types of financial aid that could dramatically reduce your debt before you even start college. Scholarships are one of them.

Some people assume that college scholarships are just for current college students, but high school students are eligible to apply for many awards. In fact, all 25 scholarship programs on this list are geared specifically toward graduating high school seniors. Start applying now to begin your college career on the right foot. 

25 Scholarships for high school seniors 

Scholarships can be a great way to pay for college without having to take out costly student loans. With that in mind, we’ve put together this comprehensive list of high-dollar scholarships that you can apply for during your senior year of high school. Each one is at least $2,000, and you’ll find all types of scholarships — from artistic and athletic awards, to merit-based programs for high academic achievers.

1. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship

Amount: Up to $55,000

Provider: Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Planning to enroll full-time in a four-year college/university
  • High school senior

Application Requirements: Transcript, two letters of recommendation, completed FAFSA®, tax returns, essay, list of extracurricular activities, list of honors and awards

Endowed by and named for Jack Kent Cooke, a Canadian-American broadcasting mogul, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship is a needs-based opportunity for high-achieving high school students. The number of recipients varies each year, but the Foundation generally awards around 100 scholarships annually — at up to $55,000 per student. There are no required fields of study, but this program prioritizes applicants with unmet financial need, so you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA® to apply. (Not sure where to start? Get help from our complete guide to the FAFSA®.)

2. Men’s College Scholarship

Amount: $50,000

Provider: Foundation for Fraternal Excellence

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Male
  • Planning to enroll full-time in a four-year college/university
  • High school senior

Application Requirements: Letter of recommendation, essay, list of extracurricular activities

According to the Pew Research Center, more women are now attending college than men. To help encourage men to pursue undergraduate degrees, the Foundation for Fraternal Excellence funds the Men’s College Scholarship. You don’t have to be a member of a fraternity to be eligible for this award, but you must identify as a male. Demonstrating a commitment to public service and leadership will go far with this selection committee, so use your essay to highlight your experiences in these areas. 

3. Most Valuable Student Scholarship

Amount: Up to $50,000

Provider: Elks National Foundation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Current high school senior

Application Requirements: Transcript, completed FAFSA®, essay, resume

The Elks National Foundation, which fosters community and public service, sponsors one of the most lucrative scholarships on this list: the Most Valuable Student Scholarship. This merit-based award is only open to current high school students, but you don’t have to be a member of the Elks to apply. The foundation awards 500 scholarships each year, ranging from $1,000 to $12,5000 each. Finalists are invited to be a part of a virtual leadership conference where they can win additional awards. 

4. Terry Crews “Creative Courage” Scholarship

Amount: $20,000

Provider: Terry Crews

Eligibility Requirements:

  • High school student

Application Requirements: Essay, work sample

Terry Crews has spent his career breaking down barriers as an African American athlete and artist. To help students pursue their own creative aspirations, he’s created the Terry Crews “Creative Courage” Scholarship. To be eligible, applicants must be currently enrolled as high school students and have a demonstrated love for the arts. This scholarship application is more fun than most: Students must submit an original piece of art, which can be anything from a sculpture to a song. You’ll also have to write a 300-word essay about your artistic dreams and how your life experiences have shaped your goals for the future. 

5. 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 Stonewall Community Foundation is a public entity that works to strengthen the LGBTQ+ community. One of the ways they do this is through scholarship awards, including the Little Bird Scholarship for LGBTQI Immigrants. This scholarship fund offers winners $18,000 for up to two years of school. The eligibility criteria for this program are pretty specific — you have to live in New York City and can’t be a U.S. citizen — but those who do qualify will be relieved to hear there’s no minimum GPA requirement.

6. Eon Essay Contest Award

Amount: Up to $15,000

Provider: Eon Essay Contest

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled in a high school or college/university
  • Thirteen years of age or older 

Application Requirements: Essay

If you’re interested in philosophy or post-apocalyptic literature, the Eon Essay Contest Award might be right up your alley. This essay scholarship asks students to read a book about the future of humanity called The Precipice and write a 1,200-word essay about it. There’s a different essay question for each age bracket; the one for high school students, for example, is about inventing a transformative technology and describing how you’d use it to help preserve humanity. Both American and international students are invited to apply. (Note: If you don’t have access to this book via your high school or local library, you can apply for a free copy on the Eon’s scholarship application webpage.)

7. Scholastic Art and Writing Portfolio Award

Amount: Up to $12,500

Provider: Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Eligibility Requirements:

  • High school senior

Application Requirements: Personal statement, portfolio

If you’re a high school student with artistic aspirations, consider the prestigious Scholastic Art and Writing Portfolio Award, which has a few different tiers. Winners of the “Gold Medal Portfolio” category will receive $12,500 in funding, and “Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio” winners will take home $2,000 each. To apply, you’ll need to submit six pieces of original artwork along with a personal statement. To help your personal statement stand out, give the jurors a glimpse into your creative process and the motivations behind your work. 

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8. Build a Better Future Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Provider: Honors Graduation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Graduating high school senior 
  • Planning to enroll full-time in a college/university

Application Requirements: Work sample

You can make an impact on your world at any age. To help encourage young changemakers, Honors Graduation, a graduation apparel company, has endowed the Build a Better Future Scholarship just for high school students. For this merit-based award, each applicant must produce and implement a public service project designed to improve their community. (If you’re not sure where to begin, review these guidelines.) Five winners will each receive a $10,000 college scholarship. Bonus: The top-placing student will receive an additional $5,000 award to fund their project. 

9. Heisman High School Scholarship

Amount: Up to $10,000

Provider: Acceptance Insurance and the Heisman Trophy Trust

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • High school senior
  • Participate or have participated in at least one sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee in the Summer or Winter Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games, or the National Federation of State High School Associations

Application Requirements: Transcript, SAT and/or ACT scores, list of extracurricular activities

The Heisman Trophy, awarded to an outstanding college football player each year, is a national symbol of athletic excellence. Sponsored by Acceptance Insurance and the Heisman Trophy Trust, the Heisman High School Scholarship is the high-school equivalent. To qualify, you must be a high school student-athlete with a passion for community service. You’ll also need to ask a school official to review your application before submission. Your reviewer can be a teacher, coach, counselor, or a member of your school’s administrative staff.

10. Next Steminist Scholarship Program

Amount: $10,000

Provider: Navisite

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Female
  • Planning to enroll in a college/university
  • Under the age of 25
  • Declared field of study in computer science, engineering, or another STEM-related major

Application Requirements: Transcript, SAT and/or ACT scores, video essay

Navisite, an information-technology software company, wants to support women in STEM. To that end, the Next Steminist Scholarship Program awards $10,000 each to three female-identifying students pursuing undergraduate degrees in STEM fields. (STEM, short for “science, technology, math, and engineering,” can include anything from computer programming to healthcare research.) A key part of the application is the video essay. To win over the reviewers, be sure to describe your dream career, including what your job would look like and your biggest dreams for the future of technology. This award is merit-based, which means you can apply regardless of financial need. 

11. Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program for High School Seniors

Amount: $10,000

Provider: Sallie Mae Fund

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale
  • Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, Asian American, and/or Pacific Islander
  • Planning to enroll in a vocational/trade school, community college, or four-year college/university
  • Pell Grant eligible 

Application Requirements: Transcript, completed FAFSA®, video essay

The Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program for High School Seniors is a need-based scholarship for minority students and students from historically underserved communities. Provided by the Sallie Mae Fund — a bank that helps students access college via student loans and scholarships — this program gives out 25 awards each year. While it prioritizes students with outstanding academic achievement, candidates must also be eligible for the Pell Grant to apply. (If you’re not sure if you qualify, check out our guide to student financial aid.) 

12. Find Your Drive Scholarship Program

Amount: Up to $10,000

Provider: Pep Boys

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale 
  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a vocational/trade school or college/university
  • Declared pursuit of an automotive technician degree program or certification

Application Requirements: Transcript, one letter of recommendation, essay

Pep Boys, a nationwide provider of auto supplies and services, sponsors the Find Your Drive Scholarship Program to support aspiring automotive technicians. Applicants can either submit a written essay or a video essay describing their desire to become a top technician. Be sure to highlight your leadership skills, problem-solving ability, and passion for teamwork. Each year, Pep Boys gives out two $10,000 scholarship awards and six $5,000 awards.

13. The ASME Auxiliary Lucy and Charles W.E. Clarke Scholarship

Amount: $7,000

Provider: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Planning to enroll full-time in a college/university
  • Graduating high school senior
  • Active on a FIRST Robotics Team
  • Declared field of study in mechanical engineering

Application Requirements: Transcript, letter of recommendation, completed FAFSA®, resume, relevant work experience, list of extracurricular activities

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers is passionate about encouraging the next generation of thinkers. In support of robotics-loving high school graduates, they sponsor the ASME Auxiliary Lucy and Charles W.E. Clarke Scholarship. This scholarship program will consider your academic performance, financial need, and history of participation on a robotics team. Students will also need to find an ASME member to nominate them for this award. The nominating member can be any ASME member who is current on their dues, including student members.

14. Ride of Your Life Scholarship

Amount: $6,000

Provider: South Carolina State Fair

Eligibility Requirements:

  • South Carolina resident
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Planning to enroll in a college/university in South Carolina
  • Graduating high school senior

Application Requirements: Transcript, essay, list of extracurricular activities

The South Carolina State Fair exists to bring local communities together. To help further that mission and support the state’s young people, the fair sponsors an annual scholarship contest called the Ride of Your Life Scholarship, which it awards to 50 deserving high school graduates. Each award totals $6,000 and is distributed over the course of four years. To choose the winners, the judges look at each student’s academic performance, financial need, community service, and communication skills. (Undergraduate students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 and be enrolled in at least 30 hours of courses to retain their scholarship from year to year.)

15. Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships

Amount: $5,000

Provider: AIGA

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Planning to enroll full-time in a college/university
  • Declared field of study in graphic design, illustration, or photography

Application Requirements: Transcript, two letters of recommendation, completed FAFSA®, personal statement, portfolio

AIGA, a membership association for designers, sponsors the Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships to empower high school students pursuing degrees in the arts. This selection committee wants to award a diverse group of students, so be sure to highlight what makes you and your perspective unique. The personal statement portion of the application is a great place to do this. Take care to communicate your artistic purpose and vision, as well as what you hope to accomplish during your college education. (If you need help crafting the perfect personal statement, Going Merry has some helpful pointers here.)

16. Northwestern Mutual Childhood Cancer Survivor Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Provider: Northwestern Mutual

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Enrolled or planning to enroll full-time in a college/university
  • 25 or younger

Application Requirements: Personal statement

Battling cancer is difficult at any age, but young survivors — and their family members — face a unique set of challenges. To recognize those hardships and help cancer survivors and their families move forward, Northwestern Mutual offers the Northwestern Mutual Childhood Cancer Survivor Scholarship. Both cancer survivors and their siblings are eligible; after all, the disease doesn’t just take a toll on the patient, but on the whole family. Northwestern Mutual has committed $500,000 total to the scholarship program so far, and will give up to 25 scholarship awards worth $5,000 each year. To apply, write a personal statement about the impact cancer has had on your life. You’ll also need to provide documentation from your oncologist.

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17. Richard G. Zimmerman Journalism Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Provider: National Press Club

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • High school senior 
  • Declared field of study in journalism

Application Requirements: Transcript, essay, resume

This scholarship comes from the National Press Club, a Washington, DC-based organization that works to protect and support a free and independent press. Named in honor of the organization’s former president, the Richard G. Zimmerman Journalism Scholarship recognizes high-achieving high school seniors pursuing careers in journalism. This memorial scholarship is only available to high school seniors who are currently going through the college admissions process. 

18. Cirilo McSween Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Provider: PUSH Excel

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Planning to enroll full-time in a four-year college/university
  • Graduating high school senior 
  • Declared field of study in business or accounting 

Application Requirements: Transcript, completed FAFSA®, essay, relevant work experience, list of extracurricular activities, list of honors and awards

PUSH Excel, an education-focused nonprofit, maintains that higher education can help all students pursue a better life. That said, they’re particularly interested in expanding educational access for minority students. To make that happen, they’ve endowed the Cirilo McSween Scholarship, a merit scholarship that goes to one incoming college freshman pursuing a degree in accounting or business. To win, you’ll need to prove a strong record of academic performance and demonstrate an ability to overcome obstacles. 

19. The Allman Family Business Development, Marketing, and Sales Scholarship Endowment

Amount: $5,000

Provider: Foundation for Outdoor Advertising Research & Education

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university

Application Requirements: Transcript, essay, list of extracurricular activities

If you’re pursuing a career in advertising or marketing, this scholarship could help pave your way. Named for and sponsored by a family of advertising professionals, the Allman Family Business Development, Marketing, and Sales Scholarship Endowment is open to high school graduates, undergraduates, and graduate students alike. Winners are chosen based on their academic performance and passion for a career in the field.

20. Don’t Mess with Texas Scholarship

Amount: Up to $5,000

Provider: Don’t Mess with Texas

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Texas resident
  • High school senior
  • Planning to enroll in a college/university in Texas 

Application Requirements: Relevant work experience, list of extracurricular activities, list of honors and awards

If you’re a high school senior and a proud Texan, be sure to add the Don’t Mess with Texas Scholarship to your list. The award’s founding organization exists to reduce litter across the state, so it makes sense that this program awards students with an affinity for the environment. 

Applicants will need to demonstrate their commitment to keeping their communities clean and write about the ways they’ve done their part to reduce litter. Since this scholarship opportunity is based entirely on community service, you can apply regardless of your academic achievement or test scores. (If you’re a Texan but don’t feel like you’re a good match for this scholarship, take a look at this list of other scholarships for Texas students.) The program gives out one $5,000 award and two $2,000 awards each year. 

21. EnergyUnited Empowering the Future Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Provider: EnergyUnited

Eligibility Requirements:

  • North Carolina resident 
  • Planning to enroll in a college/university in North Carolina
  • High school senior 

Application Requirements: Transcript, essay, resume

EnergyUnited may be the largest energy provider in North Carolina, but it recognizes that power comes in many forms. That’s why it sponsors the EnergyUnited Empowering the Future Scholarship. The qualifications for this senior scholarship are pretty specific: You must be attending a North Carolina university, and your home must be powered by EnergyUnited. You can also apply if you attend one of the following local high schools: Central Davidson, Davie County, Davie County Early College, Hopewell, Ledford, North Iredell, South Davidson, West Iredell, or William Amos Hough. The good news is that if you meet the eligibility requirements, the rest of the application is simple. Just answer two short essay questions about your future goals and how a college education will help you achieve them. 

22. Aziz Jamaluddin Scholarship

Amount: $4,000

Provider: Islamic Society of North America

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Muslim
  • Planning to enroll in a college/university
  • Declared field of study in journalism or political science

Application Requirements: Transcript, two letters of recommendation, completed FAFSA®, student aid report, essay

Muslims are underrepresented in the field of journalism — which is where the Islamic Society of North America comes in. The Aziz Jamaluddin Scholarship award is open to Muslim minority students of any grade level who are pursuing degrees in either journalism or political science. This essay is a fun one: The application leaves it up to the student to provide both the question and the answer, which means you can take it in any direction that plays to your strengths. Aside from a creative response, this selection committee is looking for proof of academic achievement, public service, and leadership experience, so be sure to touch on these topics, too.

23. Digital Vidya Scholarship Program

Amount: Up to $4,000

Provider: Digital Vidya

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university

Application Requirements: Proof of acceptance/enrollment

Digital Vidya provides online courses to equip students of all grade levels for a career in digital marketing. Of course, getting a good pre-college education isn’t the only obstacle to earning a degree. That’s why DV sponsors the annual Digital Vidya Scholarship Program, which awards three students up to $4,000 each. There are a few steps to this scholarship application. For the first, students must complete an aptitude test. For the second round, students will record a video answering a series of imaginative questions about AI, the future, and their problem-solving approaches. 

24. Renaissance Scholars Program

Amount: $4,000

Provider: The Renaissance Foundation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Illinois or Oregon resident
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Planning to enroll full-time in a four-year college/university
  • High school senior or recent graduate 
  • First-generation college student

Application Requirements: Transcript, two letters of recommendation, completed FAFSA®, student aid report, financial aid award letter, tax returns, SAT and/or ACT scores, essay, resume, list of extracurricular activities

The Renaissance Scholars Program is a fantastic resource for first-generation college students looking to fill gaps in their financial aid. Through this award, the Renaissance Foundation, an education-access nonprofit, provides winners with a $4,000 lump sum that’s renewable for up to four years. To qualify, students must be the first member of their familiy to receive a bachelor’s degree. This program prioritizes prospective college students who demonstrate great financial need, so you’ll need to provide proof of your finances if you’re living on your own — and proof of your parents’ income if you’re a dependent.

25. MHSAA Scholar Athlete Award

Amount: $2,000

Provider: Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA)

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Michigan resident
  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Earned a varsity letter in a MHSAA-sponsored sport 

Application Requirements: Transcript, two letters of recommendation, essay, list of extracurricular activities

The MHSAA Scholar Athlete Award exists to uplift student-athletes from Michigan. Sponsored by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, this program gives out 32 scholarship awards each year to students with both great academic performance and at least one varsity letter. Leadership is important to this selection committee, so be sure to use your list of extracurricular activities to highlight any leadership positions you held on your team. You can also emphasize your leadership ability in the written portion of the application: It includes a 500-word essay on the value of good sportsmanship. 

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For many high school students, navigating the college admissions process can feel like enough of a hassle without also having to worry about scholarship applications. But college scholarships can be a crucial source of funding, especially if you’d otherwise have to take out student loans to cover your higher education.

The good news is that there are many types of scholarships out there, and high school seniors are prime candidates for many of the most lucrative programs. 

You can further streamline your scholarship search by using Going Merry’s fast, intuitive platform. All you have to do is create a profile, and we’ll automatically match you to scholarships suited to your strengths. Going Merry also provides a wealth of other resources for everyone ranging from high schoolers to college graduate students. Whether you need an application checklist to make sure you’re on the right track, or advice on how to craft the perfect essay, Going Merry has you covered. Sign up today to kick your college application process into high gear. 

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