Scholarships for High School Juniors
High school students might assume that they can only start applying for scholarships during their senior year. However, many scholarship providers accept high school juniors as applicants. Students who start the scholarship application process in their junior year will be more likely to receive enough aid to cover their expenses without taking out student loans.
What are scholarships for high school juniors?
Scholarships for high school juniors include those who will accept applications from high school juniors as well as those who exclusively offer scholarships to juniors. For some scholarships, waiting until your senior year means you have already missed the opportunity to apply.
There are also some scholarships that all high school students can apply for, and there are even some for students of basically any age. For example, the Doodle for Google Scholarship is available to students in grades kindergarten through senior year.
You can find scholarship opportunities for high school juniors in our Scholarship Directory, or by directly going through non-profit and professional organizations. Local groups also often award scholarships, even if you’re not a high school senior.
Ask your high school college counselor if they have any suggestions for finding scholarships as a junior. They may be aware of opportunities that are more difficult to find on your own.
How to apply for scholarships for high school juniors
The most important thing to consider when applying for high school junior scholarships is whether or not you are eligible to apply.
Because many scholarships are designed for current high school seniors, juniors need to read through scholarship requirements carefully to confirm they are eligible to apply. If you’re confused about eligibility, email the scholarship program coordinator and ask if you may apply. If you’re not yet eligible, set aside that scholarship until your senior year.
Next, start organizing all the scholarships you find and use a spreadsheet or calendar to track the deadlines. This will help you stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for scholarships, no matter how busy you are. If you do, you’re more likely to have typos or basic errors in your application.
Frequently asked questions about scholarships for high school juniors
Why should I apply for scholarships as a high school junior?
It’s never too early to start applying for college scholarships, and in many cases, you’re better off the younger you are. Not only that, but there are many scholarships exclusively for high school juniors you will miss out on if you wait until your a high school senior to start searching and applying for scholarships.
Your senior year of high school will be stressful enough with the college application process. You will also have to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit other scholarship forms.
If you can start applying for scholarships in your junior year, you can alleviate some of the burden that you would otherwise face next year. Getting a head start could also lead to more aid than waiting until your senior year.
Applying for scholarships can be a daunting process, and there’s often a learning curve involved. By starting the process in your junior year, you’ll have some time to figure out details like which teacher to ask for a recommendation letter or how to write a winning scholarship essay.
Do I have to know what I want to study when applying to scholarships as a junior?
You don't necessarily need to know what you want to major in to apply for scholarships as a high school junior. However, some scholarships are only given to students who are committed to a specific academic major. If you don’t know what you want to major in, look for scholarships without a degree component.
A good example is the Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity is a four-year renewable scholarship open to exceptionally innovative and creative high school juniors and does not require a specific major as a qualification to apply. The scholarship award is renewable each year for a total of up to $20,000.
There are countless scholarship programs looking for students with general academic excellence, as well as athletic or artistic accomplishments. Some scholarships are even awarded based on pure chance.
You can also look for scholarships designed for students from a particular state or racial background. For example, TheDream.US National Scholarship is given to an undocumented immigrant student.
Is it worth applying to scholarships as a junior?
It is not only worth applying for scholarships as a high school junior, we strongly recommend you do so. In fact, you can begin even earlier and potentially find some free money for college.
There are a number of scholarships for juniors that can cover a huge portion of your tuition and other college expenses. For example, both the Coolidge Scholarship and the Cameron Impact Scholarship provide a full-ride to college and allow high school juniors to apply.
Even small scholarships are worth applying to, because they are less likely to have a huge influx of candidates. Those $500 or $1,000 scholarships can add up quickly - especially if you start applying while you’re a junior.