Niche College Scholarship
Updated: April 16, 2024

Scholarships for High School Seniors

five graduating high school seniors under a blue sky

If you’re going to college, your senior year of high school will be filled with a pretty intimidating to-do list. You’ll have to apply to college, sort through the financial aid information and decide where to go - on top of finishing out your high school education. In the midst of all that chaos, applying for scholarships can get lost in the shuffle. But while they may seem like an afterthought, scholarships are absolutely crucial if you want to reduce the cost of attendance. Read below to learn how scholarships for high school seniors work, where to find them and how to apply.

Continue reading the article below the scholarship list.

25 Scholarships for High School Seniors with Approaching Deadlines

What are scholarships for high school seniors?

A scholarship for a high school senior is an award given to a student in their final year of high school. Some scholarships only allow high school seniors to apply, while others will accept students from other school years. For example, the Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholarship is only given to high school seniors who can submit original scientific research solving a major world problem.

Scholarships for high school seniors may be given on the basis of academic, athletic and artistic merit. Some scholarships may have a community service component or only be granted to those who come from a marginalized group.

The Dell Scholars Program offers not only a $20,000 scholarship to high school seniors who have participated in a Dell-approved college readiness program, but all Dell Scholars also receive a free laptop computer and non-monetary support, such as personal support on financial and emotional issues, among other things.

Scholarships for seniors can usually be used to pay for tuition, room and board, textbooks, laptops and more. These scholarships can be given for multiple years or just for one year. Some scholarships require that students maintain a certain Grade Point Average (GPA) or are committed to a specific academic major, while others are more lenient.

How to apply for scholarships for high school seniors

It's best to start looking for scholarships as soon as possible, even before your senior year officially begins. That's because deadlines for scholarships may be different from deadlines for college applications. For example, some may be due the summer before senior year, months before college applications are due. As reported by undergraduate students, this is a very common activity to do prior to the start of your senior year.

Think of applying for scholarships as an extracurricular activity that you must dedicate time to on a regular basis. Set aside a few hours a week to search for college scholarships and organize the required materials.

High School Seniors can create an account on, where they can input their demographic information as well as information about their skills, interests, extracurricular activities and more. Once you create an account, you’ll be matched with scholarships that are eligible for.

Should I only apply for scholarships as a high school senior?

While many students may assume that senior year is their only chance to apply for scholarships, this is incorrect. You can start applying for scholarships at almost any point in your academic career. There are some scholarships available for virtually all school years, including scholarships for high school juniors, sophomores and even freshmen.

Some students and parents also think that students aren’t eligible for awards once they’re enrolled in college. But current college students may still qualify for scholarships and other types of financial aid. In short, you should start applying for scholarships as soon as possible and never stop until you graduate.

What are the best scholarships for high school seniors?

The Gates Scholarship (TGS) is a highly selective, last-dollar scholarship for outstanding, minority, high school seniors from low-income households. Winners of the scholarship will receive a four-year scholarship that will pay for the full cost of attendance that is not already covered by other financial aid and the expected family contribution. Only students with demonstrated financial need are eligible for this award.

Another great scholarship is offered by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. It is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to students in their final year of high school. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are selected each year to receive this $20,000 scholarship.

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Do high school seniors need to fill out the FAFSA?

If you're attending college next year, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during your senior year of high school. The FAFSA is the official form that students must complete to receive federal student loans and grants.

Many students may not realize that completing the FAFSA can grant them access to scholarships they would not receive otherwise. Most schools require that students submit the FAFSA to receive their own grants and scholarships. Even if you don't think you'll qualify for need-based aid, you may still need to fill out the FAFSA to receive merit scholarships. What you also may not realize is that you should still fill out the FAFSA even after you're enrolled in college. It has to be completed every year that you want to receive financial aid.

Do I need a letter of recommendation when applying for scholarships?

When applying for scholarships as a high school senior, letters of recommendation play a pivotal role in your success. These recommendation letters are more than just a formality; they provide insight into your character, achievements, and potential. A well-crafted letter of recommendation can make your application stand out, showcasing your qualifications and unique attributes to scholarship committees. It's essential to choose recommenders who can offer a genuine and compelling perspective on your capabilities. These letters of recommendation hold the power to bolster your application, increasing your chances of securing the financial support you need to pursue your higher education dreams. Carefully selected, heartfelt letters of recommendation can serve as a persuasive testament to your qualifications and character, making a significant difference in your scholarship journey.

Community Engagement for High School Senior Scholarships

In the competitive landscape of scholarships for high school seniors, the importance of communities cannot be overstated. Scholarship committees are not just looking for academic excellence but also seek individuals who demonstrate a commitment to community service, active community involvement, and meaningful community engagement.

High school seniors engaged in community service exemplify their dedication to making a positive impact on the world, showcasing qualities like empathy and responsibility. Community involvement, on the other hand, shows a genuine passion and a willingness to be an active contributor to local organizations and clubs. Meanwhile, community engagement goes beyond the present, signaling a long-term commitment and often involving leadership roles. When high school seniors actively participate in these community-related endeavors, they not only enrich their scholarship applications but also foster personal growth and leadership skills, all of which are instrumental in securing financial aid for their higher education journey.

Senior Scholarship Applications as a Permanent Resident

High school seniors who are permanent residents or legal residents often find themselves in a unique position when seeking scholarships. In this journey towards higher education, the support of local residents can be a valuable asset. While some scholarships may have specific eligibility requirements for permanent residents, the engagement and endorsement of your local community can be instrumental.

Residents who have witnessed your dedication, contributions, and potential can provide powerful letters of recommendation, underscoring your qualifications and character. These recommendations serve as a testament to your worthiness of financial aid, and their local perspective can offer a unique and relatable dimension to your scholarship applications. As a permanent resident, engaging with your community and tapping into the support of residents can significantly enhance your chances of securing the scholarships needed to pursue your higher education dreams.

The Path To Getting Senior Year Scholarships

For high school seniors with aspirations of attaining a college degree or pursuing an education degree, scholarships present a pathway to success. These scholarships are more than just financial aid; they are the stepping stones towards realizing one's academic dreams. Scholarships for high school seniors open doors to a variety of degree programs, including undergraduate degrees, empowering students to embark on their higher education journeys with financial support.

Whether you're aiming for a traditional college degree or an education degree, scholarships offer a lifeline, relieving the burden of tuition costs and enabling students to focus on their studies. They serve as a bridge to a brighter future, providing opportunities for high school seniors to access degree programs that would otherwise be financially challenging. With the right scholarships in hand, the road to achieving your undergraduate degrees becomes clearer and more attainable.

Senior Year Leadership Experience

In the competitive landscape of scholarships for high school seniors, leadership skills are often the distinguishing factor that sets outstanding candidates apart. Possessing leadership ability is not just about holding leadership positions; it's about the capacity to inspire, guide, and create positive change.

Scholarship committees seek individuals with the potential to make a meaningful impact on their community and the world at large. Earning leadership positions in school clubs, organizations, or community initiatives not only highlights a high school senior's leadership ability but also fosters the development of these critical skills.

Scholarships for high school seniors recognize and reward those who exemplify exceptional leadership, as they are seen as the leaders of tomorrow, poised to make a significant difference in their chosen fields and communities. By honing their leadership skills and actively participating in leadership positions, students not only enhance their scholarship applications but also pave the way for a brighter, more promising future.

Eligibility Requirements for High School Seniors

Understanding the eligibility criteria and requirements is a crucial first step in the pursuit of scholarships for high school seniors. Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria that candidates must meet to be considered. These eligibility requirements vary, encompassing factors like academic achievements, community involvement, social action and extracurricular activities.

To improve your chances of securing a scholarship, it's essential to carefully review the eligibility criteria for each opportunity and ensure that you meet or exceed the requirements. Pay close attention to deadlines and documentation needed, as they play a pivotal role in determining eligibility. By diligently assessing and meeting these eligibility criteria, high school seniors can position themselves as strong candidates and increase their chances of obtaining the financial support needed to pursue their higher education dreams.

Considerations for Future Career Success

High school seniors who aspire to build thriving career goals often find themselves on the hunt for scholarships that can help them pursue their dreams. Whether you're passionate about a career in business, career in dentistry, or engineering, scholarships can be a pivotal stepping stone towards achieving your ambitions. These financial aids provide the essential support needed to access higher education and specialized training, allowing you to chart your course towards a successful career.

With scholarships, you can invest in the education and training required for these specific career paths, setting the stage for a prosperous future in your chosen field. These scholarships are more than just monetary support; they are investments in your career and your journey towards becoming a business leader, a dental professional, or an engineering expert.