Leadership Scholarships

What is a Leadership Scholarship?

Leadership scholarships are given to students with a proven record of commitment to their school, community or extracurricular activities. These scholarships are designed to reward student leaders who have served as heads of clubs, student bodies and more. Even captains of sports clubs may qualify as leaders.


Unlike other scholarships, there is no specific requirement to apply for a leadership scholarship. Even being treasurer or secretary of one club in your high school career can make you eligible. A leader can be anyone who has guided a group of people. Colleges and organizations give out leadership scholarships because they believe these students exhibit essential personal qualities. A student who is heavily involved in the student council or the honor society may be more likely to become a leader in the professional world.

Being a leader means you have devoted hours to a certain activity and that you have learned valuable soft skills. In some cases, you must have a leadership record with a specific organization to qualify for a scholarship.

How to Win a Leadership Scholarship

If you only have minimal leadership experience, use the essay portion of the application as an opportunity to showcase what you learned from being a leader. If you have to provide a letter of recommendation, choose a teacher, coach or another adult who has seen your leadership skills in action. Having someone else endorse your leadership qualities can improve your chances of winning a scholarship. This may be a different person than you use for other scholarship applications.

Try to show what you did as a leader. For example, if you increased the number of members or added more club activities, describe those accomplishments in detail. You can also talk about how you facilitated events with other clubs or schools. Even if you haven’t served in an official leadership capacity, you can still spin your resume to prove that you have leadership skills. For example, if you helped mentor younger members of your mock trial team or were the lead in a community service project, talk about that in an essay.

Clemson University National Scholars Award

  • Application Deadline: 1/2/2024
  • Amount: $206,352
  • Scholarships are defined as a type of financial aid, in the form of a grant (a sum of money or other aid) that does not have to be repaid by the recipients to assist students as they pursue their studies. Scholarships are most often given to students for a couple of reasons: academic merit/achievement or financial need (or a combination of both). Eligible first year, as well as continuing [...] More

Emerald Creek Capital $10,000 NYC Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 6/15/2023
  • Amount: $10,000
  • The Emerald Creek Capital Scholarship Foundation aims to provide support and assistance to outstanding students in the New York City area. Graduating seniors who have demonstrated excellence throughout their high school career will be eligible to receive up to $10,000 towards their continuing education this coming fall.

    While there is no doubt that America is the land of opportunity, far too [...] More

Executive Women International Scholarship Program

  • Application Deadline: 3/18/2023
  • Amount: $10,000
  • The Executive Women International Scholarship Program is an annual, competition-based program which awards college scholarship money each year to qualifying high school seniors. Judges select winning students based on their scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, good citizenship, and extra-curricular activities. EWI believes that the EWISP Program will positively impact the personal life, [...] More

Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Award

  • Application Deadline: 4/22/2023
  • Amount: $5,000
  • The Undergraduate Achievement Award recognizes Golden Key members for their excellence throughout their undergraduate careers. Applicants must be Golden Key members, current undergraduate students enrolled part- or full-time in an undergraduate program, have a minimum 3.5 GPA and provide a letter of recommendation from a university faculty or staff. For more information or to apply, please visit [...] More

House Scholarship Foundation Aspiring Scholars Award

  • Application Deadline: 2/1/2023
  • Amount: $2,000
  • The House Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the advancement of education in the U.S. Our organization was originally founded by fellow high school students who wanted to bring scholarship opportunities to young students in the U.S, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or religion.

    Applicants must: Be a US citizen (or a permanent resident of the US); Be [...] More

Iowa Provost Scholarships

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: $12,000
  • All admitted first-year students entering the upcoming fall with or without an ACT or SAT score on file will be considered for merit scholarships awarded by the Office of Admissions. Scholarship awarding decisions for students who do not provide test scores will be made following a review of a student's credentials. Students who are able to take the SAT or ACT after application or admission are [...] More

IU Merit Finalist Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: $4,000
  • Indiana University Bloomington offers a variety of scholarship opportunities for incoming students. You’ll receive consideration for IU Academic Scholarships and for the Selective Scholarship Application just by applying for admission to IU before the November 1 early action deadline. The Selective Scholarship Application (SSA) is an invitation-only application shared by a number of schools and [...] More

Macalester College National Merit Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 1/31/2023
  • Amount: $2,000
  • Macalester is one of few colleges that is committed to providing a financial aid package that meets 100% of every admitted student’s demonstrated need for financial aid and offers a robust merit-based scholarship program. All non-need-based (merit) scholarships are awarded at the time of admission. Students who are awarded a merit scholarship will receive a merit scholarship award letter at the [...] More

Martin Honors Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 7/1/2023
  • Amount: $36,000
  • To be eligible for the Martin Honors Scholarship, applicants must: be residents of Washington state; be currently attending or have attended a community college in the state of Washington; have earned a minimum of 36 credits at a Washington State community college by the time they matriculate at the University of Washington (thus have sophomore or junior status); have a high school diploma or [...] More

Michigan State University Merit Recognition Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: $4,000
  • Discover the options, requirements and important deadlines to receive financial support. Learn about applying for FAFSA and loans. You'll also discover other options for financial assistance. Admitted students are automatically considered for many scholarships. Find out how to search and apply for other scholarships, too. Michigan State University offers multiple scholarships, based on a number [...] More

Michigan State University National Merit Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 1/31/2023
  • Amount: $2,000
  • Discover the options, requirements and important deadlines to receive financial support. Learn about applying for FAFSA and loans. You'll also discover other options for financial assistance. Admitted students are automatically considered for many scholarships. Find out how to search and apply for other scholarships, too. Michigan State University offers multiple scholarships, based on a number [...] More

National Merit Scholarship Corporation Program

  • Application Deadline: 1/31/2023
  • Amount: $2,500
  • The mission of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is to recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States. NMSC accomplishes its mission by conducting nationwide academic scholarship programs. The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. Approximately 1.5 million high school students [...] More

New Jersey City University Honors Program

  • Application Deadline: 3/15/2023
  • Amount: $48,000
  • The Honors Program at New Jersey City University provides exciting opportunities for exceptional students who are talented, motivated, and intellectually curious. It is designed for students who have a passion for learning and provides the training and experience needed for fulfilling, 21st-century careers. Students in our program receive a generous scholarship, dedicated advising, unique faculty [...] More

New Mexico Tech Freshmen Presidential Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 3/1/2023
  • Amount: $24,000
  • New Mexico Tech seeks to admit students who are intrigued by STEM and will thrive in a small school setting that provides an intense, focused education. Our students look forward to the challenges and opportunities presented to them alongside our faculty who share their passion for knowledge. Hands-on learners do especially well at New Mexico Tech due to the abundance of research [...] More

Oklahoma State Regents Academic Scholars Program

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: $6,000
  • The Academic Scholars Program, established by the state Legislature and governor in 1988 and operated by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, provides scholarships to academically outstanding students who attend an Oklahoma college or university. Academic Scholars receive a scholarship to help cover the cost of room, board, tuition, books and incidental fees for up to eight semesters. [...] More

Principia College Dean's Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 3/1/2023
  • Amount: $10,000
  • The Dean's Scholarship is a four-year scholarship valued at 1/4 of tuition each year, awarded to both first-time freshmen and transfer students. To apply, you must have a cumulative high school grade point average of at least 3.6 in solid academic courses, and, for transfer students, a cumulative college GPA from all colleges attended of 3.3. Applicants must also have earned a cumulative SAT [...] More

Rutgers University- New Brunswick National Merit Scholarships/College Sponsored Merit Award

  • Application Deadline: 1/31/2023
  • Amount: $4,000
  • Scholarships are a form of gift aid and do not need to be repaid. Continuing and admitted students who submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are automatically considered for a wide range of scholarships awarded by the Office of Financial Aid. Even if you believe you will not qualify for need-based financial aid, it is still important to file the application, since some merit [...] More

SLU National Merit Award

  • Application Deadline: 1/31/2023
  • Amount: $8,000
  • Saint Louis University offers undergraduate scholarships that recognize, among other areas, academic accomplishment, service involvement and leadership capability. Depending on your major, there may be additional scholarship opportunities offered by your program or department. Scholarships are awarded at the beginning of your first term and are generally automatically renewed each year, provided [...] More

Texas A&M University National Merit Scholarships

  • Application Deadline: 1/31/2023
  • Amount: $28,000
  • Scholarships are a great way to help pay for college and are one of many ways that you can fund your education. University scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit, leadership/participation, and financial need or any combination of these items. University scholarships are awarded by Scholarships & Financial Aid as well as academic colleges/departments and other units. Throughout [...] More

The National Honor Society Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 11/30/2023
  • Amount: $25,000
  • NHS is the oldest and best-known student recognition program. For nearly 100 years, NHS members have been making a difference in their schools and communities through their scholarship, service, leadership, and character. High school seniors who are National Honor Society (NHS) members in good standing of an affiliated NHS chapter are eligible to apply for the scholarship. There are no limits to [...] More

University of Minnesota Gold Scholar Award

  • Application Deadline: 1/1/2024
  • Amount: $40,000
  • Scholarship decisions are based on a very careful, overall assessment of each admitted student's academic preparation and performance, as well as the additional information provided in the admission application, based on the academic and context factors listed below. The strongest consideration in the decision is given to the primary factors, and no single factor is the deciding factor in the [...] More

University of Nebraska Chancellor’s Tuition Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: Varies
  • The Chancellor’s Tuition Scholarship is awarded to finalists in nationally recognized scholar competitions (e.g., National Merit, National Hispanic Recognition). National Merit finalists must select the University of Nebraska–Lincoln as the first-choice school through the National Merit Corporation. This scholarship can only be applied to University of Nebraska–Lincoln tuition. For more [...] More

University of Tennessee Provost Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 12/15/2023
  • Amount: $8,000
  • This four-year scholarship is awarded to National Merit finalists and National Achievement finalists. In combination with the National Merit Scholarship, it is valued at $2,000 per year and may be added to other scholarships awarded by UT. It is available to both Tennessee residents and out-of-state students. To be eligible, you must name UT as your first college choice with National Merit [...] More

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Last Reviewed: January 2023

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