Zina Kumok Image Written By: Zina Kumok | Edited By: Kevin Ladd | Updated: July 16, 2024

No Essay Scholarships

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If you ask the average student why they don’t apply for scholarships, many will say it's because they don't think they can win. However, another common reason dissuading them is that it can be a big hassle to apply. Not only do you have to complete an application, but you also often have to meet other requirements, like getting a letter of recommendation, submitting your official transcript and writing an essay. The essay is one key reason that many students put off applying for a scholarship. It’s time-consuming and exhausting, especially when you have to juggle homework, extracurriculars, and more. That's where no-essay scholarships come in. These scholarships do not require written essays so students can apply without wringing their hands. Read below to learn more about no-essay scholarships, where to find them, and how to apply.

Continue reading the article below the scholarship list.

25 No Essay Scholarships with Approaching Deadlines

What Is a No-Essay Scholarship?

Like the name suggests, a no-essay scholarship is a scholarship that does not require a written essay. However, that doesn't mean that you won’t have to provide some information about yourself. Sometimes you will have the choice of recording a video instead of submitting a written essay.

For example, the Stuck at Prom Scholarship is awarded to a student who creates an inspiring and creative dress or tux using Duck Tape. One $10,000 scholarship will be awarded to each winner from the dress and tux category, and there are several runner-up awards too. Applicants have to describe their creation in either a written essay or in video form.

Types of No-Essay Scholarships

There are several kinds of no-essay scholarships that students can apply for. Here are the most popular types:

Scholarship Sweepstakes

A scholarship sweepstakes is a type of no-essay scholarship. Scholarship sweepstakes are scholarships where students are chosen randomly, like a lottery. For example, the Niche $2,000 No Essay Scholarship chooses a winner at random. As long as you complete the application by the due date and meet the basic requirements, you’ll have a shot at winning.

Applicants usually don't have to submit other common scholarship requirements, like transcripts or letters of recommendation. Some sweepstakes scholarships are given out more than once a year. For example, College Board's BigFuture Scholarship is given out every month. Students can win either $500 or $40,000. There is no essay required. Instead, the College Board requires that you complete several steps that will help your overall college application process.

You have to enter every month to be considered, so don't think that one application is enough. Set a recurring reminder in your calendar so you don’t forget.

Video Scholarships

Some no-essay scholarships may not necessarily be easier to apply for than a scholarship that requires an essay. If a video contest scholarship wants a 5-minute video about why you deserve to win it may take just as much time to write, create, and edit as an essay would.

It also depends on what your skills are. If you’re a budding YouTuber, then submitting a video might be a more appropriate fit for you than writing an essay would be. If you prefer writing or feel you are better at putting pen to paper, feel free to go that route. A lot of these scholarships are fairly flexible regarding which medium you use for creative expression.

Where to Find No-Essay Scholarships

You can find no-essay scholarships on Scholarships.com, which has a large database of no-essay scholarships.

You can also search for no-essay scholarships on Google and other search engines. You can try to narrow down the search by being more specific. For example, if you're comfortable creating video, you can search for “no-essay video scholarship.”

Sometimes your school will also offer no-essay scholarships. In fact, many colleges will automatically consider you for a scholarship when you apply. If you want to be considered for other awards, you may have to submit an essay. However, this depends on your school.

How to Apply for a No-Essay Scholarship

No matter what kind of scholarship you're applying for, you should read through all the rules and requirements beforehand. Make sure you are actually eligible to apply. You may be surprised at how many students submit scholarship applications when they're not actually qualified.

Also, always submit your application before or by the deadline. If you submit your application late, it will almost invariably be automatically rejected.

Some no-essay scholarships will have other components you have to submit. For example, the BigFuture Scholarship requires that you submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

No-Essay Scholarship FAQs

No-essay scholarships have a lot of benefits and drawbacks, and it can be hard to decide if they’re worth spending time on. Keep reading to learn more about no-essay scholarships and how they work:

If I win a no-essay scholarship, what can the funds be used for?

Rules around how you can spend money from a no-essay scholarship are usually similar to those for a traditional scholarship. As such, we recommend reading the description and rules thoroughly and contacting the scholarship provider directly if you can't find the answers to all of your questions on this topic.

For example, winners who receive the Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship can only use the funds for qualified education expenses, including tuition, textbooks, fees, and other necessary supplies.

If you win a no-essay scholarship, you should read through the terms and conditions to understand what you can use the funds for. Some scholarships may have more generous rules than others.

Are no-essay scholarships easier to win?

No-essay scholarships may be easier to apply for, but your chances of winning may be slimmer than with traditional scholarships that require an essay. If a no-essay scholarship has fewer requirements, taking less time and effort than others, there are likely to be more students who apply. When more people are competing for the same award, it automatically decreases each applicant's odds of winning.

What is the GPA requirement for a no-essay scholarship?

No-essay scholarships may still have academic requirements, like a minimum GPA. These can vary depending on the scholarship provider.

Some no-essay scholarships may not even ask what your GPA is. For example, the $2,000 Sallie Mae Scholarship only asks what college you plan to attend or are attending, what year in school you’re in, and your high school graduation year. Both current and prospective college students are eligible.

Are no-essay scholarships legitimate?

Sometimes something seems too good to be true, such as being able to enter to win a $5,000 or even $50,000 scholarship without having to put in dozens of hours of work. However, there are plenty of awards that do not require a traditional essay and are 100% legitimate. Just remember that you should never have to pay to apply for a scholarship.

Even no-essay scholarships that operate like sweepstakes do not have an application fee. If you are being told that you have to pay money to apply for a scholarship, then you are likely being scammed.

Many students believe that no-essay scholarships are scams because they don’t end up winning them. It’s important to remember that no-essay scholarships often have huge applicant pools, which makes winning seem impossible.

If you seriously need scholarship funds to pay for college, you should focus on scholarships that match your academic major, school year, interests, skills, special attributes, qualifications, and more. You can also find scholarships designed for someone with your background.

Is there a good time to apply for a no-essay scholarship?

Deadlines for no-essay scholarships are variable, so there’s no “season” or perfect time to apply for one. Unlike college applications, which generally have a standardized time frame, scholarship deadlines vary.

You should start applying for scholarships as soon as possible, whether they require an essay or not. High school is a busy time and you’ll increase your odds of winning a scholarship if you submit as many applications as possible.

Can I apply for multiple no-essay scholarships?

There is no limit on how many scholarships you apply for, including no-essay scholarships. Even if you applied for a scholarship before and didn’t win, it doesn't mean you're prohibited from applying again.

Winning scholarships is partially a numbers game. The more scholarships you apply to, the greater your chances are of winning. Apply for as many scholarships as you are eligible for and don't get discouraged if you don't win. Applying for scholarships is difficult, especially if you're focused on awards with few requirements.

How much are no-essay scholarships worth?

The amount you can win from a no-essay scholarship truly depends on the award. Some awards may be as little as $500, while others may give out $50,000.

For example, the Niche $25,000 "No Essay" Scholarship gives out - you guessed it - $25,000. In general, you should expect that generous scholarships that don't require essays will be highly competitive. A basic rule of thumb is that if it's easy to apply for, it will be harder to win.

Are no-essay scholarships harder to find?

With so many students attending college and struggling to afford it these days, scholarship providers are often overwhelmed when trying to choose a winner. That's why essays are so effective in sorting out the right candidate.

No-essay scholarships may be harder to find than scholarships that require a written essay. However, that doesn't mean they’re impossible to find.

Are video scholarships easier to apply for than no-essay scholarships?

In the era of TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat, it’s easier for some students to create videos instead of writing essays. However, many students don't realize you still have to write a script if you're applying for a scholarship with video components.

Creating a video script from scratch is not that dissimilar from writing an essay. Plus, you may have to do several takes before you get one that is usable.

Should I prioritize no-essay scholarships over scholarships that require an essay?

If you're someone who's not confident in their writing skills, you may feel like looking for no-essay scholarships is the better plan. But, don’t give up. Scholarship providers aren't necessarily looking for the most well-written essay. Instead, they are looking for the student who best fits what they’re looking for. The essay is just one tool to sell yourself.

Plus, you can always ask someone, like a teacher, parent, or another adult, to read through your essay before you submit it. You can also ask them to help you brainstorm what you should write before you start crafting it. There are multiple ways to get around not having the best writing skills.

Do I have to be in college to apply for a no-essay scholarship?

One of the easiest things you can do to win more scholarship money is to start applying for awards early. Some middle school students may even be eligible for scholarships. You should at least start looking while you’re a high school freshman.

Some students also have the opposite problem and think that just because they're already enrolled in college, they no longer qualify for scholarships. Unless you have graduated from college, you can still apply for scholarships.

Can current college students apply for no-essay scholarships?

Many students think that you must be a high school student to be eligible for a scholarship. However, that’s a common misconception. In fact, current college students can still qualify for undergraduate scholarships, even no-essay scholarships.

Are graduate students eligible for no-essay scholarships?

While some students believe that only undergraduate students are eligible for no-essay scholarships, graduate students may be eligible for dozens of different no-essay scholarships.

For example, the Science Go Seek Scholarship is available to high school students, undergraduate students, and even graduate students. Awards are given out monthly. There is no essay required. DoSomething.org has a variety of monthly no-essay scholarships available.

Are there scholarships with in-between essay requirements?

If you’re not inherently opposed to writing essays, you will find a larger number of awards you can apply for. Remember, while no-essay scholarships may seem enticing, there are plenty of scholarships that have low essay requirements.

Many scholarships asks for one essay that is 250 words or less. That’s a fairly small essay requirement, compared to other essay scholarship requirements.