There are a few scholarships out there that ring a bell to most students because, not only do they offer big bucks, they also come with a fair amount of prestige. Although they tend to be more competitive than other scholarships, the work invested into lengthier applications can pay off significantly if won, as they come with impressive award amounts.
Prestigious scholarships are known on a national, and, often, on an international level. Winning one of these could do more for you than help cover college costs. Recipients are able to boast that they were chosen among thousands of applicants and display their achievement on their resumes. These awards typically target the best and the brightest youth - grades, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities and community service will matter when it comes to competing. Less tangible criteria will matter as well; scholarship providers for these awards want to see leaders, go-getters, and motivated individuals. As long as you're eligible for one of these prestigious scholarships, you may as well apply and put the effort in to apply to the best of your ability. For more information on prestigious scholarships, check out examples of the kinds of awards available below, or conduct a free scholarship search. We'll match you instantly with prestigious scholarships you may be eligible for.
Academic and Merit Scholarships
Most of the prestigious scholarship providers want to see your academic record; paying attention to your GPA, the kinds of courses you took on in high school, and your level of college preparedness. You may need to be near the top of your class, or have impressive standardized test scores. Many of these awards will spell out in their official rules and requirements the caliber of applicant they'll consider for their scholarship. For example, the Coca-Cola Scholars Program awards 250 scholarships each year ranging up to $20,000. Applicants for that award must have at least a 3.0 GPA to compete. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Program provides up to $30,000 to students in the upper quarter of their junior class. Applicants for this award and many others must also boast an interest in community service and leadership skills, so even if you have a stellar GPA, you may need to get yourself involved in more extracurricular activities to compete for the most prestigious academic and merit scholarships.
Fellowships and Grants
Many of the most prestigious awards come with more than checks sent to your intended college. For example, the more than 100-year-old Rhodes Scholarship offers recipients the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford. About 80 Rhodes Scholars are chosen from a pool of international applicants, with American students typically very well represented among those chosen for the honor. Scholars are chosen based on not only their achievements, but their ability to lead and be involved in a variety of activities. The National Science Foundation (NSF) offers a Graduate Research Fellowship Program for graduate students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Recipients are expected to contribute to research in their field, as is the requirement for many of the fellowships from research organizations out there. If you’re interested in expanding your career opportunities and experiences in your chosen field of study, a fellowship or grant could help you do that.
Prestigious Scholarships for Minorities
Minority scholarships aren't only easy to find due to the large number of awards out there, many of them are also quite prestigious. Those chosen to become Ron Brown Scholars are given $10,000 for four years; at least 10 African-American high school seniors receive the honor annually. Those who do are involved in community service, excel academically, and exhibit leadership potential. As you can see, your funding concerns could be alleviated if you landed one of these scholarships, so make sure to consider minority scholarships when you're on the hunt for money for college.
Augustana College invites graduating high school seniors who possess strong records of academic achievement and have demonstrated exceptional leadership to their school and community to participate in the Distinguished Scholars Competition, the college's most prestigious scholarship event. Eligible applicants must have an ACT of 27 or SAT of 1260, and a 3.5 GPA. The competition requires an essay [...] More
The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in these fields. Eligible applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. The Online Goldwater Application contains [...] More
The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. To be eligible for the Gilman Program, applicants must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant during the time of application or provide proof that they will be [...] More
Boren Scholarships, a prestigious initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In exchange for [...] More
The McCorkle's Scholarships are the most prestigious scholarship awards at Catawba. Qualified students will be invited to compete for a full-tuition scholarship on the basis of their high school grade point average, the rigor of their coursework and standardized test scores. To be considered, students must have a weighted GPA of 4.0 or greater or an unweighted GPA of 3.5 or greater and the [...] More
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors. 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. The Foundation has provided over 6,450 Coca-Cola Scholars with more than $75 million in educational support. 150 Coca-Cola [...] More
Colorado Mesa University's Distinguished Scholar Award is the most prestigious academic award for incoming freshmen and is valued at full tuition and fees for Colorado Residents and $6,000 per academic year for out-of-state students. To qualify, applicants must satisfy two of the three following criteria: 3.75 GPA, top 5% of graduating class, or a 29 ACT/1340 combined SAT. The scholarship can be [...] More
The David Geffen Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit. Financial need is not a criterion for eligibility. The merit-based scholarships provide full financial support for approximately 25% of current UCLA medical students and there is no need to submit an application. All applicants to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA will be considered for the scholarships, eliminating the [...] More
The Davidson Fellows Scholarship awards scholarships to extraordinary young people, 18 and under, who have completed a significant piece of work. Application categories are Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Literature, Music, Philosophy and Outside the Box. Davidson Fellows are honored every year in Washington, D.C. with Congressional meetings and a special reception. Applicants must [...] More
The Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student scholarship contest is open to any high school senior who is a U.S. citizen; member of the Elks Lodge is not required to apply. Applicants must advance through local, district and state levels to reach the national competition. The top national finalists will be selected to attend a Leadership Weekend, hosted in Chicago, IL. The Elks National [...] More
The Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Scholarship Program provides successful undergraduate applicants with awards that include academic assistance for two years of full-time study and a 10-week, full-time paid internship at an NOAA facility during the summer. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, currently enrolled or accepted as a full-time second-year student in a four-year academic [...] More
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program is a prestigious undergraduate scholarship program available to high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend and graduate from the nation's best four-year colleges and universities. Students must plan to graduate from a U.S. high school in the spring, intend to enroll in an accredited four-year college [...] More
The Levine Scholars Program is UNC Charlotte's most prestigious merit scholarship program. Levine Scholarships are awarded to extraordinary high school seniors based on scholarship, ethical leadership, and civic engagement. Students must be applicants for freshman enrollment at UNC Charlotte in a baccalaureate program for the fall term immediately following their high school graduation. Students [...] More
The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program. It was launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year, and welcomes applications from college seniors, [...] More
The McConnell Scholars Program is a prestigious enrichment program aimed at Kentucky residents who have demonstrated outstanding leadership potential and are committed to the principles of scholarship, leadership, and service. There are 10 awards given each year, and the program has produced more than 200 successful alumni. The program is open to Kentucky high school graduates with a minimum 3.5 [...] More
The George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program is offered to students who want to study abroad in Ireland. Up to twelve Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one academic year of postgraduate study in any discipline. For more information or to apply, please visit the scholarship provider's website. [...] More
The MMUF Dissertation Grants offers awards for a 12-month period. Fellows are encouraged to apply for dissertation grants from their home institutions. Applicants must be Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows and candidates for the Ph.D. degree in fields recognized under the terms of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. For more information or to apply, please visit the scholarship [...] More
The prestigious MMUF Travel & Research Grants are available to graduate students who participated in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. The grants provide eligible graduate students with the financial means to complete their research prior to the start of dissertation writing. Funding is $5,000 for one summer or one semester of travel and/or research support. Applicants must be [...] More
The goals of the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium are: to identify, recruit, and retain students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; to encourage women and underrepresented students to enter these fields of study; and to increase NASA activities and awareness in North Dakota. Undergraduate scholarships will be awarded each school year. The amount of money available for [...] More
The NDSGC has established the prestigious Lillian Goettler Space Grant Award for a female student at North Dakota State University. Applicants must be majoring in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) field, provide transcripts that demonstrate a 3.5 GPA, and be US citizens. Applicants will ideally be involved in a research project of NASA relevance. Undergraduate and graduate [...] More
The NDSGC has established the prestigious Pearl I. Young Space Grant Award for a student at the University of North Dakota. Applicants will ideally be involved in a research project of NASA relevance. Eligible applicants must have a female gender identity or outside the gender binary, be majoring in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) field, provide transcripts that [...] More
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship Program offers competitive, prestigious scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to careers in biomedical, behavioral, and social science health-related research. The program offers scholarship support, paid research training at the NIH during the summer, and paid employment and training at the NIH [...] More
The National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The prestigious program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines who are pursuing research-based [...] More
OMHOF awards yearly scholarships to selected graduating Oregon high school seniors who have exhibited serious pursuit and accomplishment in their personal musicianship - and who are college-bound music majors or minors.
Recipients are publicly recognized at an award presentation where each performs onstage, demonstrating mastery of his/her instrument. For more information or to apply, please [...] More
Graduate and undergraduate students, studying at American colleges and universities or Americans studying abroad, who aspire to become foreign correspondents, are invited to apply for one of the scholarships or fellowships to be awarded by the Overseas Press Club Foundation. Students win either a $2,000 grant or funding for their overseas experience. In many cases, winning a prestigious OPC [...] More
The Knop Science Scholarship is a prestigious four-year, full tuition scholarship based on the next academic year's tuition figures. This is offered to high-achieving students majoring in the fields of math or science. For more information or to apply, please visit the scholarship provider's website. [...] More
The Shelton National Leadership Scholarship awards two or three entering freshmen (to North Carolina State) $5,000 annually toward tuition and fees, renewable upon satisfactory academic progress and leadership involvement. The General Hugh Shelton Leadership Endowment also provides: $2,000 annually for student leadership enrichment experiences; and, additional networking, leadership seminars, and [...] More
The Fulbright Program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide and has provided approximately 310,000 participants with the opportunity to study, teach, or conduct research in each others' countries and exchange ideas.
Fulbright eligibility requirements vary by program and country of citizenship. For specific contact information, eligibility requirements and limits on the number of [...] More
The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans are for up to two years graduate study in the professions and academic disciplines at any institution of higher learning in the United States. The prestigious Fellowships are funded by a trust established by Paul and Daisy Soros. In order to apply, you must be a New American who is 30 or younger as of the application deadline; must be a [...] More
The Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women's Studies encourages original and significant research about women that crosses disciplinary, regional, or cultural boundaries, and supports the final year of dissertation writing for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences whose work addresses topics of women and gender in interdisciplinary and original ways. Previous Fellows [...] More
The Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) is the world's most prestigious youth award for a water-related science project. The prize taps into the unlimited potential of today's high school students as they seek to address current and future water challenges. The competition is open to any high school student in grades 9 through 12, who has reached 15 years of age by August 1st of the competition [...] More
The Earl Anthony Memorial Scholarship annually recognizes a USBC Youth bowler for their community involvement and academic achievements. Applicants must be a current USBC Youth member in their senior year of high school or enrolled in college, be in good standing with the USBC, and have a 3.0 GPA. For more information or to apply, please visit the scholarship provider's website. [...] More
The prestigious Churchill Scholarship offers American students the opportunity to attend, for one year of study, the University of Cambridge for one of two Master’s degrees: the MPhil (Master of Philosophy) or MASt (Master of Advanced Study). An applicant for the Churchill Scholarship must be a citizen of the United States, either native born or naturalized, and must be a senior who is enrolled [...] More
College is a big commitment and burnout is easy if you don’t pace yourself. That said, taking a semester off is a normal thing to do while pursuing your degree. Whether you need a quick break for personal reasons or exciting opportunities, like a once-in-a-lifetime trip or work experience, here’s what you need to know about your scholarship money before taking time off.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid — more commonly known as FAFSA is the key to funding your college education. Not only can the FAFSA connect you to grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities, but filling out the form is
also the first step to applying for federal student loans. Even though filling out the FAFSA is simple and straightforward, several misconceptions still fly around it. Here are the top FAFSA myths you need to stop believing. [...]
Everyone wants to win a full-ride scholarship and enter their freshman year without financial stress. However, the reality is that you have a greater chance of winning smaller scholarships to aid your degree goals. Get a head start on your scholarship game this summer, so that you can head into your senior year closer to funding your college goals. [...]