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Prestigious Scholarships

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.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship & Excellence in Education Program

  • Application Deadline: 1/27/2021
  • Amount: $15,000
  • The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields.
    Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually. Scholarship monies not used during [...] More

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness.
    The Gilman Scholarship Program is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or [...] More

Catawba College's McCorkle Scholarships

  • Application Deadline: 11/1/2020
  • Amount: Varies
  • 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 3.7 or greater, an ACT composite score of 25 (or equivalent SAT), [...] More

Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 10/31/2020
  • Amount: $20,000
  • 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. Applicants must be current high school/home-schooled seniors attending school in the U.S, anticipating completion of a [...] More

David Geffen Medical Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: Varies
  • 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

Davidson Fellows Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 2/12/2021
  • Amount: $50,000
  • The Davidson Fellows Scholarship awards $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 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 [...] More

Don & Sybil Harrington Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 3/15/2020
  • Amount: $3,000
  • The Don & Sybil Harrington Scholarship is established for the benefit of truly exceptional students from Lubbock County High Schools who wish to pursue their education in the fields of Mathematics, Physical Sciences or Engineering. Financial need may be considered. For more information, or to apply, please visit the scholarship provider's [...] More

Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Competition

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: $50,000
  • The Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student scholarship contest is open to any high school senior who is a U.S. citizen. The Elks National Foundation will award 500 prestigious, four-year scholarships to the highest-rated applicants in the competition. Applicants cannot be related to a member of the Elks. Males and females compete separately. For more information or to apply, please visit [...] More

Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 1/31/2021
  • Amount: $9,500
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings (Hollings) scholarship program is designed to: (1) increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology, and education and foster multidisciplinary training opportunities; (2) increase public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve [...] More

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: $75,000
  • Each year more than 1,700 student finalists earn the right to attend the prestigious Intel ISEF as a result of winning an Intel ISEF-affiliated fair at a local, regional, or national level. Intel ISEF finalists compete for more than $5 million in awards and prizes and are judged on their creative ability and scientific thought, as well as the thoroughness, skill, and clarity shown in their [...] More

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 11/13/2020
  • Amount: $40,000
  • 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

Jim Funk Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 4/22/2020
  • Amount: Varies
  • Established in 2012, this scholarship is the LRA Education Foundation's most prestigious award. It is named for the former LRA President and CEO Jim Funk who was instrumental in starting this foundation during his 30 years of service to the LRA. This scholarship is renewable on an annual basis for up to four years provided minimum GPA and enrollment standards are met.

    Applicants must be [...] More

Levine Scholars Program

  • Application Deadline: 10/19/2020
  • Amount: $155,000
  • The Levine Scholars Program is UNC Charlotte's most prestigious merit scholarship program that was established by benefactors Sandra and Leon Levine. Levine Scholarships are awarded to extraordinary high school seniors based on scholarship, ethical leadership, and civic engagement. Students must be nominated online by their school counselor or college advisor at their current high school. There [...] More

Luce Scholars Program

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: Varies
  • 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

McConnell Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 12/15/2020
  • Amount: Varies
  • 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

MMUF Dissertation Grants

  • Application Deadline: 11/29/2020
  • Amount: $25,000
  • The MMUF Dissertation Grants offer up to $25,000 for a 12-month period. Fellows are encouraged to apply for dissertation grants from their home institutions. Winners who do not receive dissertation support from their own institutions are eligible to receive the full amount. The grant will be reduced by funding from other sources to ensure that each awardee receives a maximum award from all [...] More

MMUF Travel & Research Grants

  • Application Deadline: 3/13/2020
  • Amount: $5,000
  • 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

National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship

  • Application Deadline: 12/18/2020
  • Amount: Varies
  • As a means of increasing the number of U.S. citizens and nationals trained in science and engineering disciplines of military importance, the Department of Defense plans to award approximately 180 new three-year graduate fellowships in April, subject to the availability of funds. The DoD will offer these prestigious fellowships to individuals who have demonstrated the ability and special aptitude [...] More

NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program

  • Application Deadline: 3/18/2020
  • Amount: $80,000
  • 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 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship For New Americans

  • Application Deadline: 11/1/2020
  • Amount: $20,000
  • 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

  • Application Deadline: 10/15/2020
  • Amount: $5,000
  • The Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women's Studies encourages original and significant research about women that crosses disciplinary, regional, or cultural boundaries. Previous Fellows have explored such topics as transnational religious education for Muslim women, the complex gender dynamics of transidentity management, women's electoral success across racial and institutional [...] More

U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize

  • Application Deadline: 4/15/2020
  • Amount: $15,000
  • 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, and have reached 15 years of age by August 1st of the competition [...] More

Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 3/2/2020
  • Amount: $7,000
  • The Udall Foundation awards prestigious scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to American Indian nations or to the environment.

    The Udall Foundation will award 60 scholarships of up to $7,000 each, and anticipates that at least 20 scholarships will be awarded in Tribal Public Policy and Native Health Care.

    The Udall [...] More

University of Georgia Foundation Fellowship

  • Application Deadline: 11/1/2020
  • Amount: $22,300
  • The Fellowship provides an annual stipend of $12,000 for Georgia residents (in addition to the Zell Miller Scholarship, valued at $9,552 per year) and $19,760 for non-residents (plus a Presidential waiver, currently worth $18,574 per year). Additionally, Fellows receive individual travel-study grants ($9,000), spring group travel-study (one domestic and two international trips, valued at $9,900), [...] More

Vinson & Elkins Scholarship Foundation

  • Application Deadline: 4/1/2020
  • Amount: $10,000
  • In addition to receiving a $10,000 Vinson & Elkins Scholarship, each V&E Scholar is offered summer internships. To be eligible to become a Vinson & Elkins Scholar, students must attend and be in good standing at a high school accredited by the Texas Education Agency. The high school must also be located in the greater Austin, Dallas or Houston area. Only high school seniors may apply. You must be [...] More

Winston Churchill Foundation of the USA Scholarship Program

  • Application Deadline: 10/31/2020
  • Amount: Varies
  • The prestigious Churchill Scholarship was set up at the request of Sir Winston Churchill in order to fulfill his vision of US-UK scientific exchange with the goal of advancing science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic, helping to ensure our future prosperity and security. An applicant for the Churchill Scholarship must be a citizen of the United States, either native born or [...] More

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Last Reviewed: February 2020

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