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.
The Marshall Scholarship is intended for candidates who have the potential to excel as scholars, as leaders and as contributors to improved UK-US understanding. In doing so, we recognise the value of diversity among applicants and promote equality of opportunity. The selection criteria are divided into three equally weighted categories: Academic Merit; Leadership Potential; and Ambassadorial [...] More
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship 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. The Foundation has provided over 6,750 Coca-Cola Scholars with more than $81 million in educational support. [...] 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 intent of the Luce Scholars Program is to provide an in-depth experience in Asia to young Americans who would not otherwise have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the country where they are placed. Eligible applicants must: be U.S. citizens or permanent residents; and may be graduating seniors, recent graduates, or young professionals under the age of 32, or if older than 32, [...] More
The Socratic Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship award 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 student [...] 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 Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program is the largest undergraduate scholarship program available to high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend the nation’s best four-year colleges and universities. In addition to the monetary award, Cooke Scholars receive comprehensive educational advising, significant cohort-based programming, and graduate school [...] 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 grant or funding for their overseas experience. In many cases, winning a prestigious OPC Foundation [...] More
The MMUF Advancement Program Fellows bring diverse perspectives to their graduate studies and careers in the academy, ensuring their perspectives are shared within their disciplines and with their students. Fellows are alumni of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program and gather to prepare graduate school applications, receive funding for additional research, and professional [...] 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
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 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 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
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
To be considered for scholarships at Augustana, students must complete the free Application for Admission and Scholarship. Students must be full-time and in good academic standing to maintain these scholarships. Augustana University scholarships are awarded to assist with direct educational costs for tuition, fees, university-owned housing and board.
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 Shelton Leadership Center’s values-based leadership development programs now reach youth, college students, and professionals at NC State University and other higher education institutions, corporations, government entities, nonprofits, and youth development organizations. His values-based leadership approach is based on five values: honesty, integrity, diversity, compassion, and social [...] More
Education is vital to the growth and future of every community. Because of this, the Saginaw Community Foundation administers a variety of scholarship programs for high school, community college, university and vocational students. Since awarding our first $500 scholarship in 1987, the Saginaw Community Foundation has awarded more than $8 million in scholarships. Learn more about all of our [...] 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 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 Knop Science Scholarship is a prestigious four-year, full tuition scholarship based on tuition figures for the year to which the award money will be applied. The Ripon College Knop Science Scholars Board convenes each year at the beginning of the second semester. The mission of the board is to identify high-achieving students who show the potential to contribute greatly to the science and [...] 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
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 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 U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) was founded in 1997 by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to complement the Stockholm Water Prize. The SJWP is the world's most prestigious award presented to a high school student for a water-research project. Since the prize's inception, WEF has conducted the U.S. SJWP to send a national winner to the international competition. The [...] More
In addition to interactive musical presentations, 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. Recipients are publicly recognized at an award presentation where each performs onstage, demonstrating mastery of his/her instrument.
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
Through our unique international educational and cultural exchange programs, Fulbright’s diverse and dynamic network of scholars, alumni and global partners fosters mutual understanding between the United States and partner nations, shares knowledge across communities, and improves lives around the world. Since its establishment in 1946 by Congress, the Fulbright Program has given more than [...] 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 National Science Foundation supports fellowships for outstanding graduate students who are pursuing full-time, research-based masters and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering or math or STEM education. NSF GRFP was established to recruit and support individuals who demonstrate the potential to make significant contributions in STEM. Thus, NSF especially encourages [...] More
The David Geffen Medical Scholarships provide financial support to outstanding students entering DGSOM, including in-state tuition (if applicable, out-of-state tuition is covered for year one only), and a living stipend to be put towards the other expenses of medical school, including room and board, required books and supplies, health insurance, and transportation. The David Geffen Medical [...] More
When you get acceptance letters from multiple colleges, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time to celebrate. But once the mental confetti has fallen, it’s time to decide: which school do you actually want to attend?
High school students planning to work in a STEM-based field can rest assured about their career prospects. Research shows that STEM jobs will grow more than twice as rapidly as non-STEM jobs over the next 8 years. [...]
Did you know that there are more scholarships with deadlines in March than any other month? Now is the time to put in a little bit of your time to apply for as many scholarships as you possibly can. Of course, you are going to want to prioritize wisely, with just over a week left in the month. [...]