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. Scholarship awards range from $60,000 to full tuition over four years.
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 [...] More
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 university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide. For more information or to apply, please visit the scholarship provider's website. [...] 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 3.7 or greater, an ACT composite score of 25 (or equivalent SAT), [...] More
The prestigious Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships are designed to encourage original and significant study of ethical or religious values in all fields of the humanities and social sciences, and particularly to help Ph.D. candidates in these fields complete their dissertation work in a timely manner. Candidates for Ph.D. or Th.D. degrees must be in an American doctoral [...] 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. Applicants must be current high school/home-schooled seniors attending school in the U.S, anticipating completion of a [...] More
Colorado Mesa University (CMU) offers small class sizes, state-of-the-art facilities, and expert faculty who take an interest in your success. A CMU education is a great value, and we stand by our commitment to keep higher education affordable.
Colorado Mesa University's Distinguished Scholar Award is the most prestigious academic award for incoming freshmen and is valued at full tuition and [...] More
The David Geffen Medical Scholarship is a prestigious scholarship that provides four-year financial support to outstanding students entering the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Mr. Geffen, the world-renowned entertainment executive and philanthropist after whom our medical school is named, has once again made a transformative gift to medical education. This time, he has established a [...] More
The Davidson Fellows Scholarship awards prestigious 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. For [...] More
This prestigious scholarship was 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.
These are competitive awards with the primary areas of qualifications being: -Lubbock County high school senior -Student planning to pursue a degree in the physical [...] More
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
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
The Hertz Foundation's Graduate Fellowship award, which is based on merit (not need) consists of a cost of education allowance and a personal support stipend. Eligible applicants for prestigious Hertz Fellowships must be students of the applied physical and biological sciences, mathematics, and engineering who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States of America, and who are [...] More
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
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
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.
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.
The Levine Scholarships carry a high honor, one that bestows tremendous opportunities and assumes high [...] 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 Mary J. Szczepanski "Never Give Up" MS Scholarship Foundation is starting its 16th year and offers annual scholarships to seniors at Catholic Central, Kenowa Hills, Covenant Christian and Northview High Schools in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area for using their creativity and raising funds for multiple sclerosis. The inaugural year of the program was the fall of 2000. This unique and [...] More
The prestigious McConnell Scholarships are reserved for 10 Kentucky graduating high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership potential. Scholarships are renewable for a total of four years.
Scholarship amounts will be determined by the selections committee, but typically will include full tuition and a stipend for books at the University of Louisville. In addition, each [...] More
The George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program is a prestigious, nationally competitive award for U.S. citizens sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance. Named in honor of the former U.S. Senator's pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, the Mitchell Scholarship is designed to introduce and connect future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering [...] More
The MMUF Dissertation Grants are available to graduate students who participated in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. The grants provide graduate students at the critical juncture of completing their graduate degrees with support to spend a year finishing the writing of the dissertation.
The prestigious dissertation grant offers up to $20,000 for a 12-month period. Fellows are [...] 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
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
High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Eligible applicants must take the PSAT/NMSQT in the specified year of the high school program and no later than the third year in grades 9 through 12, regardless of grade classification or educational pattern. Applicants must also be enrolled as a high [...] More
The prestigious American Indian Scholarships are designed to encourage and support Native American students interesting in pursuing STEM degrees and continuing their education beyond their current enrollment in community college. To assist students in their goals, the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium offers five scholarships, each worth $2,500, to Native American students at five tribal [...] More
The NDSGC has established the prestigious Lillian Goettler Space Grant Award for a female student at North Dakota State University. Applicants will ideally be involved in a research project of NASA relevance. The $2,5000 renewable award is given to honor the ideals of scholarship as exemplified by Lillian Goettler.
Eligibility: -Must be a female -Minimum 3.5 GPA -Must be a U.S. [...] More
The NDSGC has established the prestigious Pearl I. Young Space Grant Award for a female student at the University of North Dakota. Applicants will ideally be involved in a research project of NASA relevance.
Eligibility: -Must be female -Must have a minimum 3.5 GPA -Must be a U.S. citizen -On-campus student majoring in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) field at [...] 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 -Paid employment and training at the [...] 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.
Each applicant should be a student studying music with the talent of instrument or voice graduating in the upcoming spring from an Oregon high school and continuing their collegiate [...] 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.
From among those chosen for OPC Foundation recognition, the Foundation selects up to 11 fellows and pays travel and [...] More
The Knop Science Scholarship is a prestigious four-year, full tuition scholarship based on the next academic year's tuition figures. 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 mathematics departments at Ripon [...] More
Designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders, Schwarzman Scholars is the first scholarship created to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st Century. Whether in politics, business or science, the success of future leaders around the world will depend on an understanding of China's role in global trends.
Enrolling the inaugural class next year, the program will give the [...] 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 awards by [...] 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
Funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Program provides undergraduate and graduate students with financial support, mentoring and professional development to prepare them academically and professionally for a career in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service. Women, [...] More
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
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 [...] More
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 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
The Earl Anthony Memorial Scholarship annually recognizes a USBC Youth bowler for their community involvement and academic achievements. One winner will be chosen and awarded a $5,000 scholarship. The United States Bowling Congress presents this prestigious scholarship in honor of the late Earl Anthony. Anthony was dedicated to helping youth bowlers and USBC is proud to continue these efforts in [...] More
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
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
Scholars will launch an interdisciplinary journal next year, called The Journal of Controversial Ideas, where authors will be able to publish their academic work under pseudonyms due to "recent threats against polarizing academics." There will be no restrictions on academic disciplines, and "both left-wingers and right-wingers" are welcome on the editorial board. [...]
Research indicates that college students are expected to vote in record numbers in today's midterm election, in stark contrast to the nation's lowest youth turnout and voter registration in 2014. While forty percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say they will "definitely vote" in the midterm elections, "doesn't mean they'll actually cast a ballot on Election Day." Here are a few of the issues in higher education on which voters will have a say: [...]
Graduate student assistants across the nation are pushing for a $15 per hour stipend, which they believe is a "minimum living wage." Graduate students have attributed the 29 percent stipend increase at Emory University to their successful campus advocacy. [...]