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Prestigious Scholarships

If you’ve been in the scholarship search process for a while, you probably know about the most prestigious scholarships out there. While they are typically more competitive than other awards, the work you put in to the lengthy applications required as part of a submission for these scholarships can pay off if you’re chosen as a recipient of one—prestigious scholarships typically have impressive award amounts attached.

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, as well, as recipients are then able to boast that they were chosen among thousands of applicants. These awards typically target the best and the brightest among you, and grades, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities and community service will matter. Less tangible criteria will matter as well; scholarship providers for these awards want to see leaders, go-getters, and motivated individuals. Don’t let all of this discourage you, though. 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 will like 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. Most 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 from $10,000 to $20,000. Applicants for that award must have at least a 3.0 GPA to be competitive in the pool. 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 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. For example, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program offers low-income minority applicants the opportunity to fund their undergraduate or graduate careers and reach their full potential with a generous aid package and a leadership development component. Scholarship amounts vary for this one, but the program typically covers a winner’s unmet need. 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 moot 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 Distinguished Scholar Competition
Application Deadlines: January 25, Annually
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 $36,000 to full tuition over four years. In addition, 20 stipends will be [...] More

Catawba College's McCorkle Scholarships
Application Deadlines: February 12, Annually
The McCorkle's Scholarships are the most prestigious scholarship awards at Catawba. Consideration for the McCorkle's Scholarship is by invitation only. In order to be considered for an invitation, students must first apply for admission to Catawba by January of their senior year, and be admitted by February. Qualified students are invited to compete based on high school GPA, coursework intensity, [...] More

Colorado Mesa University's Distinguished Scholar Award
Application Deadlines:
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. Last year, we awarded more than $73 million in financial aid and scholarships to 75 percent of the student body.

Colorado Mesa University's [...] More

David Geffen Medical Scholarship
Application Deadlines:
The David Geffen Medical Scholarship is a prestigious new scholarship that provide 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

F. Lammot Belin Arts Scholarships
Application Deadlines: December 15, Annually
The scholarship was endowed with funds provided by the Belin family and has become a prestigious annual award. The scholarship was established to provide financial assistance to artists of outstanding aptitude and promise in the fine arts. It is intended to aid the recipients in their development into professional artists.

The recipient may use the money for formal or informal study or travel [...] More

Gen. Hugh Shelton National Student Leadership Scholarship
Application Deadlines: October 15, Annually
This is one of the USA’s most prestigious scholarships for student leaders. It is awarded to an entering freshman, valued at $10,000 per year, renewable upon satisfactory academic progress and leadership involvement.

Selection for this award is based on your leadership experience and potential, personal character and integrity, community service, understanding of and interest in the program, [...] More

Intel Science Talent Search
Application Deadlines: November 11, Annually
The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS), a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the nation's oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. It honors exceptional high school seniors for their scientific research and their potential as future leaders in the scientific community.

Each year, approximately 1,800 students attending American high schools enter the [...] More

John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest
Application Deadlines: January 06, Annually
The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest is the nation's most prestigious honor for elected public servants. The Award was created in 1989 by members of President Kennedy's family to honor President John F. Kennedy and recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most.

The Profile in Courage Essay Contest invites high school students to consider the [...] More

Levine Scholars Program
Application Deadlines: October 15, Annually
The Levine Scholars Program is UNC Charlotte's most prestigious merit scholarship program that was established in 2009 by benefactors Sandra and Leon Levine. The inaugural class of Levine Scholars entered in the fall semester of 2010 and a new cohort of approximately 20 students is selected to join the program each year. Levine Scholarships are awarded to extraordinary high school seniors based [...] More

Loren L. Zachary Society For The Performing Arts National Vocal Competition for Young Opera Singers
Application Deadlines:
Founded in 1972, by the late Loren L. Zachary and Nedra Zachary, the National Vocal Competition for Young Opera Singers is one of the most prestigious and valuable singing competitions in the world. The competition is open to Singers ages 21 - 35. Singers must be prepared to pursue a professional operatic stage career, be present for all phases of the Competition, and reside in the United States [...] More

McConnell Scholarship
Application Deadlines: December 15, Annually
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

NDSGC American Indian Scholarship
Application Deadlines:
The recently established 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 [...] More

NDSGC Lillian Goettler Scholarship
Application Deadlines: February 12, Annually
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 award, for $2,500 per year, is given to honor the ideals of scholarship as exemplified by Lillian Goettler. Lillian L. Goettler was a distinguished NDSU professor. Awarded a doctorate in [...] More

NDSGC Pearl I. Young Scholarship
Application Deadlines: February 12, Annually
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
American Citizen
-On-campus student majoring in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) field at University [...] More

Oregon Music Hall of Fame Scholarship
Application Deadlines: February 14, Annually
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.
OMHOF awarded 26 scholarships totaling $35,500. Our [...] More

Overseas Press Club Foundation
Application Deadlines: December 01, Annually
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 fourteen scholarships or internships to be awarded by the Overseas Press Club Foundation.

From among those chosen for OPC Foundation recognition, the Foundation selects up to 11 scholars and pays travel [...] More

Ripon College Knop Science Scholars Program
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
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

U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize
Application Deadlines: April 15, Annually
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 9-12, and are 15 years of age by August 1st of the competition year. All [...] More

University of Georgia/Foundation Fellowships
Application Deadlines: November 04, Annually
The Foundation Fellowship and the Bernard Ramsey Honors Scholarship are the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships at UGA.

The Fellowship provides an annual stipend of $11,072 for in-state students (in addition to the Zell Miller Scholarship, valued at $8,590 per year) and $18,180 for out-of-state students (plus an out-of-state tuition waiver, currently worth $18,210 per year). [...] More

USBC Earl Anthony Memorial Scholarship
Application Deadlines: December 01, Annually
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

Vinson & Elkins Scholarship Foundation
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
In addition to receiving a $10,000 scholarship, each V&E Scholar is offered summer internships at Vinson & Elkins, mentoring from V&E attorneys (some of whom are themselves V&E Scholars), and reimbursement for an LSAT preparatory course. V&E Scholars have gone on to the nation's most prestigious universities, and many have attended top law schools. Whether our scholars are in law school, the [...] More

Last Edited: February 2016

Scholarships by Type

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