Edited By: Kevin Ladd | Updated: June 6, 2024


scholarships for college

Investing in a college education can be expensive, and many high school seniors will choose not to further their studies out of fear of all the college costs and post-graduate debt that comes with an undergraduate degree. As of 2023, the average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public college in North America, for example, is $9,678 for in-state students and $27,091 for out-of-state students.

Continue reading the article below the scholarship list.

25 Scholarships with Approaching Deadlines

This is where college scholarships can change the game. A college scholarship provides students with financial aid toward their education. Students can apply for scholarships in various ways: through businesses, schools, community foundations, colleges and a number of other ways.

Different Types of College Scholarships

There are a variety of scholarships available for undergraduate students, and not all are related to academic achievement. Some scholarships are solely merit-based scholarships, meaning they aren't based on financial need. Scholarships will also differ depending on whether you're applying for four-year colleges or community colleges.

Some of the types of scholarships offered:

How Much Do Scholarships Pay Out?

It is also important to consider the potential payout from different scholarships during your scholarship search, and what kind of scholarship money you may be receiving. As the U.S. Department of Education awards an estimated $46 billion in scholarship money each year, there is a lot of scholarship money out there, and college scholarships can contribute a lot toward education-related expenses.

Scholarships tend to fall into one of two main categories regarding student aid:

This means that some scholarships will pay for all of your educational expenses, while partially funded scholarships will cover a portion of the tuition fees, or may only cover living expenses or money for educational resources, such as textbooks. It's essential to choose the right type of scholarship for your financial situation.

Generally, academic and athletic scholarships will provide the most money, and this is due to the level of competition and strict criteria necessary to achieve either of these types of scholarship. For example, an athletic scholarship may cover most or all of your tuition costs, but obtaining one requires an incredibly high standard of athletic performance throughout your time at school, in addition to a grade point average that is up to the standards of the university.

How to Maximize Your Scholarship Opportunities

Each scholarship program will have different eligibility requirements, but the process for applying typically remains the same for high school students looking to pursue post-secondary education.

Start Early

Considering the prospect of scholarships early in your high school career will enable you to prepare your application and have your academic record in the best possible shape, whilst also allowing you to gain a better understanding of what scholarship committees want in an application.

Applying for scholarships early will give you more time to write your application (if a written submission is required) and a chance to boost your grades and add extra-curriculars to your application.

Make Sure the Fundamentals Are In Order

While each scholarship may have unique criteria for selection, there are some basic requirements that can enhance opportunities for students to be selected, regardless of the scholarship they are applying for.

Decide Which Scholarship Options You Wish to Pursue

The majority of scholarships for students are granted by colleges themselves, often referred to as "institutional scholarships", which universities and colleges offer to high school seniors with strong scholarship applications. Of these, many will be directly related to a student's standardized test scores, so getting a good score on your SAT or ACT can be critical in securing this type of free money.

Private scholarships are another avenue to explore, although some of the larger ones may be more competitive. Numerous prominent companies like Google, Microsoft, Walmart, and Coca-Cola, among others, offer scholarships. Your school might have a list of available scholarship opportunities, so it's worth asking your teachers or counselors and checking your school's website to find scholarships that suit you.

Continue Applying for Scholarships as a College Student

The quest for scholarship opportunities doesn't conclude when you start college. You can still seek scholarships and financial aid throughout your schooling, and many current college students do this to greatly alleviate the financial burdens they face during this time.

Frequently Asked Questions about Scholarships

1. How Can I Improve My Chances of Obtaining a Scholarship?

Take the Application Process Seriously

You should treat applying for scholarships in the same way that you would treat a job. Use your free time wisely to scholarship search, and take care with your applications, paying close attention to details. More time spent working on your scholarship applications and improving your grade point average means that your essay is more likely to stand out, and won’t simply blend in with the rest.

Choose a Scholarship That Works For You

Not every scholarship will be the best fit for you and your personality, so take the time to really look around for scholarships that could apply to your unique traits. Consider your talents, hobbies, future goals, and even your background or gender. There are scholarships related to specific criteria, such as first-generation students or permanent residents of certain states, so spend time browsing and deciding which ones you would have the best chance of receiving.

Get Involved in the Community

Your community involvement can play a big role in determining whether you receive a scholarship or not. Many colleges will take into account your community service and community activities when considering your application, as this highlights your efforts in giving back to your local area. Consider volunteering in shelters or starting fundraisers to help support your community.

2. Are There Scholarships Available for Master's-Level Study or Doctoral-Level Study?

Scholarships are not only limited to college freshmen. If you're looking for a scholarship for Master's-Level Study or Doctoral-Level Study as a graduate student, then there are scholarships available that help to cover college tuition or college costs at this level. Many of these scholarships are also available to international students looking to attend graduate schools.

Scholarships for graduate school students, both in the US and internationally, are offered by a range of universities, such as the Oxford Rhodes Scholarship, as well as government-funded scholarships. There are also many major-specific scholarships available, to both US students and international students. You can find scholarships for Master's-Level Study and Doctoral-Level Study by taking a look at our list of scholarships.

3. Where Can I Find Scholarship Opportunities?

4. What are the Key Components of a Compelling Scholarship Application?

Not all scholarships require a written essay, and a no-essay scholarship is an option if that is something you are looking for. However, many scholarship providers will ask you to submit a written application, highlighting why you deserve their scholarship. The financial aid office will consider your application carefully, so it needs to stand out from the crowd.

5. Are There Scholarships Specifically for Certain Fields of Study?

There are scholarships available to college students involved in specific fields of study, such as STEM subjects, as well as healthcare and education majors. If you’re obtaining a degree in nursing, teaching, or one of the fields listed above, there will likely be scholarship and financial aid opportunities available to you.

However, other subjects may have scholarship opportunities on offer to help subsidize the cost of attendance or resources, so be sure to check out our Scholarship Database by subject to help you narrow down your search.