As much as we preach that scholarship search should not wait until second semester senior year, the reality is that most college-bound students don’t focus attention on how the bills will be paid until they begin to see how much those bills will be. Then suddenly the various scholarship competitions—essay, video, or project oriented—come onto the radar.
Keep in mind that scholarship competitions aren’t just about the money—although that’s good. They can be used to show self-motivation and drive, even if the financial part isn’t particularly noteworthy. And personal recognition can be enormously good for the soul as well as for the college application.
On the outside chance that snow days might be put to good use, here are a few scholarship competitions amounting to millions of dollars that are currently accepting applications:
Atlantic and College Board Writing Prize: One winner will be selected and will receive $5000 based on an essay responding to a specific prompt. The winning essay will be published in the September 2016 issue of The Atlantic. A sponsoring teacher must submit the essay online on or before February 28, 2016.
AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness Scholarship: This scholarship awards up to $5000 to teens able to articulate the impact Alzheimer’s disease has had on their lives and others in their family and community. The competition requires an autobiography along with a 1200- to 1500-word essay submitted no later than February 15, 2016.
Anne Frank Outstanding Scholarship Award: Applicants must be graduating high school seniors who are community leaders and have been accepted to a four-year college. The winner receives a $10,000 scholarship. A personal essay, letters of recommendation, and allowable supporting materials must be submitted by February 19, 2016.
AXA Achievement Community Award: Applicants must demonstrate ambition and self-drive as evidenced by outstanding achievement in school, community or work-related activities. The application deadline is February 1, 2016, but only the first 10,000 applications will be accepted.
BMI Student Composer Awards Program: Young composers are invited to submit original “classical” compositions for a top prize of $5000. Applications must be submitted online no later than February 15, 2016.
Buick Achievers: The Buick Achievers Scholarship Program is offering up to $25,000 per year for 50 first-time freshmen or existing college students, renewable for up to four years and one additional year for those entering a qualified five-year engineering program. These awards are targeted to students who plan to major in a course of study that focuses on engineering technology, design or other majors related to the automotive industry. Applications must be submitted by no later than 5 p.m. EST on February 29, 2016.
Bulkofficesupply.com Scholarship: High school students as well as college freshmen and sophomores interested in teaching, art, or owning a business are eligible to compete for this $1000 scholarship. Submit an application together with an essay of up to 600 words by February 1, 2016.
Courageous Persuaders: Create a 30-second commercial to warn middle school students about the dangers of underage drinking or the dangers of texting while driving. The entry deadline is February 11, 2016.
Davidson Fellows Award: The Davidson Fellows Scholarship awards up to $50,000 to “extraordinary young people, 18 and under, who have completed a significant piece of work” in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature, music, philosophy and “outside the box.” An application, three essays and a video must be submitted no later than February 10, 2016.
Maureen L. and Howard N. Blitman Scholarship: This $2500 scholarship is targeted to a high school senior from an ethnic minority who has been accepted to an ABET-accredited engineering program at a four-year college or university. Applications are due by March 1, 2016.
Richard G. Zimmerman Journalism Scholarship: High school seniors are eligible to compete for a non-renewable award of $5000. Applicants must submit 3 work samples (print or multimedia), 3 letters of recommendation, a transcript, a completed FAFSA, and a letter of acceptance from a college or university. The application package must be postmarked by March 1, 2016.
Rover College Scholarship: Take a survey and write a 400-500 word essay for a chance to win $1000. Entries must be submitted by May 31, 2016.
Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship: Students are invited to apply for a $1000 scholarship based on a 500- to 1000-word essay describing volunteer efforts helping animals. The essay plus three photos must be submitted by February 15, 2016.
SEG Scholarships: To qualify, students must be intending to pursue a college curriculum directed toward a career in applied geophysics or a closely related field, such as geosciences, physics, geology, or earth and environmental sciences. Scholarships range from $500 to $14,000. High school seniors are eligible and must submit online applications by March 1, 2016.
Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship: Applicants will be judged on having shown compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a vegetarian diet and lifestyle. Application, essay, recommendations, and transcript are due by February 20, 2016.
We The Students Scholarship Contests: Students between the ages of 14 and 19 are invited to compete for up to $5000. Special awards are available to Scouts and Scout Troops. Essays must be submitted by no later than February 7, 2016.