Scholarships may be awarded based on merit or need. Scholarships that are merit-based are given to students based on their academic success, skills, or abilities. Students are also given need-based scholarships based on their financial needs. Some scholarships can be awarded based on both merit and need.

Scholarships are frequently given out for a set amount of time, such as a semester or an academic year, and they may be renewed provided the student continues to match the requirements. In contrast to student loans, scholarships are not returned.

How to Get a Scholarship for College in High School

1. Start Early: Start researching scholarships and financial aid opportunities early in high school. This will give you more time to find scholarships that match your qualifications and to prepare your application materials.

2. Research: Research scholarships that match your qualifications, interests, and career goals. This can be done through scholarship search websites, guidance counselors, or by visiting the financial aid office of the college you plan to attend.

3. Meet with your Counselor: Make an appointment with your guidance counselor to discuss your scholarship options and to get help with your application materials.

4. Maintain Good Grades: Maintain good grades throughout high school. Many scholarships require a minimum GPA, so it’s important to keep your grades up.

5. Get Involved: Get involved in extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and community service. Many scholarships require evidence of community involvement and leadership.

6. Write a Great Essay: Many scholarships require an essay as part of the application process. Be sure to write a great essay that showcases your strengths, accomplishments, and goals.

7. Tailor Your Application: Tailor your scholarship application to the specific scholarship you are applying for. This means that you should highlight the qualities, experiences, and achievements that align with the scholarship’s requirements.

8. Follow the Instructions: Carefully read the instructions for each scholarship you are applying for and be sure to follow them. Many scholarships are disqualified because the applicant did not follow the instructions.

9. Submit your Application on Time: Be sure to submit your scholarship application on time. Late applications will not be accepted.

10. Apply for Multiple Scholarships: Apply for as many scholarships as you can. The more scholarships you apply for, the greater your chances of getting one.

Scholarships Available to High School Students Who Are Planning to Attend College

Interestingly, there are many scholarships available for high school students who are planning to attend college. Here are a few examples:

  1. The National Merit Scholarship Program

The National Merit Scholarship Program is a highly competitive scholarship program that recognizes academically talented high school students in the United States. The program is open to high school students who are in their final year of secondary education and plan to attend college.

The National Merit Scholarship Program uses the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) as the initial screening process. Students who score in the top 1% of PSAT/NMSQT test takers in their state are recognized as National Merit Semifinalists. These students are then eligible to apply to become a National Merit Finalist.

Once selected as a National Merit Finalist, the student will submit an application with additional information including an essay and school transcript. The finalist will then be selected for the scholarship based on his/her academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

The National Merit Scholarship Program awards scholarships to about 7,500 high school students each year. The scholarships are financed by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which is supported by about 400 independent corporate and college sponsors.

  1. The ROTC Scholarship

The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship is a scholarship program for high school students who are interested in pursuing a career in the military.

The ROTC scholarship is offered by the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force, and provides students with financial assistance to cover the cost of tuition, books, and other expenses while they attend college and participate in ROTC training.

To be eligible for the ROTC scholarship, students must be U.S. citizens, between the ages of 17 and 26, and meet certain physical and academic requirements. They must also be willing to commit to serving in the military after they graduate from college.

The scholarship application process typically includes an application form, an interview, and a physical examination. The scholarship amount varies based on the branch of service and the student’s financial need.

  1. The QuestBridge National College Match

The QuestBridge National College Match is a college and scholarship application process that connects high-achieving, low-income students with some of the most selective colleges and universities in the United States. It is open to high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability and are from low-income families.

The QuestBridge National College Match process begins with an online application that includes student information, essays, and transcripts. Based on their application, a select group of students is chosen as QuestBridge Finalists.

These students are then matched with one of QuestBridge’s partner colleges, including institutions such as Yale, Princeton, and the University of Chicago. If a student is matched with a college, they are guaranteed a full four-year scholarship to attend that college.

The QuestBridge National College Match program is highly competitive, with thousands of students applying each year and only a small percentage being selected as finalists. The program is designed to help high-achieving, low-income students gain access to the nation’s top colleges and universities.

  1. The National Honor Society Scholarship

The National Honor Society (NHS) scholarship is a scholarship program for high school students who are members of the National Honor Society. The National Honor Society is an organization that recognizes high-achieving high school students for their outstanding scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

To be eligible for the NHS scholarship, students must be active members in good standing of an NHS chapter. They must also have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

The scholarship application process typically includes an application form, an essay, and a letter of recommendation. The scholarship amount and the number of awards vary based on the chapter or local-level organization.

  1. The Gates Millennium Scholars

The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) program is a scholarship program for high school seniors of African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American descent who plan to attend college.

The program was established in 1999 with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is administered by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

To be eligible for the GMS scholarship, students must be U.S. citizens, have a minimum grade point average of 3.3, and be from a low-income or minority background. They must also demonstrate leadership qualities and be committed to serving their community.

The scholarship application process typically includes an application form, essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. The scholarship amount varies depending on the student’s financial need and can be used to cover expenses such as tuition, books, and room and board.

  1. The Coca-Cola Scholars Program

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program is a scholarship program for high school seniors who plan to attend college. The program is funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation and is administered by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

To be eligible for the Coca-Cola Scholars Program, students must be U.S. citizens, have a minimum grade point average of 3.0, and be planning to attend an accredited college or university in the United States. They must also demonstrate leadership qualities and be committed to serving their community.

The scholarship application process typically includes an application form, essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts.

The scholarship amount varies, but each year the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation awards 150 four-year scholarships to high school seniors across the United States, with 50 scholarships awarded to first-year college students, and 100 scholarships awarded to high school seniors.

  1. The Elks National Foundation

The Elks National Foundation (ENF) is the charitable arm of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, a fraternal organization in the United States. The ENF is responsible for administering various programs, including scholarships and grants, which are intended to help individuals and communities in need.

One of the most well-known programs of the ENF is the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which is a scholarship program for high school seniors who plan to attend college. The scholarships are awarded based on academics, leadership, and financial need.

To be eligible for the Most Valuable Student scholarship, students must be U.S. citizens, have a minimum grade point average of 2.5, and be planning to attend an accredited college or university in the United States. They must also demonstrate leadership qualities and be committed to serving their community.

The scholarship application process typically includes an application form, essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. The scholarship amount varies, but each year the Elks National Foundation awards over $3.5 million in scholarships to high school seniors across the United States.

  1. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program:

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program is a scholarship program for high-achieving, low-income students who plan to attend college. The program was established in 2000 by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, a private, independent foundation that supports education for high-achieving, low-income students.

To be eligible for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship, students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.5, demonstrate significant financial need, and be planning to attend an accredited college or university in the United States. They must also have a strong record of academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and leadership.

The scholarship application process typically includes an application form, essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. The scholarship amount varies, but each year the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation awards up to $40,000 per year to each of its college scholarship recipients.