Do you think that scholarships opportunities are only for high school seniors?
Two years ago, when Emilie started planning for college, we looked into which scholarships she would qualify for. Imagine my surprise when I realized we should have been researching these opportunities before she entered middle school.
I watched as my daughter became increasingly frustrated only having a few short months to craft numerous scholarship essays on top of filling out college applications, studying for college entrance exams, all while maintaining her grade point average.
Starting your child’s college scholarship search before they even enter high school will allow them to devote more time and effort into each application. Many scholarships allow you to apply multiple years, so if they do not win an award on their first try, they can always reapply next year.
I wish I knew about these scholarship opportunities sooner. Now that I have this knowledge, my younger kids will get a head start planning for their college educations.
I have compiled a list of these opportunities, so your kids can get a head start too!
Family Travel Forum Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Family Travel Forum and the Society of American Travel Writers invite you to submit travel blogs that are serious, funny or contemplative, as long as they are informative. The top winners will receive cash awards. Twenty-five finalists will win honorable mention awards and travel gifts such as passes to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attractions. Ten finalists will win a pair of CityPASS ticket booklets containing prepaid admission to the top attractions in their choice of 10 North American destinations: New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hollywood, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle or Toronto.
The Angela Award recognizes a female student in grades 5-8 who is involved in science. It is open to US and Canadian students. The award is a $1,000 US EE Savings Bond or Canadian Savings Bond. The award was established in honor of Gerry Wheeler, Executive Director Emeritus of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).
BattleBots IQ is a robot-building contest for teams of middle and high school students and college students. See the rules for more information, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christopher Columbus Community Service Awards
The Christopher Columbus Community Service Awards are open to teams of students in grades 6-8. The competition focuses on using science and technology to solve real-world community problems. Each member of the winning teams receives a $2,000 US Savings Bond. Winners also receive a trip to the National Championship Week at Walt Disney World. The competition is sponsored by the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation in cooperation with the National Science Foundation. The deadline is the second Monday in February. For more information, call 1-800-291-6020, write to Christopher Columbus Awards, 105 Terry Drive, Suite 120, Newtown, PA 18940-3425, or send email to email@example.com.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation supports over 1,400 college students each year, with annual scholarships of $3.45 million, through two nationally recognized programs.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors each year. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, and their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. With the 26th class in 2014, the Foundation has provided over 5,400 Coca-Cola Scholars with more than $54 million in educational support. 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are selected each year to receive this $20,000 scholarship.
Davidson Fellowships are awarded by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development to US students under age 18 who have completed a significant piece of work in the fields of Mathematics, Science, Technology, Music, Literature, Philosophy or Outside the Box. The significant piece of work should have the potential to benefit society. The focus of the program is on gifted and talented students. There is no minimum age for eligibility. Four $50,000 scholarships, seven $25,000 scholarships, and five $10,000 scholarships are awarded each year. The deadline is March 31 (receipt); there are earlier deadlines for some forms. For more information, write to The Davidson Institute for Talent Development, Attn: Davidson Fellows Coordinators, 9665 Gateway Drive, Suite B, Reno, NV 89521 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doodle 4 Google
Google is famous for the doodles that occasionally replace the Google logo. The Doodle 4 Google competition challenges children in grades K-12 to create their own play on Google’s logo. Doodles are judged in four grade groups: K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. There is one national finalist in each grade group. One national winner receives a $15,000 college scholarship, a trip to the Google New York office, a laptop computer, a digital tablet and a t-shirt with his or her doodle. (The winner’s school or after-school program also receives a $25,000 technology grant.) The other three national finalists receive a $5,000 scholarship, a trip to the Google New York office, a digital tablet and a t-shirt with his or her doodle. The registration deadline is in early March and the doodle entry deadline is in mid-March.
DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition
The DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition is sponsored by the DuPont Center for Collaborative Research & Education in cooperation with General Learning Communications. The competition is open to US and Canadian students in grades 7-12 inclusive. The competition involves writing a 700 to 1,000 word essay about a scientific or technological development, event, or theory chosen by the student. Topic areas include chemical sciences, life sciences, physical sciences, earth sciences, environmental sciences and space technology. There are two divisions: grades 7-9 and grades 10-12. Within each division there is one first place prize of a $5,000 US Savings Bond, one second place prize of a $3,000 US Savings Bond, one third place prize of a $2,000 US Savings Bond, and several honorable mention prizes of a $200 US Savings Bond. The first through third place winners also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Space Center Houston with a parent and the sponsoring Science and English teachers. The deadline is in mid-January. For more information, call 1-847-205-3000 or write to The DuPont Challenge, Science Essay Awards Program, c/o General Learning Communications, 900 Skokie Blvd., Suite 200, Northbrook, IL 60062-4028.
Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes is awarded annually to ten US and Canadian students, aged 8-18, who have developed an extraordinary service project that helped people and the planet. Half of the winners are focused on helping their communities and people, and half are focused on protecting the environment. Winners receive a $2,500 scholarship. For more information, write to The Barron Prize, PO Box 17, Boulder, CO 80306-0017.
Kohl’s Kids Who Care Program
The Kohl’s Kids Who Care Program (www.kohlskids.com) honors students age 6-18 who are involved in community service. Candidates enter by being nominated by an adult age 21 years or older. Nominees are considered in two age groups, 6-12 and 13-18, with three prize levels within each group. More than 2,000 children will receive a total of more than $350,000 in scholarships and prizes. More than 2,000 store winners each receive a $50 Kohl’s gift card, 194 regional winners each receive a $1,000 scholarship, and 10 national winners each receive a $5,000 scholarship. The deadline is March 15.
Letters About Literature
Letters About Literature is a national reading/writing contest sponsored by the Center for the Book in the US Library of Congress in partnership with Target Stores. The contest is open to US students in grades 4-12. Entries consist of a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre, explaining how the author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves. There are three competition levels: grades 4-6 (100-250 words), grades 7-8 (250-500 words), and grades 9-12 (500-750 words). Two winners are selected from each level and awarded a $500 gift card from Target. The contest opens in September and the deadline is December 1 (postmark). State winners are announced in March and national winners in April. For more information, send email to email@example.com.
MATHCOUNTS is a national math competition for middle school students (grades 6-8). Individuals and teams of four mathletes from each school compete on a local, state and national level. All 228 national competitors and their coaches receive all-expense-paid trips to the MATHCOUNTS National Competition. The national champion receives the $8,000 Donald G. Weinert Scholarship. The second place individual winner receives a $6,000 college scholarship. The third and fourth place winners (countdown round semi-finalists) receive $4,000 scholarships. The masters round champion receives a $2,000 scholarship. The written round winner receives a $8,000 scholarship and the written round runner-up receives a $6,000 scholarship. The members of the first place team each receive a $2,000 scholarship. Additional prizes include trips to US Space Camp, notebook computers, PDAs, and TI calculators. The registration deadline is in early December. Local and chapter competitions take place in February, state competitions in March, and the national competition in May. For more information, call 1-703-684-2828, fax 1-703-836-4875, write to MATHCOUNTS Foundation, 1420 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Marbles Tournament Scholarships
The annual National Marbles Tournament awards $5,000 in scholarships to mibsters (marble shooters) aged 8 to 14. The tournament is held in June each year. The children crowned King and Queen of Marbles each receive a $2,000 scholarship. A $1,000 scholarship is awarded to the boy and girl who win the spontsmanship award. For more information, write to National Marbles Tournament, 811 Roeth Avenue, Cumberland, MD 21502.
National Geography Bee
The National Geography Bee is sponsored by the National Geographic Society. It is open to US students in grades 4-8 who are age 15 or younger by the date of the national competition. The National Geography Bee is a three stage competition, starting at the school level (competitions from mid-November through mid-January), followed by state competitions in April and the national competition in May. The ten finalists compete for college scholarships. The first place winner receives a $25,000 scholarship, the second place winner a $15,000 scholarship, and the third place winner a $10,000 scholarship. The school registration deadline is October 15. (There is a $50 school registration fee.) For more information, call 1-202-828-6659 or write to National Geographic Bee, National Geographic Society, 1145 17th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20036-4688.
National History Day Contest
The National History Day Contest is open to students in grades 6-12 in the junior (grades 6-8) and senior (grades 9-12) divisions. The projects relate to a specific historical topic or theme. There are seven categories, including individual papers, individual exhibits, group exhibits, individual performance, group performance, individual documentary, and group documentation. Within each category, the first place winner receives $1,000, the second place winner receives $500, and the third place winner receives $250. The national contest is held in June.
National Spelling Bee
The National Spelling Bee is sponsored by the E.W. Scripps Company. It is open to students in grades 1-8 as of their school finals (February 1) and who are under age 16 as of the date of the national finals (June 1). The champion wins a total of $28,000 in cash prizes and scholarships. The second place finisher wins a cash prize of $6,000, the third place finisher receives $3,500, the fourth place finisher receives $2,000, the fifth place finisher receives $1,250, the sixth place finisher receives $1,000, and the seventh place finisher receives $750. There are also assorted other prizes ranging from $50 to $600 for students who are eliminated in earlier rounds. For more information, call 1-513-977-3040, fax 1-513-977-3800, or send email to email@example.com.
Patriot’s Pen is an essay writing contest (patriotic theme) sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). It is open to US students in grades 6-8. More than 115,000 students enter the contest each year. The first place winner receives a $10,000 US Savings Bond. The 28 top national winners receive US Savings Bonds of $1,000 to $10,000. Entries are submitted through local VFW Posts. The contest is also known as the VFW Youth Essay Contest. The deadline is November 1. For more information, call 1-816-968-1117.
Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards recognize children in grades 5-12 who have engaged in volunteer activities and have demonstrated exceptional community service. The program is sponsored by Prudential in conjunction with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). State winners receive a $1,000 award. National winners receive a $5,000 award. The student application deadline is in late October.
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are open to US and Canadian students in grades 7-12. It is sponsored by Scholastic Inc. and administered by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Inc. More than 250,000 students enter the competition each year. Gold Portfolio Award recipients receive $10,000 scholarships (5 for art, 5 for writing, 2 for photography). For more information, call 1-212-343-6493, write to The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, 557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, or send email to A&WGeneralinfo@scholastic.com.
Target All-Around Scholarship
Every year the Target Corporation awards 2100 All-Around Scholarships including four $10,000 national scholarships and two smaller scholarships for each Target store to students within the community who have achieved academic excellence in their high school studies, and have demonstrated initiative, leadership and service to their community.
To be eligible for a Target All-Around Scholarship, students must be high school graduates under the age of 24 who are enrolled, or are soon to enroll, in an undergraduate program at an accredited college or university. Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and scholarships are available to students pursuing degrees in all major fields of study.
The deadline for applying for any of Target’s regional or national scholarships is November 1st. For more information on the Target All-Around Scholarship, and and to arrange for an application, students should contact the company directly at 1-800-316-6142.
Team America Rocketry Challenge
Team America Rocketry Challenge is a national model rocket competition open to US junior high school and high school students (grades 7-12). It is sponsored by AIA and the National Association of Rocketry. The top 100 teams compete for $60,000 in scholarships. The application deadline is November 15. For more information, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards
The Toshiba ExploraVision Awards is a competition for teams of 2-4 US and Canadian students in grades K-12. The goal of the competition is to encourage students to explora a vision of a future technology. The teams research a technology or device and project how it might change in the future. They identify necessary breakthroughs to enable the development of the technology and discuss the positive and negative impact of the technology on society. There are four divisions: grades K-3, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, and grades 10-12. Within each division, there is one first prize and one second prize. The first prize consists of a $10,000 US Savings Bond for each student on the winning team. The second prize consists of a $5,000 US Savings Bond for each student on the winning team. ExploraVision is sponsored by Toshiba and National Science Teachers of America. Materials are available starting in September. The deadline is February 1. For more information, call 1-800-EXPLOR9 (1-800-397-5679), write to ExploraVision, 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000, or send email to email@example.com.
West Point Bridge Design Contest
The West Point Bridge Design Contest is open to US students age 13 through grade 12 at the time of registration. Students compete individually (team of one) or in teams of two members. This engineering competition involves designing truss bridges. Each member of the first-place team receives a $10,000 scholarship. Each member of the five finalist teams wins a notebook computer. Registration opens in early January and ends on February 28. The final round is held in April.
With seven more children to send to college, I am always on the lookout for new scholarship opportunities. If I find more, I will let you know. If you know of ones I missed, please post the links in the comments below.