Usually, high school seniors are the ones focused on applying for scholarships, but it is never too early for freshmen and sophomores to look toward the future and begin to earn money for college. Writing contests and academic competitions provide freshman and sophomores with the opportunity to earn scholarship money. Students also can earn scholarships for the community service they perform.
Students who enjoy writing can enter a variety of contests to earn college scholarships. Through the Ayn Rand Institute (aynrand.org), ninth- and 10th-grade students who have read Ayn Rand's novel "Anthem" can win up to $2,000 in scholarships by writing an essay on the novel based on one of the topics provided by the organization. Through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (artandwriting.org/awards), students can earn up to $1,000 in scholarships and the opportunity to have their writing published in national magazines and anthologies.
Community Service Scholarships
Students who work to preserve the environment and participate in community service activities can earn college scholarships. Action for Nature (actionfornature.org) sponsors the Eco-Hero Awards, which rewards children ages 8 through 16 for implementing environmental action projects. Those who know teenagers who demonstrate leadership skills and work hard for their communities can nominate them to win a HALO Award sponsored by the cable network Nickelodeon. Winners of the award win scholarships and the ability to meet celebrities.
Those who work hard academically can earn scholarships to reward them for their hard work. For example, high school sophomores who hope to pursue a degree in science, math or engineering and demonstrate academic excellence can apply for a $2,000 scholarship through the Energy Solutions Foundation (energysolutions.org). Recipients of the scholarship have the opportunity to compete for an additional $25,000 in scholarship money.
Numerous competitions reward students with scholarship money. Through the Miss Teen America competition, high school females can participate in beauty pageants to earn up to $5,000 in college scholarships. Students who are gifted speakers can participate in the American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program for a chance to win an $18,000 college scholarship. Through the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Engineering, individuals and groups of students can complete science research projects and win up to $100,000 in scholarships.