5 Unique Scholarship Opportunities for High School Students

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November is here, and we’re feeling thankful for the abundance of opportunities to win money for college. That's why we're suggesting that you dedicate a few hours to scholarship submissions during your Thanksgiving break.

Remember, entering small, under-the-radar scholarships increases your chances of winning scholarships, so it's important to prioritize your time. Don't waste days working on a lengthy application for a scholarship that receives tens of thousands of applicants. Instead, spend a few hours dashing off short essays for 3 or 4 small scholarships. Focus your search on scholarships specifically aimed at students with your interests or background, as well as scholarships run by organizations in your region.

Click the name of each scholarship to access the official website, rules, and entry page.

unique scholarships - beneath the sea

Beneath the Sea Scholarship

Deadline: December 30, 2017

Eligibility: U.S. residents, ages 13-29

Requirements: Write an essay (500 words maximum) explaining your interest in and passion for the oceans, the marine life and its protection and your marine/maritime career goals.

Awards: Eight awards ranging from $1000 - $1500.

Zen Tip: Beneath the Sea offers eight different scholarships for students with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. You can only select one when you submit your application, so make sure you look carefully through the list of scholarships to determine your eligibility.


Bachus & Shchanker, LLC Scholarship

Deadline: November 30, 2017 and July 30, 2018

Eligibility: High school seniors. Must be accepted to a 4-year university at the time of the awarding of the scholarship. Minimum GPA: 3.0.

Awards: Two $2000 scholarships (one per deadline)

Requirements: Write an essay (800 words minimum) giving your opinion on the importance and efficacy of the 7th Amendment and how it affects your life. Consider the entire Amendment, not just the abbreviated description, when writing your response.

Zen Tip: Dig deep into your power of persuasion for this $2000 scholarship. If you see a future lawyer when you look in the mirror, use this application to gain real world experience defending the 7th Amendment.


Courageous Persuaders Scholarship

Deadline: February 9, 2018

Eligibility: U.S. high school students in grades 9-12.

Requirements: Produce a 30 second video about either (1) the dangers of underage drinking or (2) the dangers of driving and texting. The video should be aimed at middle schoolers. Entries can be submitted by individuals or teams.

Awards: Numerous awards ranging from $250 - $3000.

Zen Tip: Check out the videos of past winners and finalists. Some of them are pretty goofy. Remember, real middle school students are the judges for this scholarship, so think back to your middle school sense of humor and infuse an appropriate touch of silliness into the video.


The Fire Free Speech Essay Contest

Deadline: December 31, 2017

Eligibility: U.S. high school students in grades 11-12.

Requirements:  Write an essay responding to the following prompt: “Drawing on the videos and resources available on FIRE’s website, explain in 800-1000 words why free speech is so important to higher education, and why censorship undermines the ideals of liberal education and a free society.”

Awards:  Numerous awards ranging from $500 - $10,000.

Zen Tip: First, review all the videos and resources. (Seriously. It's in the prompt.) Then, make sure your essay includes specific, concrete examples and references. Don't submit 800 words of unsubstantiated pontification – offer evidence, reference trustworthy sources, and make a well-structured argument.  


Signet Essay Contest

Deadline: April 14, 2018

Eligibility: U.S. high school students aged 16-18

Requirements: Read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, then write a 2-3 page essay responding to one of five prompts about the book.

Awards: 5 awards of $1000, plus a Signet Classics library for each winner’s school.

Zen Tip: Your English teacher must mail your submission, and each teacher can nominate only one junior and one senior. Snag the nomination by letting your teacher know as soon as possible that you intend to apply for this scholarship.


Check our blog regularly for more scholarship lists and essay tips.  To learn more about our personalized scholarship research and scholarship application coaching, visit our scholarship coaching and Insta-Edits Essay Review pages.