4 Under the Radar College Scholarships with Upcoming Deadlines

Psst! Check our scholarships page for the most up-to-date under the radar scholarship posts.

Give yourself a future gift by applying for college scholarships this summer, before the intensity of a new school year kicks in.

There are countless scholarships available for current high school students, and at least a dozen search engines designed to help you track those scholarships down. Figuring out which contests offer you the best shot at winning, however, can feel difficult and time-consuming. Big-money scholarships with huge applicant pools are easy to find, but almost impossible to win. Smaller scholarships are often poorly advertised or buried on company websites and consequently have far fewer applicants.

The key to scholarship success is identifying and focusing your energy on these under the radar scholarships. Here, we have compiled a few of the scholarships you might not hear about elsewhere but whose awards could make a significant dent in your college expenses. (And don't forget to apply to the official Zen Admissions scholarship contest!)

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

student with laptop

Digital Responsibility Scholarship

Deadline: June 30
Eligibility: US citizens currently enrolled in high school, college, or graduate school. 
Requirements: Compose a 140-character response to the prompt, "I'm taking responsibility for my digital profile by..." If you are selected as a finalist, you must submit a 500-1000 word essay on the topic of digital privacy.
Award: $1000
Zen Tip: This Twitter-style prompt necessitates a concise and specific response. Instead of staring at a blinking cursor trying to force out 140 characters of brilliance, keep the prompt in the back of your mind for the next week. Mull it over while you're taking a walk, or chat about it with friends and family.  Start daydreaming about digital responsibility and who knows -- you might just land on a scholarship-winning idea.

writer's square technology contest

Deadline: June 30
Eligibility: Students enrolled in grades 7-12 (separate contest available for current college students).
Requirements: In 1000 words or less, write an essay responding to the question, "What is your most important piece of technology?"
Award: 5 awards, from $100 to $700
Zen Tip:   Avoid making broad generalizations about technology and its omnipresence in society today. Instead, give a vivid description of the role of one specific piece of technology in your life.  Anchor your essay by focusing on a specific story or anecdote to make your point, especially if you choose a popular topic (e.g. cell phones, laptops) Don't worry if your story isn't an epic, sweeping tale; essays are judged primarily on writing and argument quality.  You can read current entries here

Teen Travel Writing Scholarship 2017 by Family Travel Forum

Deadline: July 14
Eligibility: Students enrolled in grades 8-12 (ages 13-18) currently homeschooled or enrolled in schools in the U.S. or Canada.
Requirements: Write a 600-word travel blog about a trip you have taken in the last 5 years. 
Awards: $250, $500, $1000
Zen Tip: Take time to read at least 3 entries by past winners here. Pay attention to the winners' writing styles, narrative structures, and use of images. Your travel blog should reflect your own voice, but it should also match up to these successful structures to give you the greatest chance of winning.

Make Me Laugh Scholarship by Unigo

Deadline: August 31
Eligibility: Legal residents of the U.S. aged 13 or older with plans to enroll in college by fall 2023.
Requirements: In 250 words or less, respond to the following prompt: "We don't want to know why you deserve $1,500 or how great your grades are, we simply want to LOL. Describe an incident in your life, funny or embarrassing (fact or fiction), and make us laugh."
Award: $1500
Zen Tip: Think back to some of the funniest anecdotes you've ever told and pick the one you'll have the most fun writing about. Then, just write! Don't overthink this prompt. The judges may or may not share your sense of humor, but there's no reason not to try.


Check back here regularly for more scholarship tips and under-the-radar scholarship lists. To learn more about how we can help you find and win scholarships, check out our scholarship coaching, Insta-Edits essay review, and one-on-one essay coaching programs.