4 Under the Radar Scholarships for High Schoolers with Upcoming Deadlines (as of August 2017)

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Odds are, if you're reading this blog, you already have a lot going on. You may be juggling some combination of rigorous academic work, multiple extracurriculars, athletics, research projects, college applications, and relationships. If you're feeling a little apprehensive about adding scholarship applications to that list, we don't blame you - especially if you're considering major national scholarships that receive tens of thousands of applications.

But there's hope! Applying for and winning scholarships is a strategic process, not a game of chance. By regularly seeking out and applying for under the radar scholarships, particularly those that are either local or specific to your niche, you can increase your chances of success.  

Today, commit to giving your future self a gift by applying for at least one under the radar scholarship every month. Whether you're a freshman or a senior, there are hundreds of scholarships open and available to you all year long. The key to scholarship success is to look for those that are poorly advertised, buried on company websites, or simply too specific/complicated to attract many applicants.  

Here at Zen Admissions, we regularly compile lists of scholarships you might not hear about elsewhere but whose awards could make a significant dent in your college expenses.  Click the name of each scholarship to access the official website, rules, and entry page. 


Out-of-the-box Thinking Scholarship (by Litter Robot)

Deadline: September 15, 2017
Eligibility: US citizens currently enrolled in high school, college, or graduate school. 
Requirements: Write a 400-word essay designing a pet product of the future. The essay should describe your inspiration, what makes your idea unique, your recommendations for marketing your product, and anything else you believe might help sell the product.
Awards: Grand Prize: $1500 / Second Place: $1000 / Third Place: $500
Zen Tip: Pets are pretty uncontroversial. Who among us doesn't love hanging out with puppies (or procrastinating with cute cat videos)? Let’s show them we care with this real-world problem prompt. For inspiration, check out the winning entries from 2016 and 2015. Litter Robot is looking for ideas that are both realistic and clever, so this is a perfect prompt to consider while you're hanging out with your favorite animals.  Products that use up-and-coming technology to solve eternal pet problems are likely to capture the judges' attention. Who knows – maybe you’ll end up designing the best invention of the year.

Search to Learn Scholarship

Deadline: October 14, 2017
Eligibility: Current high school senior or college student with an active .edu email address.
Requirements: Create a short video (30 seconds to 1 minute) explaining how digital marketing has changed our society. Make sure you mention your dream job and one random or interesting fact about you in the video. Include a resume in your application.
Awards:  $500
Zen Tip: Scholarships that require video submissions receive significantly fewer applications than others. Don't be shy - show off your personality and get creative with costumes and special effects to make your video stand out. Remember to follow instructions to the letter to avoid disqualification.

Scholarship for Outdoor Lovers

Deadline: November 24, 2017
Eligibility: US citizens currently enrolled in high school, college, or graduate school. 
Requirements: In 500-1000 words or less, write an essay responding to the question, "What is your best outdoor recreations’ memory?"
Award: $2000
Zen Tip:  The scholarship page includes a list of five "upsides of outdoor recreation." These are great clues as to what the judges are looking for in your essay. Try to think of an outdoor experience you've had that fits into one of those themes. Again, following directions is key, so make sure your essay answers all three questions listed on the official website (where did you spend your time, whom did you go with, and why is it special and remarkable to you).

Top Ten Things You Love About You (By Unigo) 

Deadline: December 31, 2017
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: Create a top ten list of the top ten reasons you should win this scholarship.
Award: $1500
Zen Tip: This short and sweet prompt gives you a chance to write about anything you want. Don't overthink it! The key here is individuality and creativity, not (necessarily) wowing the judges with your biggest accomplishments. Funny responses are 100% welcomed by this scholarship, but don't feel pressured to unleash your inner comedian - serious responses won't be held against you.


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