6 Merit Scholarships for High School Students with Upcoming Deadlines

Looking for expert guidance to increase your chances at scholarship success? Check out our scholarship guidance and essay editing services.

Happy New Year!  Here at Zen Admissions HQ, we consider every day to be an opportunity for a fresh start, but the start of a new year is especially motivating.  In 2018, you can take your resolutions to new heights by spending time working on scholarship applications.  

Remember, entering multiple scholarships increases your chances of winning. Be strategic about how you spend your time. Rather than dedicating days to one big-ticket scholarship with tens of thousands of applicants, we suggest spending a few hours dashing off short essays for 3 or 4 smaller scholarships. Start with this list of scholarships with upcoming deadlines. 

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

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1. Digital Responsibility Technology Addiction Awareness Scholarship

Deadline: January 30, 2018

Eligibility: Any student currently enrolled in high school, college, or graduate school. 

Awards: One $1000 award.

Requirements: Write a 140-character response to the following statement: “Instead of spending time with technology I’d rather..." The top 10 finalists will be asked to elaborate in a 500 – 1,000 word essay.

Our Strategy: Use those 140 characters to your advantage. Whether your response is wacky or wise, make sure it stands out with clever language and epic word choice. Also, remember that purpose of the scholarship is technology addiction awareness – don't be flippant about the cause!

2. Courage to Grow Scholarship

Deadline: January 31, 2018 

Eligibility: Current high school juniors and seniors.

Awards: One $500 scholarship awarded each month.

Requirements: Write a 250-word essay explaining why you should be awarded this scholarship.  

Our Strategy: Read the entries by past winners on the Courage to Grow website for inspiration. They've written about a wide range of topics, from personal goals to overcoming adversity, but most of them have something in common: they've connected their stories to the idea of 'courageous growth.'  In what ways have you grown and changed? Has the process required courage? Reflect on these questions before writing your entry. And remember, this scholarship is awarded every month. If you don't win this time, submit again!

3. Humanity Rising

Deadline: January 31, 2018  (Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a rolling basis for future scholarships.) 

Eligibility: All current high school students (ages 13 and up).

Awards: Multiple awards ranging from $500 - $2000.

Requirements: Register online with Humanity Rising here, then pick a cause and participate in – or lead – a related community service project. Submit an essay (400 words or less) with the theme "My Service Story."

Our Strategy: According to the judges: "There are no minimum hours required and no specific activity that is more or less compelling in the eyes of our judges. We’re looking for service that was impactful and meaningful to you and those who benefitted from your volunteerism or innovative service project. A good rule of thumb is at least ten (10) hours of overall engagement."

4. Purpose Challenge

Deadline: February 1, 2018

Eligibility: Current high school seniors planning to start college in 2018.

Awards: One $25,000 award and five $5,000 awards.

Requirements: Register online for the the Purpose Challenge Toolkit here and complete all toolkit activities (e.g. watching videos, writing short reflections) over the course of four days. Each day's activity takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.  After completing the toolkit, you will be eligible to submit an essay (650 words or less) reflecting on your long-term life purpose.

Our Strategy: Did you write a Common App or supplemental essay about your personal goals or purpose? If so, consider using that essay for this scholarship. The judges are looking for essays about meaningful goals, your personal connection to those goals, and a desire to contribute to the world 'beyond-the-self.'

5. Hollister Co. Anti-Bullying Scholarship

Deadline: February 1, 2018

Eligibility: Current high school seniors.

Awards: One $2500 award, renewable for up to 3 years.

Requirements: Write an essay (500 words or less) responding to one of the following prompts:

  1. How have you helped promote anti-bullying awareness in your school and/or community? Be specific about your outreach and its results.
  2. Share your own story about the experience of being bullied and how you have persevered and overcome the consequences and negative effects of such treatment.

Applicants must also submit a resume, recommender, and transcript (minimum 3.0 GPA). 

Our Strategy: If you choose prompt #1, make sure your essay is chock-full of specific, concrete details describing 'your outreach and its results.' The judges are looking for students who have made a meaningful impact in their school communities. They aren't necessarily expecting that you've led a nationwide campaign, but they are expecting to see long-term commitment and demonstrable impact. If you choose prompt #2, be sure that your essay answers the entire prompt. Tell the story of your experience with bullying, then explain how you've persevered. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable about your struggles, and don't be modest about your accomplishments.

6. Life in a Letter Poetry Scholarship

Deadline: February 12, 2018

Eligibility: Current high school and college students (ages 25 and below).

Awards: One $1000 award.

Requirements: Write a letter in the form of a poem. There are no other requirements – the topic and imagined recipient of the letter are up to you. 

Our Strategy: This super simple scholarship is lottery-based, so don't worry about your poetic talents (...or lack thereof). Have some fun, spend a little time getting your creativity on, and submit your poem ASAP. You can’t win if you don’t enter!

Looking for personalized scholarship guidance?

Our scholarship coaching program will pair you with an expert scholarship coach. Your coach  will create a personalized scholarship list just for you and work with you to polish each application ot maximize your chance of success.   

Prefer your services a la carte? We've got you covered. Submit your scholarship application essay our Insta-Edits Essay Review service for detailed edits and feedback. Or check out our Essay Coaching service: you'll work one-on-one with an expert editor to craft a polished application essay for the scholarship of your choice.