You’re in your last year of high school and thinking about your college education. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get free money to help pay for college? In 2021, scholarships could be the answer to paying tuition and fees and avoiding costly student loans.
Where can you find the top scholarships for 2021? How can you successfully apply for financial assistance for school? This article examines the best scholarships available this year for high school seniors.
Why Should High School Seniors Apply for Scholarships?
If you’re a high school senior, it’s best to apply for scholarships as early as possible. Rising tuition costs mean that it’s getting more expensive to get a college education. Even though student loans are available, you don’t want to leave school carrying heavy debt.
Another reason to apply for scholarships early in 2021 is that many are awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. That means the earlier you apply, the greater your chances of winning a scholarship.
Additionally, you can still apply for scholarships even if you don’t qualify for free federal money, such as Pell Grants. Many organizations and colleges award scholarships based on academic achievement, essay contents, career goals, or merit.
Related reading: Win a scholarship with these insider secrets.
By not applying for scholarships, you could be missing out on vital financial aid to help you through college. According to some reports, around $50 million goes unclaimed in federal financial aid and scholarships. Most experts advise that even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, it’s always wise to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
The 11 Top Scholarships in 2021
Now you know the reasons to apply for scholarships in 2021, here are some of the country’s best ones.
1. $7,500 We The Students Essay Contest
This “We the Students Essay Contest” scholarship is available to high school seniors and awards $7,500 to the winner. Awards are also given to runners up. To win this scholarship, you have to write a 500 – 800-word essay on the relationship between equality and justice. The winning essay should build on your experiences and blend emotion, specific examples, and creativity.
Related reading: How to write an essay that wins scholarships.
2. Paradigm Challenge
The Paradigm Challenge awards $100,000 to one hundred students who can write about solving some of the world’s major problems. The content has to be original and creative and highlight practical solutions. Entries can be in the form of videos, inventions, websites, posters, or mobile apps.
3. George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest
High school students can apply for the “George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest.” Awards for this 2021 scholarship are based on an 800- to 1,000-word essay discussing the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution. Entrants can use events, individuals, or their ideas associated with U.S. history. Successful winners can receive up to $2,000.
4. McDonald’s HACER National Scholarship
McDonald’s sponsors scholarships for Hispanic students to finance their higher education. To be eligible to apply, you must have at least one parent of Hispanic heritage, have a minimum 2.9 GPA, and plan to attend college full-time. The scholarships are worth $25,000 per year for all four years at college.
5. Anthem Essay Contest
The Ayn Rand Institute awards up to $2,000 to 12th-grade students who can write an essay on the novella “Anthem” by Any Rand. In 2021, the total sponsorship money is worth more than $30,000. To have a chance of winning college money, you must write an essay on topics the Any Rand Institute specifies.
Other scholarships relating to Ayn Rand’s work include the “Fountainhead Essay Contest,” and the “Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest.” There are tens of thousands of dollars available to successful scholarship winners in 2021.
6. Gold Medal Portfolio Award
The Gold Medal Portfolio Award is a 2021 sponsorship that has 16 awards totaling $510,000. To win this scholarship money, you should submit a portfolio of original art or written work containing eight items. Each piece of work should highlight your diverse style and technique.
7. American Legion National Oratorical Contest
There is up to $25,000 up for grabs in the scholarship sponsored by the American Legion. First-round winners and state winners can each receive $2,000. The top three places have scholarship awards of over $20,000. The scholarship is awarded on graduation from high school. To win, entrants must prepare a speech on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution. Topics are available on the American Legion’s website.
8. (ISC)² Undergraduate Cybersecurity Scholarship
If you have skills in IT, then you could apply for the (ISC)² Undergraduate Cybersecurity Scholarship. To apply, you need to plan to get a degree related to cybersecurity or information assurance. To be eligible for this scholarship in 2021, you should have a minimum GPA of 3.3 and write an essay.
9. AAC Culinary Scholarships
Several scholarships are available for students who have a career goal as a chef. Winners of the AAC Culinary scholarships can receive up to $2,500. To be eligible to apply for a culinary scholarship, you should have a minimum of 2.75 GPA and already be accepted in an accredited culinary school.
10. Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition
The Veterans of Foreign Wars sponsors scholarships for high school students who are interested in U.S. history. Each year, over $2.1 million is awarded in educational scholarships and incentives to winning students. The award for first place is $30,000 to attend college or a vocational school.
11. Optimist International Oratorical Contest
High school seniors can get scholarships of up to $2,500 awarded by the Optimist International Foundation. Winners of the scholarship must prepare a speech on a pre-assigned topic. Every year, the foundation awards more than $150,000 in money to help students pay for college.
Top Scholarships in 2021: Start Applying Today
Getting a scholarship in 2021 can make paying for college affordable. The good news about scholarships is that you can apply for as many as you can. Even if you already qualify for federal grants, you still can apply for scholarship money.