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Best Scholarships for College Students – 2024 [With Application Tips]

Written by Medha Pandey

Updated on: 17 Jan 2024

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Are you a college student looking for the best scholarships? Scholarships can be a golden ticket to your academic goals, free from financial restraints. Participating in a scholarship contest shows you’re confident about your skills. It also reflects your competitive spirit.

Getting a scholarship boosts your professional image and opens up job opportunities. The rewards also cover your study costs.

But how do you find the right scholarships that match your skills and needs? With so many choices, it can be confusing.

That’s why we’ve gathered the best scholarships for college students and added easy tips for applying. Keep reading to learn more!

Best Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarship programs honor students for their abilities, skills, or successes in the classroom. It offers financial aid for education based on demonstrated talents and abilities, recognizing distinction in a variety of professions. However, to secure the top merit-based scholarships, you must improve your GPA and maintain overall excellent academics. Here are the top merit-based scholarships for college students:

1. Sallie Mae Scholarship Sweepstakes

It is a monthly merit-based, no-essay Scholarship. This scholarship provides you the opportunity to win $2,000 so that you can pay for your college expenses. This is held every month, so you’ll get the advantage of applying every month to win the scholarship. 

Eligibility criteria:

  • Citizens of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any US territory who are at least 17 years old at the time of entry are eligible.
  • To be eligible, parents must currently have a child enrolled in an accredited college or university within the United States.
  • Students must currently be enrolled in an accredited college or university within the United States. Additionally, high school students can also apply for this scholarship.

Application process and deadlines:

You can easily apply by visiting the web page of Sallie Mae Scholarship Sweepstake. Usually, the deadline is 31st December.

While filling out the application forms, provide your details like your High School Graduation year, your upcoming level of study, and the college or university you’ve already enrolled or want to enroll.

Award amount:

The winners will win $2,000, which they can use to cover their academic expenses.

2. Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Program

Every year, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation grants 150 high school seniors who are not the offspring or grandkids of living or deceased Coca-Cola employees a $20,000 merit prize. 

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • Students who have at least a 3.0 GPA, exhibit leadership, and have a strong interest in social justice, community service, and education are eligible for this prize. 
  • To apply, you must be a US high school senior, a US citizen, national, refugee, asylee, Cuban-Haitian entrant, humanitarian parolee, or permanent resident, plan to graduate, enroll in an accredited US post-secondary school, and not be a grandchild or child of a Coca-Cola employee.

Application process and deadlines:

Usually, the application period begins in early August and ends in late October. You can apply on the official site of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. There are several steps to the selection process, which include essays in the semifinals and interviews if you make it to the finals. The prize has a yearly deadline that falls around Halloween.

Award amount:

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation provides $3.55 million in annual scholarships to over 1,400 exceptional college students through three nationally recognized programs.

🏆Achieving academic excellence? Check out the Best Merit-based scholarships for more options.

Best Essay Writing Scholarships

Best essay writing scholarships are awards given to students for outstanding essay compositions. These scholarships recognize exceptional writing skills and critical thinking, providing financial assistance to support academic or creative pursuits in various fields through essay-based competitions or applications. Here are the top essay-writing scholarships for college students:

1. “Gutsy Graduate Student” Essay Scholarship

The “Gutsy Graduate Student” Essay Scholarship is for the determined graduate students. It helps university students by providing funds that they can use to continue their master’s or higher graduation degree. The scholarship will be provided based on the student’s Essay quality and quantity of scholarships applied for on the Scholarships360 platform.

Eligibility criteria:

  • All graduate students who want to pursue a master’s degree, or Ph.D., or finish up a certificate program are eligible for this scholarship program.
  • The student must hold permanent citizenship in the US.

Application process and deadlines:

Visit the Scholarships360  website and login/ sign up for an account. Then proceed with the further application process. 

While applying you need to submit a 250-word maximum essay based on the notified topic: If you were to earn the “Gutsy Graduate Student Essay Scholarship,” how would it benefit you on your graduate school journey?

The deadline for the application for the “Gutsy Graduate Student” Essay Scholarship is 31st January 2024. Therefore, apply as soon as possible.

Award amount:

The winner will be awarded the sum of $1,000 and the winner of this scholarship will be announced on February 29, 2024. It will be directly sent to the winner’s college or university.

2. Wiingy Future STEM Leaders Scholarship

This essay writing contest scholarship is designed for students with a passion for STEM. It is available to all students, regardless of whether they are considering majoring in STEM or are already on the path to a career in STEM.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Applicants must be currently enrolled as a school or college student in a recognized institution.
  • Applicants must be majoring in or intending to major in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subject.

Application process and deadlines:

Visit Wiingy Future STEM Leaders Scholarship to initiate the application process. Starting from Oct 2023 till March 2024, Wiingy will select one student each month for Wiingy’s Future STEM Leaders Scholarship to receive a scholarship amount. You need to write a 400 to 600-word essay on the given topic of the month. The deadlines and other important dates are announced each month on their website page.

Award amount:
The winner can receive up to a $1200 reward amount.

✍️Love expressing yourself through words? Explore Best Essay Writing Scholarships for more options.

3. “College Here I Come” Essay Scholarship for High School Seniors

This scholarship applies to high school students all over the country. If you want to initiate your higher studies from a well-known university then you must apply for this scholarship. 

Eligibility criteria:

  • The students in their senior year of high school who want to continue to pursue a bachelor’s degree, 4th colleges, or universities in the US in the Fall of 2024 are all eligible.
  • The students are permanent residents of the US.

Application process and deadlines:

Visit the Scholarships360  website to log in/ sign up for an account and start with your application process. Furthermore, the application process will end on January 31, 2024.

Award amount:

The 1st runner-up will win $1,000 which will be sent directly to the winner’s college or university.

Best Artistic or Creative Scholarships

Artistic or creative scholarships support students excelling in arts, music, writing, or other creative fields. These awards recognize talent and innovation, offering financial aid to nurture and encourage artistic endeavors in educational pursuits. Here are the top art or creative scholarships for college students:

1. Vocal/Choral Music Scholarship

The Arkansas Chamber Singers started this scholarship to help talented high school singers reach their full potential. The Arkansas Chamber Singers love choral music and want to help young singers shine! They want to use the young singers’ voices to make a positive difference in their communities. 

Eligibility criteria:

Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • The students must be studying in senior high school.
  • To apply for this scholarship, you need a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • This scholarship welcomes everyone, no matter their background! Applicants of all races, ethnicities, and genders are encouraged to apply.

Application process and deadlines:

To apply, visit the official page of the Vocal/Choral Music Scholarship. The application has already started on 1st Nov 2023 and the deadline is on 1st Jan 2024. Additionally, the audition and interview are on 29th Jan 2024. Start your application process as early as possible.

Along with filling out the application details, the students must also provide their recommendation letter, official grades, and a quick essay explaining the importance of music and how they plan to turn that passion into a career.

The finalists will sing in front of the amazing judges in the finale. They’ll sing two different classical pieces to show off their range. They can also bring their musical instruments for playing along with singing. If that’s not possible, they just need to send the music beforehand so that the arrangements will be made. 

Award amount:

This scholarship will select two winners among so many participants. The runner-ups will win $2,000-$1000.

2. Incoming Freshman Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition Scholarship

Bowling Green State University funds this special scholarship just for Ohio high school seniors. If you’re one of the top 300 artists you can get your work showcased at the Governor’s big art show. 

Eligibility criteria:

The eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • This scholarship is open to all high school seniors and recent graduates in Ohio.
  • No matter how old you are, your grades, gender, or background, you can easily apply for this scholarship. You just need to be a creative individual, ready to take your art to the next level.

Application process and deadlines:

You can check the Incoming Freshman Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition Scholarship‘s website to see the application process and apply as soon as possible. Apart from the application you need to submit your portfolio and current work experience. 

The application process started on 3rd October 2023 and it ended on 18th January 2024. Moreover, the exhibition starts on 24th April 2024 and lasts till 19th May 2024.

Award amount:

8-10 winners among 300 will be awarded around $1,000 to $2,000.

✏️Wish to get ample room to exhibit art skills? Find out the Best Art Scholarships for more options.

Best Athletic Scholarships

Best athletic scholarships are awards granted to exceptional student-athletes based on sporting achievements. These scholarships recognize talent, dedication, and sportsmanship, offering financial aid to support education while participating in collegiate sports programs at various levels. Here are the top athletic scholarships for college students:

1. The GIST Women’s Sports Business Scholarship

This scholarship program was founded by three college friends; Jacie deHoop, Ellen Hyslop, and Roslyn McLarty in 2018. This scholarship applies to graduates and undergraduates who know women’s sports.

According to the studies, less than 4% of women are athletes whereas the rest of the ratio is of men in the sports industry. Therefore, this scholarship aims at changing the perspective of society. Furthermore, it launched the GIST Sports Business Newsletter which focuses on introducing the business of women’s sports. 

Eligibility criteria:

  • All graduate and undergraduate students are eligible for this scholarship.
  • To become a strong applicant read The GIST Sports Business every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Application process:

To apply for The GIST Women’s Sports Business Scholarship, visit the official site and start with your application.

The application deadline is 1st Jan 2024. You can apply anytime. However remember the sooner you apply, the better chances you’ll have of winning. Furthermore, the result will be declared on August 2, 2024.

Award amount:

The award amount per winner is $1,000 and the winner will be announced publicly on 2 Aug 2024. Before announcing the winner publicly, the scholarship team will contact the winner for further details.

2. Kalia D. Davis Memorial Scholarship

The Kalia D. Davis Memorial Scholarship was started to honor the memory and incredible legacy of Kalia D. Davis. This scholarship is funded by LaDonna Mitchell to support the students financially and academically. 

Eligibility criteria:

  • Any high school student from senior year or undergraduate student is eligible to apply for this scholarship.
  • The student must score a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • The student must have experience in any kind of sports, community service, or volunteering.

Application process and deadlines:

Visit the official page of the Kalia D. Davis Memorial Scholarship to fill in your application details. Along with submitting the application details, you also need to describe yourself and how this scholarship would help you.

The application deadline for this scholarship is 20 Apr 2024 and the winner will be announced on 20 May 2024. 

Award amount:

The award amount designated by the donor is $1,000 and the winner will be notified about it publicly.

🏅Excel in sports? Check out: Best Athletic Scholarships for more options.

Best Summer Scholarships

A summer scholarship is a financial award or grant specifically designated to support students pursuing educational endeavors during the summer months. These scholarships can be offered by universities, organizations, foundations, corporations, or government institutions. They aim to assist students in covering the costs associated with summer programs, research opportunities, internships, travel, or study abroad experiences. Here are the top summer scholarships for college students:

1. PixelPlex Bi-Annual STEM Scholarship

This scholarship program was founded to support the student’s financial condition and encourage them to higher-level education in STEM as well as economics and business fields. This scholarship will help the student to cover the expenses of college or university. 

Eligibility criteria: 

The eligibility requirements are mentioned below:

  • You must hold the citizenship of the United States.
  • At the date of the award, you must be enrolled or start your admission to a college or university in the United States.
  • You must choose science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), economics, or business field.
  • This is a non-need-based scholarship

Application process and deadlines:

Check the eligibility criteria, choose an industry, write an essay, and provide detailed information about yourself while applying for this scholarship. You can complete the scholarship application via email (scholarship@pixelplex.io) or the form you will find on the PixelPlex Bi-Annual STEM Scholarship page. 

The deadline is on 5th December 2023 and 5th June 2024 at 11:59 PM PST.

Award amount:

The winner will be announced at pixelplex.io/scholarship within one month after the deadline. Furthermore, the winner will be awarded $2,000. The sum will be transferred by wire transfer or the check of the amount will be mailed to the winner’s address.

2. Abbott & Fenner General Scholarship 

This scholarship program is designed for high school students who are ambitious and dedicated to their higher education. The winner will receive their award within a month of the listed deadline. All applicants must provide their proper details like full name, email address, and current school name with their application submissions.

Eligibility criteria: 

  • All high school students from junior year to senior year are eligible for this scholarship. Furthermore, the students registered in any accredited post-secondary institution are also eligible.

Application process and deadlines:

The application deadline for this scholarship is June 7, 2024. While applying you need to write an essay on the mentioned topic between 500 and 1000 words. Once you’ve completed writing the essay mail it to:  scholarships@abbottandfenner.com.

The topic for the essay is “Describe your educational career and life goals.” (Explain your plan for achieving these goals. Include your degree/major, why you selected it, and how this degree/major will help you achieve your goals.)

To apply visit the official page of Abbott & Fenner General Scholarship. Start your application process as soon as possible.

Award amount:

The award of this scholarship is $1,000. With the help of this award, the student might carry out their study expenses effectively. 

🌞Planning a productive summer? Uncover the Best Scholarships for Summer Programs offered by recognized universities.

How to get the best scholarship?

When you are exploring scholarship opportunities, remember that each scholarship has its own eligibility criteria and document requirements. Here are some helpful tips to guide you to get the best scholarship:

  • Most reputable scholarship opportunities are available for free. Therefore, avoid paying for scholarships while you’re applying. 
  • The smaller scholarships don’t cover all of your funds but they surely cover a few hundred dollars or cover the cost of textbooks and supplies. Therefore consider applying for smaller scholarships as well.
  • Be honest and accurate in your scholarship applications. Don’t exaggerate your achievements or qualifications.
  • Keep applying for scholarships throughout your college years. It doesn’t mean that once you’ve been admitted to college then you won’t get the opportunity to apply for scholarships. Around 50% of available scholarships are for college students.
  • Pay close attention to application details. Some scholarships require essays, while others may request letters of recommendation. Submit all requested materials and proofread carefully before submitting. Any silly typing mistakes or missing documents can affect your chances of receiving the scholarship.
  • Some scholarship applications are quick and easy, while others require more of your effort and time. However, submit your applications before the deadlines. Whereas, for non-electronic applications, use certified mail. Missing a deadline could disqualify you from the scholarship.
  • Most importantly, keep your GPA up! Your academics reveal how determined and responsible you are towards acquiring knowledge.

    💡Recommended reading:

What is a good GPA?

How to calculate GPA?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which scholarship has the highest amount?

The Elks National Foundation Scholarship rewards its winners with a total amount of $2.5 million based on their academic performance, leadership ability, extracurricular activities, and participation in service and volunteering programs.

Who is most likely to get a scholarship?

The answer to who’s most likely to get a scholarship depends on the scholarship. Different scholarships have different priorities. If we talk about merit-based scholarships, 30% of scholarships in the US are awarded to students with a GPA between 3.0 and 3.4. Whereas 4% of scholarships are given to students with a GPA of 3.5 to 4.0. 
Talking about task-based scholarships, it depends on your expertise in the skills you’re displaying.

What are the best scholarships for college students?

The Three best scholarships for college students are: 
Fulbright Scholarship Program
Excelsior Scholarship
The Coca-Cola Scholarship 

What are the best scholarships for international students?

What are the free scholarships for college?

What is the most prestigious scholarship?

The “most prestigious” scholarship can vary based on fields of study, regions, and institutions. Scholarships like the Rhodes Scholarship, Fulbright Program, Gates Cambridge Scholarship, and the Marshall Scholarship are often considered highly prestigious due to their rigorous selection criteria and global recognition.

What is the best scholarship to get?

The “best” scholarship to get depends on individual circumstances, interests, and eligibility criteria. Some might prefer scholarships with financial benefits, while others might value networking opportunities or specialized programs. It’s essential to research and apply for scholarships aligned with your goals and strengths.

What is the best age to apply for scholarships?

The best age to apply for scholarships can vary. Many scholarships are available for high school seniors entering college, but there are also opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and even professionals. Some scholarships target specific age groups or academic levels, so it’s never too early or too late to search for suitable opportunities.

How do you get a full scholarship for undergraduate?

Securing a full scholarship for undergraduate studies typically requires a combination of academic excellence, extracurricular involvement, leadership qualities, and sometimes financial need.

To increase your chances, maintain a high GPA, engage in community service or leadership roles, participate in extracurricular activities, and craft strong application essays. Additionally, research and apply for scholarships offered by colleges, private organizations, and government entities that cater to your qualifications and background.

Meeting eligibility criteria and submitting a compelling application are key to obtaining a full scholarship for undergraduate studies.

Written by by

Medha Pandey

Reviewed by by

Prerit Jain

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