If you are a high school senior, you should add applying for scholarships to your "to do" list. Many students complain of being too busy with college applications and keeping their grades up to even apply for scholarships. However, if your goal is to graduate college with the least amount of debt then applying for outside scholarships is a must.
If you fall outside of the top 10%-25% of the applicant pool at most colleges, chances are you will not get enough gift aid to cover your college costs. Unless of course, you get accepted to one of the highly selective colleges that offer very generous need-based financial aid without loans. For this reason, you should look to outside scholarships to help reduce your college costs.
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Here are 5 of the best scholarships around for high school seniors preparing for college:
1. The Coca Cola Scholars Foundation
The Coca Cola Scholars Foundation program is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree at an accredited US college or university. Each year, 150 students are selected to receive a $20,000 scholarship.
Application deadline: October 31, 2019 (date could change for future years)
2. Dell Scholars Program
The Dell Scholars Program is open to high school seniors who are "in the academic middle from low-income households who are often among the first in their families to attend college". To be eligible to apply to this scholars' program, graduating seniors must participate in an approved college readiness program (for e.g., AVID, Uplift Education and the ASPIRE Public Schools). Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.4 but, more importantly, demonstrate "grit, potential and ambition".
Amount: includes $20,000, a laptop, textbook credits and coaching
Application Deadline: December 1, 2019
3. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program
This Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program is one of the most generous private scholarships in the country and is open to high-achieving high school seniors. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and plan to attend one of the top four-year colleges or universities in the country. In addition, the scholarship program includes advising and graduate school funding.
Amount: Up to $40,00 per year; awards are renewable
Application deadline: November 13, 2019 (check deadline for subsequent years)
4. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes
The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes program is open to outstanding athletes who are high school seniors. Students must demonstrate, among other things, strong moral character, leadership and academic excellence. Additionally, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 with plans to attend a 4-year college in the fall immediately following graduation. The program awards up to 20 scholarships each year.
Application Deadline: January 2, 2020
5. Davidson Fellows Scholarship
The Davidson Fellows Scholarship awards various scholarship amounts to students who have completed exceptional projects considered as outstanding by experts in the field. Therefore, projects must be equivalent to the college graduate level; novices need not apply. The scholarships are open to US citizens and permanent residents 18 years old or younger.
Amount: $10,000, $25,000 or $50,000
Application Deadline: February 2020 (check website for current information)
It's never to early to begin applying for scholarships. Just think about it. If you win any of these scholarships, it could keep you from having to take out loans for college. Wouldn't it be nice to start out adulting debt-free. I hope that's enough motivation to help you get started.