High School Short Essay Scholarships
Scholarships are awesome resources if you’re checking out different ways to pay for college. It’s free money—what’s not to love?
As it turns out, most scholarship programs have application processes that aren’t exactly lovable. Students generally have to submit a lot of information about themselves: transcripts, GPAs, test scores, resumes, community service activities, and so on. There may even be a few essays and grade requirements thrown in as well. You don’t want to complain, because again, free money—but these applications sure are tedious when you’re working on college apps, high school courses, and financial aid applications all at the same time.
The following easy scholarships have application processes that are a bit more manageable. Some ask you to write short essays while others don’t require any essays at all! The awards may not be as large as some other scholarships, but when the application process is so easy, you really don’t have much to lose. I'll start off with some words of warning before getting into the good stuff: essay and no-essay scholarships that are so easy to apply for, you may end up applying to all of them!
Caveat: If a Scholarship Seems Too Good to Be True ...
It turns out there aren't too many legitimate "easy" scholarships out there. If a scholarship application seems too good to be true, then be cautious—you don't want to fall victim to a scholarship scam. Here are some things to look out for:
- If a scholarship application asks for personal information that doesn't seem relevant to the award, tread carefully. Many top scholarship programs ask for very personal information (transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, even financial information for need-based scholarships), but this info is all relevant to candidate evaluation. If you're ever uncomfortable providing personal information, dig deeper into the scholarship award—can you verify that it's legitimate? Does it have its own site, or can you only find information on it through a third party? Google "[award name] scam" to see if anything suspicious pops up.
- Avoid any scholarship that ask you to make payments to enter or win. Scholarship programs are in the business of giving money to students, not taking it. It's likely just a scam if the application asks for payment, especially if it asks you to enter credit card information.
Now that we got that out of the way, we can get to the good stuff: easy essay and non-essay scholarships and how to win them.
These essays won't take you long at all, but they're a good excuse to set up at your favorite cafe.
The scholarships in this section ask students to submit short essays with their applications. Even though you'll have to write up an essay, the rest of the application (and the essay itself) should be easy and manageable for all these awards. In fact, I expect most of these applications should take no longer than one to two hours to complete.
Bachus & Schanker LLC Scholarship
This scholarship program is a bit different than most of the other awards included in this post—it's funded by a private law firm in Colorado. Students compete for a $2,000 award by writing a short essay (800 words) about the 7th amendment and how it affects their lives.
- The award is open to high school students who have been accepted to a four-year university and university students with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
- There are two application deadlines per year: one November 30 to win a scholarship for the spring semester, and one July 30 to win a scholarship for the fall semester.
Courage to Grow Scholarship
This $500 award is given out to one lucky student every month. To compete for the award, applicants must explain in 250 words why they think they deserve the scholarship.
- The award is open to high school juniors, high school seniors, and college students. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA.
- Application deadline: end of every month!
Odenza Marketing Group Scholarship
To compete for this $500 award, applicants must like the Odenza Facebook page and write two short essays (about 500 words each). One essay must be related to travel and your career, and the other must explain why you should receive the scholarship.
- The award is open to those aged 16-25 who are either current high school students or people who have at least one year of college remaining. Applicants must also have a minimum 2.5 GPA.
- The application deadline is September 30, 2017.
James "Rhio" O'Connor Scholarship Memorial Fund
This $1,000 award is given out to a new student every month. Students compete for the scholarship by writing a short essay (700-1,500 words) addressing a prompt related to cancer treatment.
- The award is open to all college students.
- Application deadline: new one every month!
Some of these applications won't take you longer than a few minutes.
When it comes to easy applications, you can't get much easier than the following scholarship programs. You'll still have to submit some information about yourself (and, in some instances, complete some brief activities or tasks), but you won't have to write any essays to qualify.
AFSA High School Scholarship
Here's one of those scholarships for which you have to complete a few unique activities to qualify. For the 2017 scholarship, students applied by reading about automatic fire sprinkler systems and then taking a 10-question quiz based on the information they read. Ten $2,000 awards are available each year.
- This scholarship is open to high school seniors for the 2017-18 school year.
- The application will open around September 2017 and close in April 2018.
Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway
Students can qualify to win $2,500, $20,000, or $100,000 in tuition money by writing a "story" about themselves in 350 characters or less—that's really short. Stories that get the most votes win prizes, so recruit your friends to vote for you!
- This award is open to all students aged 18-24.
- Awards are given out on a rolling basis.
Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition
This scholarship program gives out relatively small awards of $50, but the application process is particularly fun and easy. Students qualify by writing and submitting up to three original haikus.
- This scholarship is open to all students in grades 7-12.
- The deadline will be around March 2018.
"No Essay" College Scholarship
This $2,000 award is given out monthly. To apply, students just submit an application with basic identifying information, GPA, and SAT/ACT scores. Winners are determined by random selection, and you can submit a new application every month.
- This scholarship is open to high school students, adults heading back to school, current college students, and anyone else looking to attend college or graduate school within the next year.
- Application deadline: end of every month!
Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest
Do you have a creative side and an eye for fashion? Students compete for 10 $1,000-$10,000 awards by designing and wearing prom outfits made out of duct tape. Applicants can enter as individuals or as part of a couple. Check out the website for fun pictures of past winners!
- This competition is open to high school students in the US and Canada (excluding certain states and territories—refer to the official rules for details).
- The application period opens around April 2018 and closes in late May 2018.
US Bank Scholarship
Three $5,000 awards, one $10,000 award, and one $20,000 award are available through this scholarship program. To qualify, students submit a simple application and complete five brief online learning modules on financial literacy. If you're heading off to college, it's not a bad idea to get some basic info on personal finance anyway, making this scholarship app a win-win!
- This award is open to current undergraduates.
- The deadline is October 27, 2017.
CaptainU $2,000 Student-Athlete Scholarship
As the name suggests, this quarterly award is meant for student athletes who plan to attend a four-year college or university. Applicants must submit some basic info about their sport and GPA to qualify.
- This scholarship is open to high school and junior college student athletes.
- Application deadline: new one every quarter (i.e., every three months).
3 Tips for Winning Easy Scholarships
Easy scholarships to apply for aren't necessarily the same as easy scholarships to win. Because these scholarship applications are so simple to complete, you'll probably have a lot of competition. Here are some strategies to help you submit your best applications possible:
- If you have to write an essay, you’re likely to be more successful if your views align with those of the entity that’s awarding the scholarship. To prepare, do some research about the company or charity's mission statement.
- Make sure your application is polished. You won’t have the opportunity to make more than a first impression (remember, these apps are short and sweet!), so double-check for any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors.
- Last but not least, make sure your application is complete and on time!
These scholarships are awesome options if you want to churn out as many applications as possible. As you might have noticed, though, the award amounts can be a bit underwhelming (although keep in mind that several smaller awards can be just as helpful as one big award).
You'll have to spend more time on your applications if you're gunning for a top scholarship, but the payoff can be more than worth it. To learn more about some of the best scholarships out there, check out our guides to the top scholarships for high school juniors and seniors.
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These 10 scholarships only take between from 5 to 30 minutes to complete and might earn you big money for college! Make sure to check each scholarship’s link for eligibility requirements and to access each scholarship’s deadline. Remember tofill out a free College Greenlight profile for access to hundreds of additional scholarship opportunities specially selected for you!
Replace My Contacts Academic Scholarship
This scholarship is for high school seniors and current, full-time college freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in the United States. To apply, applicants must complete a brief survey and then answer one of four given prompts in 500 words or less.
Courage to Grow Scholarship
This scholarship is for high school juniors, high school seniors, and college students. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must have a 2.5 GPA and be US citizens. One scholarship is awarded each month.
Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition
This competition is for students in grades 7 through 12 who are enrolled in school as of September 2014. To enter, applicants must submit up to three haiku poems. All haiku must be previously unpublished, original work, and not entered in any other contest or submitted elsewhere for publication.
Odenza Marketing Group Scholarship
To apply for this scholarship, applicants must submit two small essays, one related to travel, and the other on why they deserve a scholarship.
AFSA High School Senior Scholarship Contest
To apply for this scholarship, applicants must read an essay about automatic fire sprinklers and then take an online test about it. Home school students may apply as long as their course of study is equivalent to that of a senior in high school.
International Teamster Women’s Caucus Scholarship Program
This scholarship is for daughters and sons of active or retired Teamster members who have at least twelve months of consecutive membership in good standing. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must be high school seniors who plan to attend an accredited college, university, trade, or business school. To apply for this scholarship, applicants must submit their SAT/ACT scores and an essay on how unions can motivate youth and women to become involved in the union movement.
Conestoga Bank “Future of Banking” Scholarship
This scholarship is for high school seniors and college freshmen. To apply for this scholarship, applicants must submit an essay of 500 words or less addressing an idea about what the future of banking includes.
ERCA Community Contribution Scholarship
This scholarship is for high school students who are legal residents of the United States. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must have recognized a need or problem in their community, have determined a way to address this need or solve the problem, have developed an action plan, and have worked to put the action plan in place so as to address the need or solve the problem. The action plan must be a unique project developed by the student, not a project developed by an established group of which the student is a member.
Potential Magazine Countdown to College Championship
This scholarship is for college-bound teens. Upon signing up for Potential Magazine’s free weekly eNewsletter, students will be entered to win an $1,000 scholarship.
National Achievement Scholarship Program
This scholarship is for African American high school students. To apply for this scholarship, applicants must complete the PSAT/NMSQT exam and indicate on the test answer sheet that they wish to compete for the Achievement Scholarship.Elizabeth Chereskin