What Scholarships Can I Apply for as a Junior?

Most students don’t begin thinking about scholarships until their senior year… but that’s too late for some of the most lucrative scholarships available.

Worried about how to pay for college, but still a year away from actually applying to college? Congratulations are in order.

First, if you’re proactive enough to start thinking about your finances in your junior year, then you’re probably going to be active enough to avoid a lot of common pitfalls. Rather than fight procrastination and lethargy, you’ll be ahead of the curve. That’s a huge part of the battle right there.

But, beyond that, there are also a surprising number of scholarships and grants that are available to juniors (or, in some cases, even younger students). These are great grants to chase – the pool of candidates tends to be much smaller, and the awards are often much larger than your run-of-the-mill scholarships.

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Will You Get a “Fair” Financial Aid Award?

Well, the truth is — Most families never find out!  They’ll simply take what’s offered.  And many will pay more for college than they need to… sometimes up to tens of thousands of dollars more.

That’s one of the reasons we developed our Free College Funding Analysis.

One phone call with one of our education consultants can quickly identify a family’s college funding situation… and identify any number of ways that can help them.

Click here to learn more about our Free College Funding Analysis.

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Scholarships available to juniors tend to fall into three broad categories.

The Contest Scholarship

Writing contests abound – usually focused on a particular topic, like Alzheimer’s, commentary on an influential work of art, or the meaning of freedom. Do some research, and find a subject that you can write about with passion.

However, there are plenty of other contests available. You can get money for college by creating a documentary that makes use of C-Span footage. You can create a 30-second commercial and get paid. You can even receive a scholarship for creating a new and innovative invention.

In fact, there are so many varied scholarships available, there’s a decent chance that one will apply to a passion of yours.

The Sponsored Scholarship

Just as it sounds – these are scholarships given out by major corporations, as part of their community outreach. Best Buy and Coca-Cola both have extremely generous scholarship programs, that can award up to $25,000 towards future schooling.

Sometimes you’ll be required to enter a skills contest of some sort – but often not. If you meet the minimum requirements, sometimes all you need is a bit of luck.

The Community Scholarship

In an effort to encourage community service, there are a number of non-profits that give grants to students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to serving others. Oftentimes, these are either the hardest or easiest scholarships to get; you don’t need to do anything beyond demonstrating your community works.

If you are already involved in your community, you only need to show that to the selection committee (sometimes accompanied with an essay). If, however, you haven’t been active, there’s no real way to fake it.

When investigating the various scholarships available to juniors, bear in mind – there are scams out there. Aside from doing your due diligence to ensure you’re applying to a legitimate grant, there are a few red flags to look for:

  • Fees. No true scholarship will ask for payment to apply.
  • Guarantees. No legitimate competitive grant is guaranteed.
  • Legwork. If a company is offering to do the work for you – run away.
  • Personal info. If you feel like you’re being data-mined, you probably are.
  • Come-ons. No scholarship will come looking for you.
  • Opacity. If a grant is giving you information ‘not available elsewhere,’ it’s not real. Every real scholarship is in the public view.

Beyond that, bear in mind – most of these scholarships are extremely competitive. Don’t apply to only one and assume you’ll get it. You could easily apply to 20 and miss them all.

If, however, you manage to get one – especially one of the more lucrative ones – you’ll find your financial burden much lighter when you eventually are ready to attend the school of your choice.

To your successful college pursuit,

Scott Weingold
Publisher & Co-founder, CollegeMadeSimple.com

Related Articles:

When, How and Where to Apply for Scholarships

When to Apply for the FAFSA

How to Increase the Private Scholarship Money Your Child Receives for College

How to Take Control of the College Funding Process

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1 Comment

Denise StewartMarch 5th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Thank you for all of this GREAT information!

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.