These are the classic scholarships everyone thinks of when they hear the word. These provide money for students who, having just graduated from high school, are on their way to college. The best part about k12 scholarships is the vast number available. Almost all colleges provide at least a couple scholarships to incoming freshman. A large number of businesses also provide monies for local kids heading off to college; you may find that the business you worked for over the summer or the company your mom or dad works for offer money for college. It certainly won’t hurt to already be connected with them when you go to apply. Beyond that, larger businesses offer scholarships to students heading to a specific school or coming from a certain county. You can find essay contests and other scholarship opportunities online, open to anyone. You may even be able to get a full ride, funded by your interest in art or science. Some scholarships don’t even get awarded every year because there isn’t anyone who meets their requirements. With all that opportunity, there’s bound to be something out there for you.

Ways to Help You Pay for Your College Tuition

Scholarships for College-Bound, High School Seniors

A great source of scholarship money for families looking for college funds may be their own employer(s). Many companies offer scholarships for their employees or their children, but it may not be common knowledge. It pays, literally and figuratively, for parents to take the time and ask their human resources liaison if such scholarships exist. This is especially true if you work for a larger corporation or a more established company.

Once the graduating senior has been accepted at a particular college, they need to meet with a financial aid officer at the school to find out what scholarship resources the school may have to offer in an effort to help the student pay for their college tuition. Often, schools can cover some of the remaining cost or recommend the student for a scholarship.

One other big tip is not to forget to find out what scholarship or grant programs are offered by your state to graduating high school seniors. For example, California has a grant program that covers an entire four-year program and is need based. Also, the Federal Pell Grant programs are a need-based financial aid program.

The following is a list of some other sources of scholarships for college-bound, high school seniors:

  • AXA Achievement Scholarship
    Amount: $2,500, $10,000, or $25,000
    Deadline: Early in the student's senior year

    This scholarship is sponsored by an insurance agency that provides 300 scholarships per year. The scholarships are one-time, and the desirable candidate will show drive, commitment, and a demonstrable ability to succeed in school. Especially desirable are students who have shown through action or education that they are willing to help society minimize risk.

  • United States Senate Youth Program
    Amount: $10,000
    Deadline: Varies by State (September-November)

    This is a scholarship provided by the U.S. Senate for two students from each state to receive a $10,000 scholarship and spend a week in Washington, D.C., listening to major policy speeches and meeting with the president and a member of the Supreme Court. All transportation, accommodation, and meal expenses are paid for by a non-profit organization. The winning scholars are encouraged to pursue degrees in political science and history.

  • Davidson Fellows Scholarship
    Amount: $10,000, $25,000, or $50,000
    Deadline: Varies

    These scholarships are for students who have completed a piece of work that is at a graduate level in one of a number of fields of endeavor. One of the requirements to apply for the scholarship is to demonstrate the work. The categories that one may apply for a Davidson Fellows Scholarship are technology, engineering, mathematics, literature, music, philosophy, and a category called “Outside the Box.”

  • The Coca-Cola Scholars Program
    Amount: $20,000 (50 Awards); $10,000 (400 Awards)
    Deadline: October 31

    These scholarships are renewable yearly. Each year 50 students receive $20,000, and another 400 students receive $10,000. The soft drink maker is looking for seniors who have demonstrated leadership in business, government, the arts, or education. The students must have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA and have been engaged in community service.

  • Gates Millennium Scholars
    Amount: Full Tuition
    Deadline: Not specified

    These scholarships are strictly for U.S. citizens who are from a racial minority and have demonstrable leadership activities in community service or other extracurricular-types of activities. The award is need-based, so students must show that they meet the Federal Pell Grant requirements for eligibility. 1,000 of these scholarships are awarded each year. When Gates Scholars have successfully completed their bachelor's degrees, they are eligible to request that the Gates Foundation fund a graduate degree program so long as they choose the fields of computer science, education, engineering, library, science, mathematics, public health, or science.

  • Elks National Foundation Scholarship Program
    Amount: $1,000-$12,500 per year for 4 years (500 Awards)
    Deadline: November 15

    The national headquarters of the Elks Club gives out 500 need-based scholarships yearly to students who show outstanding academics and leadership potential. There are also local scholarships that are available by inquiring at their local Elks Club headquarters. The awards are yearly for all four years of a bachelor's degree. There are also scholarships available for children of deceased Elks Club members.

  • American Legion Oratorical Contest
    Amount: $18,000 (1st Place); $16,000 (2nd Place); $14,000 (3rd Place); $1,500
    Deadline: Varies

    This is a speaking contest that leads to a scholarship of up to $18,000 at the college of one's choice. The American Legion provides up to $138,000 in awards each year to high school seniors and juniors who provide the best responses to a question about the U.S. Constitution and citizens' rights and responsibilities. The students receive the topic only five minutes before they stand before the judges and speak. Each speech lasts from 8-10 minutes.

  • Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund
    Amount: $2,500 to $25,000 (Some one-time awards, some multi-year awards)
    Deadline: January 10

    These scholarships are for students who are racially designated as Asian-Pacific Islanders according to U.S. Census criteria. They are for candidates who live at or below the poverty level, show good academic achievement, and have a minimum high school GPA of 2.7. They will be the first in their family to attend college. Check the website because there are more types of scholarships available than just this general fund scholarship for Asian and Pacific Islanders.

  • Cameron Impact Scholarship
    Amount: Full Tuition (10-15 Awards)
    Deadline: Rolling Deadline (Previously ending mid-September)

    This organization provides 10 to 15 full-ride, merit-based scholarships each year to high school seniors. The organization is looking for students with a 3.7 or higher GPA who excel in extracurricular activities and community service and are looking to make an impact in the world. About one-quarter of the scholarships go to students who will pursue careers after they graduate in public sector jobs, such as in education, non-profits, the government, or the military, but they allocate other scholarships to students who have the stated goal of making a positive impact in society and have shown a track record of excellence and achievement.

  • Dell Scholars Program
    Amount: $20,000, a laptop, and textbook credits
    Deadline: December 1

    This is a need-based program for students who qualify for Pell Grants. The students only need a 2.4 GPA in order to qualify, but must show drive, determination, and motivation to succeed. 300 awards are provided yearly, along with other academic assistance to ensure the student has all of the support resources to make it through their bachelor's program.