If applying to college is a nerve-wracking experience, then I’m not sure how to explain the fear and dread involved in paying for it once you get in.
But wait, it gets worse: student loans, anyone?
Before you know it, your excitement about getting into college can be totally trumped by anxiety about how to pay for it.
Luckily, thousands of college scholarships can help you pay for school. Whether you’re in high school, college or even graduate school, you’re likely eligible to win a fair amount of money.
You don’t need to get straight As, be in dire financial straits or go to a ton of activities after school every day to win a scholarship. In some cases, a special skill or interest area — like weird ways to earn or save money — can help you win an award to use toward tuition, housing or even textbooks.
Here’s a list of 100 awesome scholarships to get you started on your search. Application rules and deadlines can change, so be sure to read all of the eligibility requirements on the funding organization’s website before applying.
Happy scholarship hunting! (For even more, check out our list of 100 weird college scholarships.)
Scholarships With Multiple Deadlines
Some of these organizations offer awards several times a year — during spring and fall semesters, quarterly or even monthly. Even if you’ve missed the earliest deadline this year, take a look to see whether there’s another one coming up!
Full-time undergraduate and graduate students with at least a 2.5 GPA can apply for this $1,000 scholarship that chooses one winner per quarter.
This fund awards quarterly scholarships of $2,500 to students enrolled at an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) member institution. Awards can be used toward bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees in nursing.
The selection committee gives special consideration to students in a graduate program to become a nurse educator; students completing an RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN program; and those enrolled in an accelerated program.
Wells Fargo sponsors this award, which is open to high school seniors and all undergraduate levels. Applicants are selected throughout the year via random drawing to win 40 awards of $1,000 each.
This monthly scholarship award of $500 is available to juniors or seniors in high school as well as college students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. You’ll have to submit a short essay.
Entries are due on the last day of each month.
High school juniors and seniors who are involved in student government can apply to win up to $5,000. A principal or teacher nomination is required, and this scholarship includes a trip to Washington, D.C. for the Washington Week program.
Deadlines range from July to November, depending on your state.
Open to anyone in grades 10-12 or currently enrolled in college, College JumpStart Scholarship offers various award amounts to students who are committed to their educations and their communities. Submit a brief personal statement about your goals and achievements to apply.
You have two deadline options: April 15 or October 17.
Yes, there’s a scholarship you can win without writing an essay! Niche.com offers this monthly drawing, which is open to all students planning to enroll in college within 12 months.
Enter once each month to win $2,000.
Tell Niche.com about your neighborhood and be entered into a monthly drawing for $1,000. Submit a new entry each month for a better chance of winning.
High school and junior college students who play sports and plan to attend a four-year college can apply for this $2,000 award. You’ll need to be active on social media to have a better chance at one of the quarterly prizes.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities offers a handful of scholarships open to all different types of aspiring students. To be eligible, you just have to live in an area where there is a participating RMHC chapter.
The application period for the 2016-2017 award year will open in the fall, and deadlines will vary by scholarship.
Students returning to school after a gap in their education can earn $250 by winning four rounds of quizzes on common knowledge facts.
Enter by registering at the Common Knowledge Scholarship Fund and entering the fall quiz (begins in early September) and spring quiz (Starts in early January).
Volunteer your time for any of DoSomething.org’s campaigns (examples include hosting a canned food drive or sharing ways to combat bullying) and you could win $10,000. Submit pictures of your campaign work to be entered.
DoSomething.org also draws a seasonal scholarship four times each year for your second chance to win $10,000.
Enrolled college students between the ages of 18 and 25 can enter to win $500. Enter by writing a 500-word essay on why your education is important to you; you might get bonus points if you can work your love of coffee into your essay.
One winner is chosen each spring (apply by January 31) and fall (apply by September 30).
Golden Key International Honour Society is based upon three principles: academics, leadership, and service. It offers more than half a million dollars in scholarships each year to its undergraduate and graduate members.
Deadlines vary by scholarship.
If you have at least a 2.5 GPA, submit two short essays on given topics to be considered for a $500 scholarship. Enter by March 31 for the spring scholarship contest; there’s also another round in the fall.
This scholarship is open to American and Canadian students between the ages of 16 and 25.
Scholarships With Single Deadlines
I’ve organized these scholarships by date (with January opportunities first) so it’s easy to see which deadlines are coming up soon.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awards 1,000 scholarships each year to extraordinary students. The average award is about $12,000, and these substantial awards are designed to last throughout the winner’s college experience.
The deadline usually falls in mid-January.
Show academic achievement and write a topical essay in MLA format to win this $1,500 prize, which can be used toward full-time undergraduate studies.
The deadline usually occurs in mid-January.
If sleep disorders affect your life, write a short essay to enter to win one of four scholarships of up to $1,500. If you’re already enrolled in college, you’ll need to show a 2.0 or better GPA.
Apply by January 31.
Students with any active amateur radio license may apply for this $2,000 award. Transcripts are required, but students in any field of study may apply.
Deadline: January 31.
Students with any active amateur radio license and basic Morse code knowledge may apply for this $1,000 award. Preference is given to students in a health-related major.
Apply by January 31.
High school seniors can apply for a $2,000 scholarship in each of Optimist International’s 49 districts.
Local club deadlines may vary, but winning local essays are handed off to districts in February.
The Landscape Architecture Foundation awards $5,000 to one student who is either in the final two years of undergraduate study, or working toward a graduate degree in landscape architecture.
Provide a resume, two recommendations, a 500-word essay and work samples to enter by February 15.
Minority high school students may apply for awards of up to $7,500 per year (for up to four years) to attend a four-year college. Scholarships also come with mentoring, leadership development and internship opportunities.
Apply by February 15.
College sophomores and juniors with GPAs of at least 3.0 are invited to apply for a $2,500 award from GEICO. A resume, unofficial transcript, letter of recommendation and a short essay are required.
Apply by February 15.
The American Welding Society offers more than 30 national scholarships to students in the U.S. and Canada who plan to pursue careers in welding. Awards tend to be for $2,500 or more, and many are open to students in two- and four-year programs.
Students can create one profile online through AWS to be matched with scholarship options. Apply by February 15.
By completing one application, women in engineering, engineering technology or computer science in the U.S. or Mexico can apply for a host of scholarships from SWE. Undergraduate and graduate students are both eligible.
Awards range from about $1,000 to $10,000. Apply by February 17 for returning college students, or May 15 for incoming college freshman.
High school through graduate school and adult students planning to enroll in the next 12 months may apply for this $1,000 scholarship. Funds can be used for tuition, books, room and board, computers or other related expenses.
Apply by February 29, 2016.
Entering first-year law students can apply for this award from the American Bar Association. Full-time and part-time students are eligible; 20 winners receive $15,000 over three years of law school.
Deadline: March 1.
Anticipated or current undergraduate and graduate students may apply for this $2,000 award. Applicants must have a minimum 3.5 GPA and excellent standardized test scores. This scholarship is not limited to Hispanic and Latino students.
Apply by March 1.
The American Chemical Society offers scholarships to African American, Native American and Hispanic students planning to study a chemically related field before a career in the chemical sciences. $2,500 is awarded to an incoming freshman; $3,000 goes to a sophomore; and $5,000 is up for grabs among juniors and seniors.
Apply by March 1 with official transcripts, standardized test scores, two recommendation letters and your FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR).
High school seniors who show leadership, patriotism, service and financial need, plus academic achievement, may apply. Five $3,500 scholarships are awarded annually, along with five $3,000 scholarships and five $2,500 awards.
Deadline: March 1.
The American Legion also offers five scholarships each year to students returning to school after an interruption; or who is starting higher education later in life.
Apply by March 1 to be considered for an award of $2,000.
High school seniors or current college students can apply for this $1,000 scholarship. Submit a piece of art: a photograph, collage, poem, painting or other creative piece, along with a short essay about your professional goals.
Apply by the beginning of March.
Applicants must submit an essay or short video about the effect of losing a parent during childhood. The grand prize is $15,000; apply by March 1.
Exceptional and involved students may apply for a $1,000 scholarship to be used at junior colleges, four-year colleges and trade schools. Every Simon mall in the U.S. provides an award, but only the first 3,000 applications received each year are judged.
Applicants must live within 50 miles of a Simon mall. Apply by March 1.
Write an essay about religious freedom to win prizes from $250 to $2,000, awarded by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Apply by March 4.
The American Foreign Service Association sponsors this $2,500 scholarship for students interested in foreign policy. The winner also receives a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet the Secretary of State, and an all-expense paid education trip from Semester at Sea.
Apply by March 15.
Students in grades 9-12 may enter by writing an essay in response to a promopt rooted in World War II history. Only the first 500 properly-formatted entries are considered for the $1,000 first-place prize, $750 second-place award, or $500 third-place prize.
Apply by March 15 annually.
MinuteClinic (owned by CVS) and Johnson & Johnson offer 30 nurse practitioner scholarships for $2,500 each and five doctor of nursing practice scholarships for $5,000 each.
If you’re enrolled in a nurse practitioner or doctor of nursing practice program with a GPA of at least 3.2, apply by March 16.
College juniors and seniors of Hispanic descent may apply for this $3,000 scholarship. Applicants must be majoring in a business-related field with a 3.0 or higher GPA and attend an Adelante partner school. 20 scholarships are awarded.
Apply by March 18. (There’s also a similar scholarship for engineering and science majors.)
If someone in your family was or is a member of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, you could be eligible for this $2,000 scholarship, which can be renewed for three years after being awarded.
Submit a transcript and up to four letters of recommendation to be considered. Deadline: March 31.
SanDisk awards $2,500 (renewable for four years) to students in engineering and computer science. High school seniors may apply, along with college freshman or sophomore students.
A 3.0 GPA is required, and you’ll need to submit an essay plus evidence of financial need, community involvement and “entrepreneurial interests.” Apply by March 31.
The NSA (yep, that one) awards $500 each spring to students in computer science, computer engineering or mathematics. You’ll need a 3.0 GPA to apply; all levels of higher education study are welcome.
Apply by March 31.
Each year, SuretyBonds.com gives away three $1,500 scholarships through its Small Business Student Success Scholarship Program.
Enter by March 31.
African-American students with a 2.75 GPA or higher, who also participate in school and community activities may apply for up to $1,000.
Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation, letters from activity organizers, an official transcript, an essay on a provided topic and a photo. Apply by April 1.
This $10,000 scholarship goes to a student active in the social and economic justice movements.
Apply by April 1 by submitting a personal statement, two recommendations, a transcript, evidence of financial need and a photo.
Junior and senior undergraduates studying communications or journalism may apply, along with graduate students. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000, and there are three or more awards given each year.
Apply by April 1.
High school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students planning to study travel, tourism or hospitality may apply for one of 30 annual scholarships.
Awards range from $1,000 to $4,000. U.S. and Canadian students may apply. Deadline: April 1.
Each year, four winners are selected to win $10,000. You must be a current undergraduate or graduate-level accounting student with a GPA of at least 3.0 to apply.
Deadline: April 1.
If you’re part of The National Society of High School Scholars and are interested in pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, then you’re eligible for a $1,000 scholarship.
Requirements include a 3.0 GPA and some evidence of work in any of the STEM fields. Apply by April 1.
This award is only good at one school, but it’s too cool not to mention it. David Letterman created this scholarship at his alma mater, Ball State University.
If you’ve been working on a telecommunications project here, you have no reason not to apply. Grades aren’t a factor and you could be awarded up to $10,000 if you win first place.
Apply by April 4.
The American Fire and Sprinkler Association awards 10 scholarships for $2,000 to high school seniors. To apply, read an essay about fire sprinklers and complete a 10-question, open-book, multiple choice test. Each correct test answer gives you one entry into the scholarship drawing.
Apply by April 6.
Scholarships ranging between $6,000 and $21,000 are awarded to high school seniors who demonstrate critical financial need, participation in community activities and a 2.0 or better GPA. Recommendations, essay and transcript required.
Apply by April 15.
Students who are already enrolled part- or full-time toward an associate or bachelor’s degree focusing on real estate may apply for this $1,000 award. You must demonstrate academic achievement.
Submit a short personal statement, two recommendations, your transcript and your resume to apply by April 14.
Criminology students may submit one relevant academic paper each year to be considered for this scholarship. The first-prize winner gets $500.
Submit by April 15.
Undergraduates In their junior year who plan to work in the dairy industry may apply for this award, which has a first prize of $1,500 and three runner-up awards of $1,000 each.
Leadership, activities, and academic performance are evaluated. Apply by April 15.
The National Dairy Shrine also offers a scholarship for college sophomores pursuing a career in the dairy industry. First prize: $1,500. Leadership, activities, and academic performance are evaluated.
Apply by April 15.
Latino students with financial need may apply to receive one of several internship-focused awards, which include a monetary scholarship of around $2,500.
Applications are due in March and April.
Signet Classics awards five scholarships of $1,000 to high school juniors and seniors. Applicants must write an essay about the year’s chosen literary classic from a list of provided topics; teachers then submit the essays to Signet.
Entries are usually due in mid-April.
Readers in 11th and 12th grade can write a prompted essay about Ayn Rand’s novel “The Fountainhead” to be eligible for cash prizes to put toward college.
One first-place winner gets $10,000, five more winners receive $2,000 and 10 more receive $1,000 each. Special awards are available for students in the Chicago area and in Colorado.
Enter by April 29.
Exceptional high school students who are involved with American Saddlebred horses, may apply. Academic success, financial need, community service and recommendations are considered.
Awards amounts range, but additional prizes of $2,500 and $5,000 are provided. Deadline: April 30.
MoolahSPOT’s scholarship is open to students from around the world — but your essay and application must be submitted in English.
New or current students in college or graduate school may apply. Submit a 400-word essay by April 30.
Current undergraduate, graduate and vocational school students can enter to win up to $3,000.
Apply by April 30 by submitting a 30-second audio or video public service announcement about freedom of speech.
Write a tweet-length statement about electronic waste recycling to enter this $1,000 contest. The top 10 finalists will be asked to write a 500- to 1000-word essay.
Apply by April 30.
If you’ve got Shakespearean dreams and enjoy writing poetry, you could win big. The Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships require 10 pages of poems in order to be considered for one five $25,800 scholarships.
It’s open to all poets between age 21 and 31. Submit by April 30.
Interested in being an actuary? African-American, Hispanic, Native North American and Pacific Islander students with a GPA of at least 3.0 may apply for this scholarship.
Awards range from $1,000 for an incoming freshman to $4,000 for an incoming college senior who has already passed actuarial exams. Enter by May 1.
Students showing financial need, academic achievement and public service who are entering or transferring to a four-year college may apply.
Submit a copy of your college acceptance letter, two recommendations, an essay, transcript, standardized test scores, copy of your FAFSA and a resume to be considered to win $2,000 per year for up to four years.
Deadline: May 1.
Would you engage with an audience from the podium? Winning speakers at the local level may earn scholarships of $2,500, $1,500 or $1,000 at the district level.
Local club competition dates vary, but districts must submit their winner lists to Optimist International by May 15.
Google wants you to take that papier-mâché volcano you made back in second grade to the next level. The company is running a global science fair asking participants one simple question: “How can we make the world better with science?”
Participants can either enter as individuals or in teams, and must be between the ages of 13 and 18. Final submissions are due on May 18 and the grand prize scholarship is worth $50,000.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation provides up to 20 awards for $5,000 to graduate students of communication sciences and disorders.
Through the main application, students can select to be considered for endowed scholarships for students with disabilities, minority students and international students. Apply by May 23.
The Music Publishers Association of the United States awards up to $5,000 for an outstanding submission about intellectual property and copyright laws.
Students aged 13 through 25 may apply by May 29.
High school seniors and undergraduates enrolled at least part time may apply for this $1,000 scholarship.
Submit an essay on a digital marketing topic by May 31.
Free registration for ScholarshipDetective.com and a 140-character statement are all you need to enter this drawing for one of two $1,000 scholarships.
Deadline: May 31.
College is Power awards $1,000 to entering or continuing students in full- or part-time programs. The funds can be used for tuition, books, room and board, or other related expenses.
Enter by May 31.
The Public Relations Student Society of America offers a $1,500 award to one member. Applicants must submit a a letter of recommendation and application signed by a PRSSA chapter advisor, along with an essay about the public relations field.
Apply by June 3.
If you’re an amateur bowler and exhibit academic excellence, you could receive $1,000! Applicants must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA.
Apply by June 15 to be eligible.
The American-Scandinavian Foundation offers a $2,500 award and a $2,000 award for outstanding translations of Scandinavian works by authors born before 1800.
Apply by June 15.
The American Translators Association invites translations of literary or science/technology works into English, but also considers translation-related projects. A faculty member must write a letter of support for the undergraduate or graduate applicant.
Award: $500. Deadline: June 8.
$1,000 goes to one student who exemplifies Bruce Lee’s (yes, that one!) passion for education. The scholarship can be used at two-year and four-year institutions along with trade schools.
Deadline: June 10.
This $1,000 award can be used for undergraduate or graduate work. Applicants must submit a 500-word essay about cyberbullying.
Apply by June 30.
Women studying business or a business-related program may apply for this $1,000 scholarship. There’s no age limit to apply.
Deadlines depend on local Zonta clubs, but club-level finalists must be presented to regional representatives by July 1.
Enter to win this $1,000 scholarship by creating a resume for a fictional character. There is no GPA requirement for this award. Apply by July 14.
This $1,000 scholarship is a merit-based award open to incoming or current college or graduate students.
Applicants must submit a 250-word essay by July 31.
52 students — one from each state, along with representatives from Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico — are selected to receive $10,000. High school seniors must demonstrate ambition and drive, determination, respect, and academic potential.
Ten of each year’s winners are selected as national winners with an addition $15,000 scholarship. Applications are usually due in the fall.
American Fire Sprinkler Association offers five $1,000 scholarships to nontraditional students holding a GED or high school diploma.
The application deadline is typically in late August.
QuestBridge awards full tuition for four years, plus room and board to one lucky student who shows academic achievement and financial need. You’ll need two letters of recommendation, a transcript, a high school counselor report and standardized test scores.
The scholarship is limited to QuestBridge partner schools, so take special note of the official rules for this award. Apply in the fall.
87. Doodle 4 Google
Ever wanted to create one of Google’s popular daily homepage doodles? K-12 students may apply, but high school students should be particularly interested in the prize: a $30,000 scholarship for the grand prize winner and $5,000 for four finalists.
The application period usually opens in early fall.
Current college students can enter to win between $1,000 and $5,000. Write a short essay to apply; the public chooses the best essay before the finalists move on to committee.
Apply by September 30.
If your original blog post on one of the topics provided is published, you’ll be entered to win $1,000.
Enter by September 30.
The regional winners of this highly competitive contest receive $3,000, and national winners receive between $10,000 and $100,000. Groups may apply, but national award groups split the prize money.
Students in grades 9 through 12 may enter the first round by September 30.
High school seniors submit their science research projects to compete for major cash scholarships — the top prize is $100,000.
Applications are usually due in November.
This scholarship judges applicants by short essay told via audio. The national first-place winner receives $30,000 for use at any U.S. college or vocational school; scholarships of $1,000-$6,000 are also awarded.
Apply through your local VFW post by November 1.
Entering freshmen of a four-year college can apply for awards of up to $30,000. Submit recommendations and an essay by early November.
A 3.5 GPA and standardized test scores in the top 15% are required.
High school seniors can apply for one of 500 four-year scholarships by applying through their local Elks Lodge by December 2. The top 20 finalists attend a leadership weekend in Chicago in April to interview for the top awards ranging from $30,000 to $50,000.
The 480 runners-up receive scholarships of $4,000 each.
Students up to age 25 can apply for a $5,000 scholarship. Each of the several winners also receive a matching grant in their name to a hunger-related charity.
Applicants must demonstrate a history of volunteer work relating to efforts to end hunger in the United States. Apply by December 5.
Already-enrolled undergraduate students can apply for a $5,000 scholarship. Four runners-up receive $1,000 each. An essay on a specified topic is required.
Apply by December 16.
Niche.com offers $500 to current and anticipated community college students. Apply by December 31.
High school students interested in culinary school, along with already enrolled students, may enter to win this $500 award from Niche.com.
Enter by December 31, 2015.
Future and current nursing students may apply for this $500 scholarship from Niche.com. Enter by December 31, 2015.
Submit a 200-word essay about how you’ve defied stereotypes and you could win one of two $10,000 scholarships. You must enroll in college no later than fall of 2019. Apply by December 31.
Guess what? We even have a scholarship here at The Penny Hoarder.
Applicants must be enrolled with an active class schedule, and write a short essay about an interesting and unusual way you’ve saved or made money.
Deadline: December 31.
Your Turn: Will you be applying for scholarships this year?
Lisa Rowan is a writer, editor and podcaster based in Washington, D.C.