Top 10 Scholarships to Apply for This Fall

Fall is right around the corner, and that means new opportunities for free tuition money.

Are There Good Scholarship Opportunities for the Fall?

Scholarship application cycles typically follow seasonal deadlines, and there are thousands of opportunities available in the fall. Scholarships may be offered by schools, employers, individual donors, private corporations, nonprofits, community centers, religious groups, and social organizations.

When applying during the fall, expect the distribution of scholarship funds to occur between the fall and spring semesters. Academic calendars that have quarters or trimesters may process funds differently.

Where Are the Best Places to Find Fall Scholarships?

A good way to start your scholarship search is to look broadly and then narrow down to specifics. One approach is to focus on national or state-wide scholarships with open eligibility. These scholarships most likely have lots of applicants, but they offer the best chance for most students. On the other hand, scholarships with niche requirements draw from a much smaller pool, giving those who apply a higher chance of standing out.

Thanks to the web, you can find larger national and state scholarships after a quick online search. Scholarship sites organize these results and allow users to filter searches by deadline, category, and reward amount.

Colleges and universities, the federal government, and nonprofit organizations tend to offer more specific merit-, need-, and program-based scholarships. Try searching your school’s website directly for reliable links to trusted scholarship sources.

When all else fails, never underestimate the power of word of mouth. Tap in to older friends and family members, teachers and guidance counselors, or online college-focused communities to find lesser-known local scholarships.

How Do I Go About Applying to These Scholarships?

Start researching scholarships early. Strict deadlines are staggered throughout the year so be sure to prioritize accordingly. Some deadlines are aimed at high school students before graduation and matriculation into college, while others focus on students currently enrolled in higher education, whether it be undergraduate, masters, or doctoral programs.

Each scholarship has different eligibility requirements. The most common requirements are GPA and test-score minimums. More rigorous processes include supplemental material like an essay, personal statement, or research project. Consider searching for scholarships that best align to your personal identity—gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, or disability. Leverage your background and talents to find opportunities for involvement in sports, community service, creative pursuits, the military, or work.

Once you compile a list of relevant scholarships, be sure to spend some time perusing the websites’ “about” sections and FAQ pages. Even if you meet the requirements, it’s hard to gauge what exactly the scholarship committee is searching for in a recipient. Looking at the previous winners’ profiles may give you an idea of how to tailor your application. For instance, these examples of scholarship essays written by recipients of the OppU Achievers Scholarship provide a good indication of the characteristics that catch the eye of our review committee.

The scholarship donor should provide detailed instructions for what to submit and how. Before submitting an application, make sure to double-check that you’ve filled out all necessary forms. Hopefully, you’ll be well on your way to funding your college expenses with free scholarship money.

We searched the best scholarship sites to find these ten great opportunities based on a variety of eligibility requirements. Read below to find the right one for you.

Top 10 Fall Scholarships for High School and College Students by Category

Top Scholarship for Women

WomenIn Scholarship

Description: The WomenIn Scholarship is part of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ WomenIn Initiative. This scholarship furthers AIAS Foundation’s mission to increase gender equity in the interactive entertainment industry. Applicants must be women enrolled in any discipline, pursuing careers in either video game development or the business of video games. Not only is there a monetary reward, but the winner has the opportunity to participate in a year-long mentorship program, partnering one-on-one with an industry professional.

Award: $2,500 and a year-long mentorship

Deadline: September 30, 2018

How to Apply: Submit an application, including personal statement, here

Top Scholarship for LGBTQA+

Jonathan Lax Scholarship Fund for Gay Men

Description: Established by the late entrepreneur and inventor Jonathan R. Lax, the Jonathan Lax Scholarship encourages gay men to pursue higher education, aspire to socially conscious careers, be vocal about their sexual orientation, and act as role models for other gay men in their communities. Applicants must be gay men who are either from the Philadelphia area and attending an accredited professional program, or are from elsewhere and attending a professional program within the Philadelphia region.

Award: $5,000-$10,000

Deadline: November 30, 2018

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Top Scholarship for Racial Minorities

5 Strong Scholarship

Description: The 5 Strong Scholarship Foundation is dedicated to building cohorts of five college-ready scholars from Atlanta and the surrounding areas, placing them on the campuses of HBCUs, and providing full tuition and support from matriculation through graduation. Applicants must be residents of the Atlanta, GA, metropolitan area and meet GPA and test score requirements.

Award: $50,000

Deadline: December 31, 2018

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Top Scholarship for Financial Need

Horatio Alger National Scholarship

Description: The Horatio Alger Association assists students who have demonstrated integrity, perseverance in overcoming adversity, strength of character, and a desire to better society. Applicants must be full-time high school seniors with a demonstrated financial need ($55,000 or lower gross family income).

Award: $25,000

Deadline: October 25, 2018

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Top Scholarship by Ethnic Group

Haz La U Educational Grant Program

Description: A partnership between Colgate-Palmolive and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Haz La U Program encourages Hispanic youth to pursue higher education by providing financial relief. The 31 educational grants offered total $100,000. Applicants must be high school seniors of Hispanic heritage (including Spain, Brazil, and the Philippines) and either a U.S. permanent resident, a U.S. citizen, or qualify under DACA.

Award: $2,000-$15,000

Deadline: October 15, 2018

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Top Scholarship for Military

Cameron Impact Scholarship

Description: The Bryan Cameron Education Foundation provides scholarships to those pursuing careers in education, nonprofits, government, and/or military and have a stated professional goal of public service. For this four-year, merit-based scholarship, applicants must be planning to enroll in an undergraduate degree program at an accredited U.S. college or university and meet certain GPA requirements.

Award: $20,000-$50,000

Deadline: September 12, 2018

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Top Scholarship for Disabilities

The Anne Ford Scholarship

Description: The Anne Ford Scholarship is granted to a graduating high school senior with a documented learning disability and/or ADHD who articulates their challenges and demonstrates the importance of self-advocacy in their plans to pursue a four-year degree. Applicants must meet certain academic requirements, demonstrate financial need, and provide current documentation of an identified LD and/or ADHD, and has utilized services, supports, and/or accommodations. As a note, LD and ADHD can co-occur with other issues such as speech/language, hearing, and vision.

Award: $10,000

Deadline: November 13, 2018

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Top Scholarship for Athletes

Wendy’s High School Heisman Scholarship

Description: The Wendy’s High School Heisman Scholarship provides opportunity to those individuals who lead their teammates, classmates, and communities. Applicants must be high school seniors who perform in at least one school-sponsored sport. To be eligible, the sport must be one of 43 recognized by the International Olympic Committee in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games or the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Award: $5,000

Deadline: October 2, 2018

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Top Scholarship for Creatives

The Kiefer Foundation Stop Distracted Driving Campaign

Description: The mission of the Kiefer Foundation is to honor the legacy of Mitchel Kiefer, who was tragically killed in an auto accident in 2016, by ending distracted driving and all associated traffic deaths and injuries. If you have a creative idea about how to stop distracted driving, then enter for a chance to win not only a scholarship, but the chance to produce your concept professionally. Applicants must make a short video (30 seconds max) and share on Instagram or Twitter with required hashtags.

Award: $25,000

Deadline: September 3, 2018

How to Apply: Make and share a short video on Instagram or Twitter with hashtags #HandsFreeUSA and #Contest. Learn more here.

Top Scholarship for Open Eligibility

Patrick Dwyer Scholarship

Description: Created with students in mind, the Patrick Dwyer College Scholarship is designed to help students finance their college careers. Applicants must answer a simple question and submit an application.

Award: $1,000

Deadline: November 30, 2018

How to Apply: Submit an application here


Do you have any tips to help students land fall scholarships? Let us know on Twitter at @OppUniversity!