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10 Big-Money Scholarships That High School Students Can Apply for This Fall 

Samantha Rose
Samantha Rose is a personal finance writer covering financial literacy for OppU. Her work focuses on providing hands-on resources for high school and college-age students in addition to their parents and educators.
Read time: 5 min
Updated on February 23, 2022
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Because cash doesn’t grow on trees. Or does it?

Picking a college is exciting. You research class size, majors, and dorm life. You choose your schools and picture yourself on campus. But then you take a peak at tuition costs and your stomach drops.

College is expensive. Very expensive.

It’s easy for sticker shock to set in, but high school students who have  their sights set on a dream school have a number of options to offset costs. One of the best? Scholarships, which are essentially free money. Seriously.

Of course, you need to win a scholarship to receive a scholarship, and that’s easier said than done. (There are ways to boost your chances, at least when writing a scholarship essay.) But if you apply strategically, it’s not unreasonable to hope to land one of the many scholarships that provide much-needed tuition money to students around the country every year.

So what scholarships can high school seniors apply for this fall? Here are 10 that offer the largest awards.

1. Cooke College Scholarship Program

Award: $160,000

Deadline: November 13, 2019

How to Apply: Learn about applying through the Common App here

Eligibility: High school seniors

The Cooke College Scholarship Program is available to high school seniors who have a strong academic record and need financial assistance. Although this is a highly competitive scholarship, the chance to score nearly a full-ride is well worth it. One lucky winner will receive up to $40,000 each year.

2. Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway

Award: (5) $100,000, (5) $25,000, and (10) $2,500

Deadline: October 17, 2019

How to Apply: Create a profile and submit a video here

Eligibility: Ages 18-24

Dr. Pepper — yes, the soft drink company — has offered the very generous Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway to deserving students from all backgrounds for nearly a decade now. Twenty recipients will have the opportunity to win scholarship aid ranging from $2,500 to $100,00.

Applicants need to submit a video pitch of a goal, then provide updates of their progress towards reaching that goal. Pretty simple.

3. Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund 

Award: $60,000

Deadline: December 1, 2019

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Eligibility: High school seniors who have dedicated  more than 2 years of service to particular golf services at any golf course in Massachusetts

The Francis Ouimet Scholarship provides funds to students who have worked professionally in the golf industry, caddies included. As the largest private scholarship in New England, it promises up to $60,000 for educational costs. To enter, students need to submit an application that details their academic achievements.

4. Burger King James W. McLamore Whopper Scholarship Award

Award: $50,000

Deadline: December 15, 2019

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Eligibility: High school seniors

Fans of the Whopper rejoice! Your favorite burger chain gives away scholarship money, too. The Burger King Scholars Program was created in memory of co-founder James W. McLamore in an effort to aid high school seniors and Burger King employees pursuing higher education. The minimum requirements to enter include a 3.3 GPA, 25 ACT, or 1220 SAT score, and active leadership in an extracurricular or community service role.

5. Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Competition

Award: (2) $50,000, (2) $40,000, (2) $30,000, (14) $20,000, (480) $4,000

Deadline: November 5, 2019

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Eligibility: High school seniors

The Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Competition is one of the largest scholarships available to students in the United States. Don’t worry if you’re not a first-place recipient scoring the grand $50,000 award — there are a total of 500 chances to win a sizeable chunk of money! Since it’s a merit-based scholarship, students need to prove their strong academic record, ability to lead, and commitment to service activities.

6. Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program

Award: $20,000

Deadline: October 25, 2019

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Eligibility: High school seniors

Have you heard of Horatio Alger? You might want to brush up on American literature, because this scholarship honors his legacy. Alger was a great American writer who wrote about the struggles of impoverished youth overcoming adversity to rise to the middle-class. The Horatio Alger National Scholarship program offers a need-based scholarship that aids students who have also overcome adversity while remaining high-achieving. The national winners receive $20,000, but there are plenty of awards at the state level.

7. Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

Award: $20,000

Deadline: October 31, 2019

How to Apply: Submit an application here

Eligibility: High school seniors

Coca-Cola has three national programs to provide scholarship aid to students, but the largest of these is the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which awards $20,000 to 150 students annually. High-performing seniors with a strong record of leadership have the best chances of winning.

8. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes

Award: $20,000

Deadline: December 2019

How to Apply: Application will open on September/October 2019 here

Eligibility: High school seniors

Are you an athlete? Then this Foot Locker scholarship is for you. Twenty students planning to pursue a collegiate sports career will receive $20,000, with one receiving the Ken C. Hicks Scholarship and an additional $5,000. Submit an application with your essay on how you demonstrate fair sportsmanship and moral character.

9. Dell Scholars Program

Award: $20,000

Deadline: December 1, 2019

How to Apply: Application will open on October 1, 2019 here

Eligibility: High school seniors

The Dell Scholars Program is for students who have overcome socioeconomic disadvantages to pursue higher education. Winners receive $20,000, a new Dell laptop, and credits toward textbooks. To be eligible, students should have completed a college readiness program approved by the foundation. Dell selects 300 winners each year.

10. Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition

Award: $30,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

Deadline: October 31, 2019

How to Apply: Download and complete an entry form here

Eligibility: Grades 9-12

To apply for this scholarship, students write and record an essay. For 2019-20, the theme is “What Makes America Great.” Get creative, as you’ll be judged on content, originality, and delivery.


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