For college-bound students, senior year of high school is a busy time. Taking SATs and ACTs, scheduling your college tours, college admissions, writing essays, and completinging financial aid applications can certainly be time-consuming. However, for many students, college is going to be expensive, and if you didn’t land a full-tuition scholarship or your financial aid doesn’t foot the entire bill, securing a scholarship in your senior year could make the difference between going to college or not.

Scholarships are an excellent way to supplement the cost of tuition, room and board, books and other student expenses, especially since they don’t ever have to be paid back. As a high school senior, the pressure is on to find scholarships for college. Fortunately, there are also plenty of scholarships for senior high school students to apply to.

Not every scholarship for high school seniors is based on academic performance or financial need. There are scholarships for high school students based on ethnic background, field of study, and even extracurricular activities. Your interest or hobby could also be a way to get financial support for college.

Types of scholarships for high school seniors

These are some examples of categories of scholarships for high school seniors (source: Sallie Mae):

  1. Local scholarships. Often times, there may be local scholarship opportunities in your community. You can ask your school counselor for help on how to find them and to see if you qualify to apply.
  2. Scholarships for high SATs/ACTs. If you’ve scored highly on your SATs or ACTs, there are scholarships that award students based on their scores.
  3. Scholarships for high school seniors with military parents. Most states offer state-sponsored scholarships for students with active-duty, retired, or deceased military parents. You can contact your state’s Department of Higher Education, or Office of Veteran’s Affairs, to learn about scholarship programs.

Applying for scholarships can be a numbers game, so the more scholarships you apply to in your senior year, the better your chances of actually winning. The key to a great scholarship search is to start applying as soon as possible. Here are a few additional resources to help you find scholarship opportunities:

  • Your high school counselor
  • The financial aid office at a college or career school
  • Local nonprofits that focus on providing access to college
  • Organizations (such as professional associations) related to your field of interest
  • Free scholarship tools, like,, or Sallie Mae’s Scholarship Search