Scholarships for College Freshmen – 50 Opportunities to Fund Your First Year

By Austin Osho

Scholarships extend beyond high school, offering excellent opportunities for college freshmen as well. These scholarships can be merit-based, need-based, or a combination of both. Additionally, there are local, national, and college-specific scholarships available. Typically, a short essay and application are required, and certain scholarships consider factors such as ethnicity, major, or disability.

Applying for scholarships as a college freshman can alleviate future tuition expenses and help overcome financial challenges. It is crucial to conduct early research and submit applications before deadlines to increase the likelihood of receiving financial assistance. This article presents a comprehensive list of 50 scholarships specifically curated for college freshmen, providing a starting point for their application journey.

Top Scholarships for college freshmen 2023

TWA Scholarship

The Texas Wildlife Association, committed to preserving and promoting the responsible enjoyment of natural habitats in Texas, awards valuable scholarships to numerous conservation-minded students each year. Over the past 12 years, the organization has granted over $600,000 in total funds.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Demonstrate leadership skills and a dedication to wildlife and resource conservation.
  • Be a citizen of the United States.
  • Be a Texas high school graduate planning to enroll in a Texas college within one year of high school graduation.
  • Attend an accredited Texas college or university (online degree programs are not eligible).
  • Maintain a minimum semester GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (per semester, not cumulative) throughout each academic year to remain eligible.
  • Enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester.

Matrix Healthgroup Memorial Scholarship Program

Matrix Health Group, a collective of medical firms, sponsors an annual scholarship valued at $1,000 for nine winners. The scholarship is dedicated to the memory of influential figures in the field of blood disorder research and aims to assist students with bleeding disorders in pursuing higher education.

Scholarship Eligibility: 

  • Diagnosed with a bleeding disorder
  • US citizen.
  • Accepted full-time to an accredited US college or trade school.
  • Minimum GPA of 2.0.

Scholarship Points $2,500 Scholarship

Amount: $2.500

Deadline: Monthly

Eligibility: Open to all students 13 and older!

Smart Owl $50,000 No-Essay Scholarship

Amount: $4,000 given away monthly

Deadline: End of each month

Eligibility: Open to all US high school and college students ages 16 and older. All you need to do to apply is create an account!

Nitro College Scholarship

The scholarship presents an award of $2,000, features a quarterly deadline, and is available to both high school seniors and undergraduate students across the United States.

DoSomething Activism-Based No Essay Scholarships

Amount: Varies, but usually $1,000 – $2,500

Deadline: Continuous

Eligibility: Open to all students in the US and Canada ages 26 and under! 

CollegeXpress’ Monthly Scholarship

Amount: It varies, but it’s usually between $1,000 and $2,500!

Deadline: Monthly

Eligibility: Open to high school, college, and graduate students in the US.

Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship

Amount: up to $25,000

Deadline: January 11

Eligibility: Open to students (ages 16-26) who are passionate about creating a better future and making a positive impact on their community.

AANAPISI Scholarship

Maximum Amount: $5,000

Application Deadline: January 19th

Eligibility: Open to undergraduate students of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity enrolled in APIA partner schools (refer to the application page for the list). Minimum GPA requirement of 2.7. Priority consideration is given to students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, living at or below the poverty level, or those who are the first in their families to pursue higher education.

UNCF Scholarships (general application leads to all opportunities)

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 31

Eligibility: Scholarships for students enrolled full-time and attending UNCF-member institutions Must have a demonstrated financial need. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required.

Too Cool to Pay for School Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: March 31, June 30, September 30, December 31

Eligibility: Open to all high school, college, and graduate school students studying in the US (including US residents, international students in the US, and undocumented students).

Frame My Future Scholarship

Amount: up to $5,000

Deadline: April 1

Eligibility: Open to all students who are US residents who are attending a post-high school institution full-time. This could be a community college, an undergraduate college or university, or a graduate school in the U.S.

Robert F. Lawson Fund for Careers that Care

Funded by Lance Lawson, this scholarship aims to empower and support high school seniors and undergraduate students who aspire to make a difference in the lives of others through their chosen careers. Eligibility criteria include being a high school senior or undergraduate student, having a passion for helping people and pursuing fields of study such as healthcare, social work, government, education, or related disciplines. Financial needs may also be considered in the selection process.

Amount: $500

Deadline: Apr 15, 2024

I Can Do Anything Scholarship

This scholarship is open to high school juniors or seniors, undergraduate students, and graduate students. The focus is on supporting individuals who have a strong belief in their potential and are committed to persevering until they succeed.

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: Oct 01, 2023

Texas Women Empowerment Scholarship

Funded by the Pruett Family, this scholarship supports Texas women pursuing higher education in fields such as pre-law, political science, public health, medicine, and related areas. Eligible applicants include high school seniors, undergraduates, and graduate students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Amount: $6,000

Deadline: Jul 01, 2023

Trotter Project Scholarships

Award: Varies

Application Deadline: May 15th

Eligibility: This scholarship is open to undergraduate students in the United States who are majoring in Culinary Arts, Baking/Pastry, Hospitality Management, or Agriculture. To qualify, applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Asian American Architects and Engineers Foundation Scholarships

Amount: up to $5,000

Deadline: May 28

Eligibility: Open to Asian high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in the US. International students in the US are welcome to apply. Must be majoring in (or planning to major in) one of the engineering/architecture-related disciplines listed on the application page.

Semper Solaris Scholarship for College Students

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: July 30

Eligibility: Open to undergraduate and graduate students in the US. Minimum 3.0/4.0 GPA.

Savory Experiments Scholarship

Award: $500

Application Deadline: July 31st

Eligibility: Available to all students who meet either of the following criteria:

  • Enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited U.S. University or College.
  • Have a legitimate letter of acceptance from an accredited U.S. University or College.

Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline: August 31

Eligibility: Open to STEM undergraduate majors and professionals who plan to become teachers (K-12 STEM).

Alex Austin’s Overcoming Adversity Scholarship

Amount: $500 – $1,000

Deadline: September 1

Details: Open to all high school and college students in the US, including DACA recipients. Students who identify as part of a minority or who are first-generation college students are encouraged to apply.

NSHSS Activism & Advocacy Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: September 1

Eligibility: This scholarship is open to all high school and college students. International students are also encouraged to apply.

PEGA Scholars Program

Award: $1,500

Application Deadline: September 30th

Eligibility: This scholarship is open to current undergraduate students of all years who are pursuing a degree in computer science or technology. International students are eligible to apply, provided they reside in one of the countries listed on the scholarship page.

In addition, applicants must self-identify as one or more of the following: Woman, LGBTQIA+, a person with a disability, a military veteran, Indigenous Native American or Alaskan Native, Asian American, Black, African American, Hispanic or Latino/Latina, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.

Avalaunch Media Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: December 1

Eligibility: Any current, full-time student of an accredited two-year or four-year American university or college is welcome to apply. There is no age or specific major requirement.

Education Accessibility Scholarship

The scholarship grants a sum of $1,000 and has a deadline set for December 31st. It is exclusively open to first-generation college students, meaning those who are the pioneering individuals in their families to pursue a four-year college or university education. To be eligible, applicants must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.

JBF Scholarship

The James Beard Foundation supports the culinary arts and offers scholarships, grants, and student aid programs. These scholarships provide full tuition waivers and are awarded to multiple recipients annually. Since 1991, the foundation has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships to deserving students.

Eligibility: Demonstrate high levels of general and academic merit.

The HACU Scholarship Program

The HACU Scholarship Program, provided by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, offers tuition coverage from various sponsors. Freshman students enrolled at HACU-member colleges in the US or Puerto Rico are eligible. Award decisions are made in July and winners are promptly notified. Eligibility requires demonstrating financial need if required by the scholarship sponsor and completing the first semester of freshman year.

Leaders Save Lives Scholarship

The American Red Cross offers the Leaders Save Lives Scholarship for college students who host community blood-draw events. Eligibility requires being a college student and organizing such an event.

Larry F. Ball Memorial Scholarship

Charity Smith, an online non-profit specializing in managing memorial funds, facilitates the Larry F. Ball Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship provides significant tuition coverage for female Ohio residents. It is sponsored by the family of Larry F. Ball, a cherished family man, professional, and former Ohio State Buckeye.

Eligibility:

  • Female Ohio resident.
  • Enrolled in a four-year US-accredited university/college.
  • High school graduate with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Demonstrated community service and a commitment to future community involvement.
  • US citizenship required.

Grand President’s Circle Scholarships

The Grand President’s Circle Scholarships are annual awards given to undergraduate students who are active members of the Deltasig for Life Program and in good standing with Delta Sigma Pi, the nation’s largest co-ed professional business fraternity. To apply, two letters of recommendation are required. The scholarships offer 2 awards ranging from $350 to $5,000. The deadline is June 1, 2023.

Flight Training Scholarships

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an organization founded in 1953 by aviation enthusiasts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It aims to promote aviation participation in various categories. Open to students at any training stage, these scholarships can be used at non-university flight schools across the US and Canada. No EAA membership is required. Applicants from all countries are welcome. If selected, you’ll receive an email to start your journey towards becoming a pilot.

Multiple awards worth: $5,000

Deadline: June 1, 2023

Lydia R. Laurendeau Scholarship Fund

The Lydia R. Laurendeau Scholarship Fund supports young women pursuing science or engineering at a four-year university. Preference is given to applicants with Franco-American heritage. Open to female graduating seniors from Maine high schools who are pursuing a major in science or engineering at a four-year university.

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Jun 1, 2023

JASNA Essay Contest (Jane Austen Society of North America)

Attention Jane Austen fans and students! Enter the JASNA Essay Contest and win cash prizes from $250 to $1,000. Write a 6-8 page essay analyzing a Jane Austen novel, focusing on Sense and Sensibility. Open to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students.

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: Jun 1, 2023

Thomas J. Seefred Trust Scholarship

The $3,000 scholarship is open to all Ohio residents with Juvenile Diabetes who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree. This scholarship was established in 2005 and is supported by the Thomas J. Seefred Trust. To apply, you must complete the online application, submit supporting documentation, and write a 500-word essay on the impact that Juvenile Diabetes has had on you.

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: Jun 1, 2023

Student Academy Awards

The Student Academy Awards is an international student film competition hosted by The Oscars. It’s open to university students who submit films made as part of their coursework or school projects. Established in 1972 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, it supports aspiring young filmmakers.

Award amount: $5,000

Deadline: June 1, 2023

LMG Foundation Scholarship

The LMG Foundation Scholarship is open to graduating high school/homeschooled seniors and entering/returning college students in the United States. It accepts applicants from any field with GPA evaluations on a case-by-case basis. U.S. citizens, legal aliens, or non-citizens with lawful presence and a work permit are eligible. Required documents include a resume/CV and two letters of recommendation.

Multiple awards worth: $1,500

Deadline: June 1, 2023

Charlotte Liddell Scholarship Fund (District 5 Charitable Trust)

The Charlotte Liddell Scholarship Fund (District 5 Charitable Trust) supports students focusing on psychiatric nursing in South Florida. Applicants must be enrolled in a nationally accredited nursing program, have completed at least one semester, meet residency requirements, and meet GPA requirements. Two letters of reference are required. One scholarship is available with a varied award amount. 

Deadline: June 1, 2023.

Connie Dorry Memorial Fund

The Connie Dorry Memorial Fund is available to Dade County residents enrolled in the MSN/NP Program. Applicants must be enrolled in a nationally accredited nursing program, have completed at least one semester, and meet residency requirements. Two letters of reference are required. One scholarship is available with a varied award amount. 

Deadline: June 1, 2023.

District 14 Marcy Klosterman Memorial Scholarship Fund Lake County

The District 14 Marcy Klosterman Memorial Scholarship Fund in Lake County is open to Lake County residents enrolled in a nationally accredited nursing program. Applicants must have completed at least one semester, meet GPA requirements, and provide two letters of reference. One scholarship is available with a varied award amount. 

Deadline: June 1, 2023.

District 20 The Evelyn Baxter Memorial Fund Manatee County

The District 20 Evelyn Baxter Memorial Fund in Manatee County offers scholarships to students currently enrolled in nationally-accredited nursing programs. Applicants must have completed at least one semester, be Florida residents, and meet GPA requirements. The scholarship is open to ADN, BSN, MSN, PhD, DNS, and ARNP students. Two letters of reference are required. One scholarship is available with a varied award amount. 

Deadline: June 1, 2023.

Veterans of Hawaii Scholarship

The scholarship supports veterans and children of veterans in Hawaii pursuing higher education. 

Amount: $3,000. 

Deadline: July 29, 2023.

Chris Jackson Computer Science Education Scholarship

The Chris Jackson Memorial Fund supports students pursuing a computer science degree to make a positive impact on the world. Open to all students.

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: Oct 01, 2023

Larry Leon Irons Culinary Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship, generously funded by Meagan Irons, aims to support high school or undergraduate students pursuing a career in the culinary arts. Eligible candidates should be first-generation college students with a passion for culinary and volunteer experience.

Amount: $500

Deadline: Oct 26, 2023

Bright Lights Scholarship

Funded by Bria Alexander, this scholarship aims to support high school or undergraduate students who have overcome obstacles in their pursuit of a college education. Eligible candidates include underrepresented minorities and/or first-generation college students.

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: Sep 15, 2023

American Dream Scholarship

Supported by Charleen Cabay, this scholarship is dedicated to assisting non-citizen students, particularly undocumented students, in accessing the resources they need to excel in college. Eligibility for this scholarship is also contingent on having a background in community service or volunteering.

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: Apr 01, 2024

AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: April 13

Eligibility: Open to underrepresented and economically disadvantaged undergraduate students who are pursuing degrees in illustration, photography, and communication design disciplines at colleges and universities in the United States. Minimum 2.0 GPA.

MPOWER Women in STEM Scholarship

Amount: up to $3,000

Deadline: January 15

Eligibility: Must be a STEM student accepted at, or enrolled in, a full-time program at a U.S. or Canadian school that MPOWER supports (includes international students studying in the US and students with DACA status)

Technology Addiction Awareness Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: January 30

Eligibility: Open to students in high school, college, and graduate school. Must be a US citizen/resident to apply.

Red Thread Foundation for Women Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: February 26

Eligibility: Open to women of international backgrounds who will be entering their first year at an American college or university.

Society of Women Engineers Freshman Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 1

Eligibility: Freshman scholarships are open to current college freshmen as well as high school seniors. Some, but not all, scholarships require SWE membership. Applicants complete one application and are considered for all scholarships for which they are eligible.

How can I apply for scholarships for college freshmen?

Scholarship applications can be daunting, but with a grasp of the essentials and some straightforward steps, you can enhance your chances of obtaining financial aid for your education.

  1. Start early: Many scholarships have early deadlines, so it’s crucial to begin the application process as soon as possible. By applying early, you can access a wide range of scholarship opportunities and increase your chances of success.
  1. Read instructions carefully: Each scholarship may have different eligibility requirements. Take the time to carefully review the instructions and ensure you meet all the criteria before applying.
  1. Proofread your application: Thoroughly check your application for typos and grammatical errors. Presenting a polished application shows that you are serious about the process and enhances your chances of being awarded a scholarship.
  1. Apply for eligible scholarships: Take advantage of all the scholarships you qualify for, including those offered by your college or university and private organizations. Look for scholarships tailored to your location, demographics, academic merit, or financial need.
  1. Stand out in your application: If required, craft a compelling essay that showcases your unique strengths or experiences. Use this opportunity to make your application memorable and distinguish yourself from other applicants.

Once you find a scholarship for college freshmen, begin the application process. Some scholarships may require essays or unique stories to stand out. Follow the instructions and spend time on your application if needed.

By following these steps, you can navigate the scholarship application process with confidence and increase your chances of securing financial support for your education.

What GPA is required for a college freshman scholarship?

Scholarship eligibility and GPA requirements differ among various scholarships. Typically, a minimum GPA of 3.0 is expected, but it’s important to note that this can vary depending on the scholarship. Your GPA carries considerable weight in the evaluation process for scholarship providers. 

Scholarships with higher GPA requirements tend to be more competitive. However, there are also scholarships available that do not prioritize GPA, offering opportunities to students regardless of their academic performance. Before applying, always review the specific requirements of each scholarship you’re interested in to determine if your GPA meets the criteria.

Tips for college freshmen

  • Organize your personal and financial information, including transcripts, for easy access during scholarship applications. Keep them in a convenient place, like a desktop shortcut, as they are required for most applications. College freshmen should provide enrollment proof and the latest transcript from high school or their current college/university.
  • Highlight Your Passion: Colleges and universities offer scholarships based on students’ interests and hobbies. Create a portfolio showcasing your talents, skills, and passions to distinguish yourself from other applicants.
  • Remember the FAFSA: Fill out the FAFSA and/or CSS Profile each year to update your college on your financial need. Changes in your economic situation can impact your need-based aid eligibility. Complete the required forms annually to maintain eligibility for the Pell Grant, federal loans, and institutional aid.
  • Explore local scholarships: These often overlooked resources, offered by community organizations, religious institutions, and neighborhood associations, provide funding for undergraduate degrees. Local scholarships receive fewer applicants, increasing your chances of success. Don’t miss out on these promising opportunities to fund your college education.
  • Engage and Participate: Increasing your involvement in student organizations and activities can significantly enhance your scholarship opportunities. Engage in competitions, join clubs, and volunteer in your community to demonstrate your well-roundedness and dedication to making a difference. By doing so, you’ll not only develop valuable skills but also establish meaningful connections that can potentially lead you to secure the scholarship you aspire for.

At Scholarship Monitor, we are committed to providing you with up-to-date information on scholarship opportunities. Make sure to always check back for more updates and take advantage of the resources we have provided to help you achieve your academic and career goals.

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