Start Early: Learn How to Find and Apply for Scholarships for High School Sophomores 

By Austin Osho

What are high school sophomore scholarships?  

High school sophomore scholarships are scholarships specifically designed for students in their second year of high school. This year can be a crucial time for students to start thinking about college and planning for their future education. By applying for scholarships early, students can get a head start on financing their college education and offset the growing costs.

It’s no secret that the cost of a college education has skyrocketed in recent years, leaving many students and families struggling to afford it. Scholarships provide a way for students to bridge the financial gap and pursue their dreams of higher education.

Why are high school sophomore scholarships important?

Scholarships specifically designed for high school sophomores are vital since they can make all the difference in whether or not a student will be able to attend college. By starting to search for scholarships early, students demonstrate their ambition and foresight, setting themselves up for success in their future education.

Furthermore, the earlier students begin to apply for scholarships, the more time they have to accumulate funds to offset the cost of college. By applying for scholarships during their sophomore year, students can potentially build a sizable nest egg to cover the expenses of higher education.

Can high school sophomores even apply for scholarships?

It’s never too early to start thinking about financing your college education. While most people believe that scholarships are only available to high school seniors or college students, there are plenty of options available for sophomores as well. Some scholarships are exclusively open to students in their second year of high school.

By beginning your search for scholarship opportunities early, you can increase your chances of winning more money and reducing your future debt. The sophomore year of high school is a crucial time for preparing for college and financial aid. Although it may seem like the least important year of high school, the reality is that you only have about three years before heading off to college.

Scholarship programs for high school sophomores usually involve essay contests, creative projects, or other forms of academic or extracurricular achievement. These scholarships provide an excellent opportunity to get a head start on earning financial aid. Scholarship committees want to recognize students who have already demonstrated a commitment to their education and have shown potential for future success.

It’s important to note that the scholarship application process can be competitive and time-consuming. Therefore, starting early is crucial. By dedicating some time each week to researching scholarship opportunities and working on your applications, you can greatly increase your chances of receiving a scholarship.

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of nearly twenty scholarship opportunities for high school sophomores. We will also answer some common questions about scholarships and provide tips for applying. Whether you’re a sophomore or just beginning your search for financial aid, our resources will help you navigate the scholarship process and hopefully secure some funding for your college education.

20+ types of scholarships available for high school sophomores.

Too Cool to Pay for a School Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

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

Eligibility: Open to high school students of all ages! No essay or minimum GPA is required to apply. DACA recipients are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Around the Corner from College Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: June 30, December 31

Eligibility: Open to high school students of all ages! This scholarship is also essay-free – all you need to do to apply is submit a checklist of how you can prepare for college.

College Board Big Future Scholarships

Amount: $500 – $40,000

Deadline: Monthly

Eligibility: Open to high school sophomores (class of 2025) who are US residents. Complete steps to plan for life after high school to be entered into monthly scholarship opportunities – no essays required! 

Scholarship Points $2,500 Monthly Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: Monthly

Eligibility: Open to high school students of all ages.

Aspire $1,000 Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: September 30

Eligibility: Open to high school students of all ages.

Do Something Activism-Based Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Varies 

Eligibility: Open to all high school students!

Smart Owl No-Essay Scholarship

Amount: $2,222

Deadline: Last day of each month

Eligibility: Open to high school students of all ages.

CollegeXpress Monthly Scholarship

Amount: Varies ($1,000 – $2,500)

Deadline: Last day of each month

Eligibility: Open to all high school students.

Profile in Courage Essay Contest

Amount: up to $10,000

Deadline: January 13

Eligibility: Open to US high school students of all ages.

DECA Student Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 14

Eligibility: Open to high school students who are members of DECA.

Technology Addiction Awareness Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: January 31

Eligibility: Open to high school, college, and graduate school students of all ages. Must be a US citizen/permanent resident.

Engineer Girl Essay Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: February 1

Eligibility: Open to students in grades 3-12.

Simon Scholars Program

Amount: $16,000

Deadline: February 6

Eligibility: Open to high achieving, first-generation, low-income high school sophomores aspiring to attend a four-year college or university. Must be attending one of the program’s partner high schools in San Diego or Orange County, Florida (See the scholarship page for the full list.)

Create a Greeting Card Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: March 2

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

The Young American Creative Patriotic Art Awards Program

Amount: $15,000

Deadline: March 31

Eligibility: Open to students in grades 9-12. must be a US citizen.

We the Students Essay Contest

Amount: $500 – $7,500

Deadline: April 15

Eligibility: Open to all high school students ages 14-19.

Create Real Impact Scholarship

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: April 28

Eligibility: Open to students ages 14-22. must be a US citizen, permanent resident, or DACA recipient and be currently enrolled in high school or college.

Savor Summer College Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 1

Eligibility: Open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. You must have at least a 3.0 GPA to apply.

NSHSS John W. Lewis Global Leader Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: August 31

Eligibility: Open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a minimum 3.5 GPA.

Alex Austin’s Overcoming Adversity Scholarship

Amount: $500 – $1,000

Deadline: September 1

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

National High School Poetry Contest

Amount: $500

Deadline: Rolling 

Eligibility: Open to all US high school students.

Environmental Awareness Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: September 1, February 1.

Eligibility: Open to all high school students.

How to qualify for high school sophomore scholarships

Sophomores in high school have many opportunities to win college scholarships. By taking steps to increase their chances, they can set themselves up for success. In this regard, we have already highlighted a few tips that sophomores can follow to enhance their chances of qualifying for scholarship awards: 

  1. Apply for scholarships for your specific location: Scholarships aimed at high school students are often region-specific, meaning they may be limited to applicants from certain states or counties. While there are scholarships available for international students as well, it’s important to ensure that you’re applying for scholarships in your region based on your permanent residence or high school location. Be sure to check the eligibility requirements before applying.
  1. Apply for scholarships at your level: Scholarship opportunities for high school sophomores are plentiful, but they can be hard to find. Often, sophomores are under the impression that scholarships are only available to high school seniors. It is important to note that there are scholarships available to high school students of all grade levels.

When searching for scholarships, make sure to look for those that are open to high school students in general, regardless of age group. By not realizing that these scholarships include them, high school sophomores can miss out on valuable opportunities to apply for financial aid early.

  1. Apply for scholarships that fit your unique interests and talents: Look for scholarships that fit your identity after meeting the eligibility requirements. For instance, scholarships might be looking for writers, artists, musicians, students from single-parent households, minority students, and more. Applying for scholarships that align with your identity could increase your chances of winning and connecting with reviewers.

Tips for high school sophomores applying for scholarships:

  1. Make your scholarship application stand out: When applying for scholarships, take the opportunity to share your unique story with the donors who fund them. These donors are interested in learning about your life experiences and interests to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for their award. Use the essay prompt provided to showcase your beliefs and thoughts and stand out from other applicants.
  1. Get organized: Create a scholarship schedule.
  1. Work hard and pay attention in school: Scholarship committees, like college admissions boards, consider your academic achievements. Strive to perform well in your classes, ace your exams, and maintain a high GPA. By doing so, you increase your chances of securing high school sophomore scholarships.
  1. Be active on campus and in your community: Explore and engage in extracurricular activities that pique your interest, such as sports, drama, or art. In addition to school-related activities, consider participating in community service to broaden your experiences and skills.
  1. To avoid errors in your scholarship application, be sure to thoroughly read and understand all of the eligibility requirements and follow the given instructions precisely. This will increase the likelihood of a successful submission.
  1. Consider rejection as a stepping stone to success. Don’t let a rejection discourage you from applying to other scholarships. Instead, take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and improve your application for future opportunities. It’s also important to ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements before applying to increase your chances of success.
  1. Apply Early: Ensure that you submit all required documents and apply well in advance of the deadline. Applying for scholarships as soon as possible can help you avoid last-minute stress and technical difficulties. By submitting your application early, you’ll have more time to check for errors and ensure that everything is complete.
  1. Stay prompt! Your scholarship response is crucial to your application. It’s an opportunity to showcase your personality and explain why you’re the right fit for the award. Ensure your response aligns with the application requirements.
  1. Take on a part-time job in the same field that you’ll be pursuing: While this can help you save for your college education, it can also lead to a scholarship from your employer.


In conclusion, high school sophomores should not overlook the numerous scholarship opportunities available to them. While scholarships may be commonly associated with juniors and seniors, there are plenty of options for sophomores as well. Starting early and taking time to research and apply for scholarships can greatly increase your chances of success. So don’t wait; begin your scholarship journey now and pave the way for a brighter academic future.

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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