Welcome to Scholarship Friday. The weekend is finally here, but it’s not time to party quite yet. If you are currently enrolled in college — or planning to be next fall — now is the time to buckle down and get serious… about applying for scholarships.
Given the state of the economy, I’m hard-pressed to imagine that there are too many students who can afford to say no to some free money to school. But that’s just what you’ll be doing if you fail to apply for scholarships.
Not sure where to start? Each Friday, I make your search a little easier by posting three broad-appeal scholarships with upcoming deadlines. This week I have three essay-based scholarships: The No Population Growth Essay Contest, worth up to $2,000; the $1,000 Signet Classics Essay Contest; and the Ayn Rand Fountainhead Essay Contest for high school juniors and seniors, with a $10,000 grand prize.
If you are new to college scholarships, click over to the Financial Aid Finder’s scholarship section, where you can read up on the scholarship application process, the mechanics of writing a great scholarship essay, and the best free scholarship search engines.
1. No Population Growth Essay Contest: $500 – $2,000
No Population Growth (NPG) is a non-profit organization devoted to raising awareness about population issues. NPG annually provides three scholarships to high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors, with the aim of encouraging young people to study population issues and their long-term effect. To win this year’s contest, you must write an essay in the form of a 500-750-word letter to your Representative or Senator, asking him or her to help reverse the problem of over-population in the United States. You must recommend the creation of a U.S. Commission on Over-Population and provide concrete examples of ways to reduce population growth at home. Your letter may be forwarded to its recipient at the end of the contest. A panel of judges will select three winning letters on the basis of writing quality, originality and critical thinking. 1st prize is $2,000, 2nd prize is $1,000 and 3rd prize is $500. All awards will be paid directly to the winners’ college bursar’s office. All entries must be received by mid-April. Winners will be announced by mid-July on the NPG website.
2. Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest: $1,000
If you are a fan of classic literature, then the annual Signet Classics Scholarship Contest is perfect for you! This year, the Essay Contest will award five high school juniors or seniors $1,000 each for their winning essay on Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, Jane Eyre. See the Signet website for the four essay topics. Essays should be two to three double-spaced typed pages and must be submitted by your English teacher on your behalf. If you are home-schooled, your parent may submit your essay. Essays will be judged by a panel of literary experts on the basis of style, content, grammar and originality. All applications must be post-marked and received by the posted deadline. For details call, (212) 366-2372.
3. The Ayn Rand Fountainhead Essay Contest for 11th and 12th Graders: $50 – $10,000
The annual Ayn Rand scholarship contest, open to high school juniors and seniors worldwide, is looking for the best essays on her classic book, The Fountainhead. See the website for this year’s choice of three essay topics. Essays must be between 800 and 1,600 words, and will be judged on style and content. Winners must demonstrate an outstanding grasp on the philosophic meaning of the novel. One 1st prize winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship; there will also be five 2nd prizes, worth $2,000 each and ten 3rd place prizes of $1,000. The panel of judges will select 45 finalists ($100) and 175 semifinalists ($50) as well. Essay must be submitted online or postmarked by April 25, no later than 11:59 PM, PST. Winners, finalists, semifinalists will be notified by the end of July.
By the way, if you are a college student who loves Ayn Rand, your chance for a scholarship is coming. The essay competition will be based on Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. The deadline for the Shrugged scholarship will be in mid-September.
Good luck with your scholarship applications!