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Guide to Scholarships: 3 Outside Undergraduate Scholarships That DON'T Require Financial Need

There are some fantastic scholarships out there. Some can even spell the difference between whether a student even gets to go college, or whether she spends the rest of her life wondering what could have been. While many undergraduate scholarships are awarded through a particular college, and others are only for students from low-income backgrounds, these kinds of grants tend to only apply to small sects of the population. Today, we're delving into 5 undergraduate scholarships that ANYONE, regardless of background or chosen institution, can apply to.

1. Davidson Fellows Scholarship

Normal Deadline: February

Routinely listed on round-ups of the biggest scholarships in the US and the world, the Davidson Fellows Scholarship awards $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000 scholarship packages to students (18 years of age and younger, with no minimum age for eligibility) who have completed a project that merits recognition at the college graduate level. Project categories range from STEM, to the Humanities (including Literature, Music, and Philosophy), to a unique Outside the Box category, reserved for students who have put together a piece of work that can't be confined by any of the other suggested classifications.

You might be eligible if you...

• Will be 18 or younger as of October 1st before the year you apply

• Have created what Davidson deems significant work, which they define as "an accomplishment that experts in the field recognize as meaningful and has the potential to make a positive contribution to society."

• Have worked with a mentor who can vouch for your contributions.

Pro tip: Start work on this one early. The Davidson Fellows Scholarship is looking exclusively for outstanding accomplishments, be it a marvel of engineering or a stunning display of literary analysis. Getting in touch with experts in the field and working closely with them for at least a year prior to the application deadline is a must.

2. Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship

Normal Deadline: November

While the Elks National Foundation may be best known for its philanthropic nationwide Lodges, they also offer up to $50,000 to high school seniors on the basis of community involvement and leadership, along with a record of academic achievement. Out of 500 Finalists, 480 of whom receive $4,000 Semifinalist awards, one boy and one girl each are awarded First, Second, and Third Prizes of $50,000, $40,000, and $30,000 respectively. After a multi-round application process, top winners are chosen following a weekend of interviews and community service held for the top 20 Finalists in Chicago.

You might be eligible if you...

• Are a high school senior at the time of application

• Are a US citizen

• Have results from the ACT or SAT.

Pro tip: They'll tell you that you need to enroll in an institution of higher education the fall after you graduate from high school, but as a scholarship recipient myself who ended up taking a gap year, they're pretty lax on that requirement. You can learn more about applying for Elks below:

3. The Regeneron Science Talent Search

Normal deadline: November

If you're a budding scientist, this is the scholarship for you, with a First Place award of $250,000 for one lucky student. However, 300 students are named Scholars and are guaranteed at least $2,000, with an additional prize of the same amount going to their high school. From those 300, forty are awarded at least $25,000, with the top ten receiving steadily increasing amounts for their scientific research. Natalia Orlovsky, Guest Speaker at our My Ivy Education Summer Invention Camp 2018, won $175,000 in this competition for her research into the negative effects of e-cigarettes, and other recent winners submitted research in all areas of STEM, from biology to pure mathematics.

You might be eligible if you...

• Are a high school senior at the time of application

• Are a US citizen

• Have completed a science or math research project and 20-page write-up.

Pro tip: By the time you're in senior year, if you're applying to science fairs and competitions for the first time, you're already at a disadvantage. National talent searches take into account which contests applicants have won in the past, so building up a CV of credentials in your chosen field is essential to be taken seriously at the highest levels. Not sure where to start? Check out our academic consulting services in order to get the head start you deserve!

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