Kids of all ages do so many great things for our world—from donating lemonade stand proceeds to their favorite causes to making their communities greener places to live—that the United Nations decided to dedicate an entire day to celebrating, promoting, and encouraging the positive impact that youth have in the world. August 12 marks this year's International Youth Day, and the theme, "Building a Better World: Partnering With Youth," is a call to action and a reminder of what kids can do for the world today.
In honor of International Youth Day, we've dug up a few fun and creative scholarship opportunities that are exclusively for kids. You don't have to be a senior in high school to apply for these scholarships; in fact, scholarship opportunities start for kids as young as kindergarten. Whether your niche is art, science, community service, or writing, channel your creativity and it may just turn into money for college!
[Learn more about how to pay for college.]
If you have a flare for the arts, check out the Doodle 4 Google scholarship, open to kids in grades K through 12. All you have to do is draw your own Google logo, and the winner receives a $15,000 college scholarship, a trip to the New York Google office, a laptop computer, and a digital tablet.
Few kids would scoff at the chance to eat a peanut butter sandwich. Did you know that you can earn scholarship money just for making a creative sandwich? Enter the Jif® Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest™ for a chance to earn up to $25,000 for your scholarship fund. This contest is open to ages 6 to 12, and you have until November to enter.
As a recipient of a community service scholarship myself, I have a special enthusiasm for community service and leadership awards. There's no better way to earn money for college than by giving back to the community that helped make you who you are today. The Prudential Spirit of Community Award recognizes students in grades 5 through 12 who engage in volunteer activities and have demonstrated exceptional community service. National winners receive a $5,000 award. The deadline for this award is in October.
Lots of kids get a kick out of solving interesting problems with science and math. If this sounds like you, check out the Christopher Columbus Community Service Award, which honors students who use science and technology to solve real-world issues. This award is open to students in grades 6 through 8 and winners receive up to a $2,000 savings bond. You have until February 2013 to apply.
[See more scholarships that award STEM majors.]
If reading and writing are your strong suits, enter the ArtLit Competition. This competition is open to all teenagers and requires writing an essay on one of a few specific novels. Winners receive up to a $1,500 scholarship.
Finally, declare your love of our great nation by entering the Patriot's Pen Award, an essay contest for middle schoolers sponsored by the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars). The student who composes the best essay with a patriotic theme receives a $10,000 savings bond; the top 28 patriotic essays also receive a savings bond ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. The deadline for this contest is November 1.
So no matter your age or your interests, you can receive money for college. It's never too early to start applying and looking into creative outlets that can result in money for education. From design to drawing to sandwich engineering, there is most likely a scholarship out there for everyone. Happy International Youth Day!
Emily Payzant interned at Scholarship America in 2012. She attends Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and is majoring in economics and marketing.