Scholarships for High School Sophomore Students

Have you ever heard the phrase “sophomore slump?” Typically used in athletics, a player explodes upon the scene in their rookie season, only to regress in their second year. Examples of those that fought through tough times include Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Yasiel Puig, Miami Dolphins defensive superstar Ndamukong Suh, as well as Brooklyn Nets phenom Jeremy Lin. The concept is not unique to sports; fear of a “sophomore slump” permeates other areas of life, from recording artists to politicians to students.

While most students consider junior year as the most important year of high school, the importance of sophomore year cannot be understated. When a student first arrives in high school, there are usually some jitters involved. Some students are able to overcome our initial nerves to have a solid freshman year, followed by a regression to the mean in their sophomore year. One way to ensure a great sophomore year is to start looking towards the future, towards college. As scary as it may seem, having an idea of where your life will soon be heading can provide a great amount of comfort to some high schoolers. Here are a few ways to be active in the college process early in high school, including scholarships for high school sophomores:

An empty high school classroom with white desks and blue chairs.

Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship

Deadline: September 30, 2020

Amount: $1,000

In 2014, over 3,000 people died in accidents involving distracted drivers. Over 400,000 others received injuries in similar collisions. This number spikes between the years of 15 and 19; where over 10% of all vehicular deaths involved a texting driver. The purpose of these statistics is not to scare, but to educate, and ensure that the plague of distracted driving is eliminated. In order to help forward this goal, a group of Silicon Valley tech workers began Digital Responsibility, an organization that strives to teach young people how to use technology responsibly.

The organization’s flagship program is the aptly named Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship, open to high schoolers of all ages, but most of the applications come from sophomores, students who are on the cusp of learning to drive. Students must complete a short application, including, appropriately, a 140-character statement on why they refuse to text and drive. From these short statements, 10 finalists must expand on their experiences in a 1,000-word essay. The winner of this contest receives $1,000 to go towards their future college education.

College JumpStart Scholarship

Deadline: April 15, 2020

Amount: $1,000

Every year, College JumpStart hosts its own scholarship, which awards $1,000 to students getting a head start on their college journey. Not only is the scholarship open to sophomores, high school juniors, seniors, and undergraduates are also welcome to apply. The scholarship has two due dates, one for the fall and one for the spring. Along with a completed application, students must also write a 250-word personal statement answering one of four available questions.

National High School Poetry Contest

Deadline: Varying

Amount: $500

In the same vein as the Writer’s Square scholarship, but zeroing in on a different audience, the National High School Poetry Contest aims to recruit young poets from all over the nation to compete for a prize in their area of expertise. Poetry is commonly studied from a young age, starting with the nursery rhymes of Mother Goose through the picture books of Shel Silverstein all the way up to more “serious” poets, such as Langston Hughes and T.S. Eliot. Poetry fans gain experience through reading these classic artists and sketching their own works inspired by their learning.

Past winners of the National High School Poetry Contest have gone on to be published in literary journals, with some also completing their own collection of works. To apply, budding high school poets must submit ONE of their best pieces, twenty lines or less, that they feel exemplifies their ability to the Live Poets’ Society of New Jersey for judgement. The judges weigh each piece for various criteria and, eventually, decide on their favorite, the author of which receives a $500 prize.

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