2017 Ranking: Finding the Best College Scholarships and Grants

Are you heading to college and find yourself panicking as you try to determine how you will pay for it? Well, thankfully there are college scholarships and grants that can help offset the costs.

From scholarships for college freshmen and scholarships for college sophomores to scholarships for current college students that fall above that grade, you can find funding sources outside of accruing debt.

Scholarships for college students are not a new thing, nor are they complex in purpose; they are simply financial aid that you get without having to pay it back.

These scholarships for college students could come from anywhere, such as private organizations like colleges or local clubs, or even from the state government.

College scholarships and grants usually come based on your academic or athletic talent and often focus on a specific area of interest.

It is also no news that getting funds for college is not always that easy. Some people turn to federal or state loans, but this is not always the best of idea as you don’t want to be graduating with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Scholarships for college are of course one of the best sources of funds that any student can get.

Best Scholarships For College Students

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Scholarships for College Students

The thing is that everyone wants easy college scholarships, but no one wants to endure the long application procedures or boring essay writings associated with most college scholarships and grants.

Still, the fact remains that college scholarships and grants have paid for a significant number of students’ educations.

That is why it is worth taking some time to research scholarships for current college students or scholarships for college freshmen.

Every scholarship is special in its own way, but the AdvisoryHQ free college scholarships list can help guide your scholarship search by listing organizations that offer financial support for college students every year. Some of these scholarships are really beneficial, so you should read on to see the best college scholarship for yourself.

When you are looking into scholarships and grants for college, you likely have questions, including:

  • Are the scholarships for current college students?
  • Can you find free scholarships for college?
  • What are the best college scholarships out there?
  • Is the scholarship renewable?

Throughout this 2017 ranking, we will answer the questions you have surrounding scholarships for college. We will explain what to look for in scholarships for college students and how to boost your chances of landing some college student scholarships. Finally, we will provide a detailed review of the six best scholarships and grants for college.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Free College Scholarships

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the free college scholarships below to go directly to the detailed review section for that free college scholarship):

Top 6 Best Free College Scholarships | Brief Comparison & Ranking   

College Student Scholarships

Award Amount


Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest$20,000March 29, 2017
Davidson Fellows Scholarship


$50,000, $25,000 and $10,000February 8, 2017
Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program$20,000December 30, 2017
Regeneron Science Talent Search$250,000November 15, 2017
Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology $1,000 to $100,000Not yet announced
Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship$37,500Not yet announced

Table: Top 6 Best Free College Scholarships | Above list is sorted alphabetically

Detailed Overview: How to Make the Most of Scholarships for College

Making the most of college scholarships and grants is crucial, and it’s what you need to do to win any of the above college student scholarships. This entails a lot of work, such as early preparation, talking to your counselor, setting appointments with colleges and universities, and doing lots of research online.

There are so many different options for college scholarships and grants that the whole process can seem very confusing and overwhelming.

Thankfully, there are a few tips to consider when looking for college student scholarships that can put you in a better position to fund college through college student scholarships.

When you are looking at making the most with scholarships for college, it is important to consider the following tips:

  • Look for as many opportunities as possible
  • Meet deadlines
  • Boost your resume

Looking for many opportunities is self-explanatory. Applying to many different scholarships for college students will always increase your chances of earning more money for college.

However, be careful not to become too saturated with a bunch of applications so that you find yourself incapable of adequately finishing any of your scholarships and grants for college.

College Scholarships And Grants

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Preparation is done in many forms, but the most essential is your resume. It is important to work on improving your resume and highlighting your strengths if you want to beat the competition for these free college scholarships.

Last but not the least when it comes to college scholarships and grants? Deadlines. These scholarships and grants have students across the country and world applying for them, and missing a deadline is tantamount to elimination.

All of the tips provided above are meant to give you the extra edge when trying to pay for college with scholarships for college. By improving your resume and meeting strict deadlines, you will be in a good position to see results from your hard work.

It is important to note that there is a lot of competition for these free college scholarships, but if you put in the work, you just might find your college education paid for!

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Scholarships for College Students

Below, please find the detailed review of each college student scholarship on our list of best scholarships for college students. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these college student scholarships to score so highly in our selection ranking.

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest Review

By entering the Ayn Rand Institute essay contest, you can win thousands of dollars in cash prizes. This unique contest is a stark contrast to some of the other college scholarship application processes, and it allows you to express a more creative side.

The Annual Essay Contest on Ayn Rand’s original novel, Atlas Shrugged, is a huge source of scholarships for college sophomores. Each student writes and submits an original essay of 800 to 1,600 words on Atlas Shrugged.

The great thing about this contest is that essays are judged on how well the applicant can argue his or her view. It is not based on whether ARI agrees with the view that the student.

ARI has held worldwide essay contests for students on Ayn Rand’s fiction for thirty years. In 2017, they plan to award over 500 prizes totaling more than $90,000 as part of their free college scholarships campaign.

Bottom Line

What is great about this program is the very loose eligibility criteria. There are no interviews, resume preparation, or anything of that sort. You just submit your essay for participation, which is definitely a plus for this free college scholarship.

Davidson Fellows Scholarship Review

More than $6.7 million has been awarded to over 280 talented young people through the Davidson Fellows Scholarship. This scholarship awards $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000 scholarships to young people under the age of 18 who have compiled an exemplary body of work in certain fields.

Application categories are Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Outside the Box. As a bonus, Davidson Fellows are honored every year in Washington, D.C. and receive both Congressional meetings and a special reception.

When it comes to one of the best scholarships for college students, the Davidson Fellowship was ranked one of the best “7 Prestigious Undergrad Scholarships” in U.S. News & World Report.

Bottom Line

Davidson Fellowship is a good scholarship to apply for if you have an interest in one of their application categories. Their policies are easy to follow and applying is quite smooth when compared to other college scholarships and grants.

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 Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program Review

Each year, Foot Locker gives twenty $20,000 scholarships to student athletes who are high school seniors planning to continue their sports career at a four-year university after they graduate.

The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program is one of the college student scholarships designed to promote academic leadership, as well as fair sportsmanship and exemplary moral character in its candidates.

In addition to the Scholar Athletes award, one of the 20 recipients is also given the Ken C. Hicks Scholarship, which is an extra college student scholarship that adds an additional $5,000 to the scholarship amount. The Foot Locker award is separated over the course of four years into equal payments to ensure that you are covered every year.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re the star performer or a spirited team player, this program honors student-athletes who demonstrate both strong academic ability and exemplary leadership in sports, schools, and communities. If you believe you can present a positive impact on those around you, this is one of the scholarships to consider.

With the potential of the Ken C. Hicks Scholarship, this might be one of the top scholarships for college students.

Regeneron Science Talent Search Review

The Regeneron Science Talent Search is a research-based science competition in the United States for high school seniors. It is regarded as one of the biggest college student scholarships and has often been referred to as “the nation’s oldest and most prestigious” science competition.

Those who are in the competition will conduct original research whether at home or with leading research teams at various universities, hospitals, and private laboratories. The process for selecting winners is highly competitive for this scholarship.

You will need to submit a research paper, letters of recommendation, essays, extracurricular activities, test scores, and high school transcripts.

All of the above factors are taken into consideration when selecting finalists and winners, which makes it a hard scholarship to receive. Fortunately, the prizes are amazing for those who win, ranging from $2,000 for each of the 300 semifinalists to $150,000 for the Basic Research medal award.

Additionally, all semifinalists (called scholars) also earn $2,000 for their school, making the Regeneron Science Talent Search uniquely beneficial for both individuals and schools.

All in all, this really is a great scholarship for college students who excel in the necessary fields.

Bottom Line

The Regeneron Science Talent Search is one of the best scholarships for college freshmen and is also quite competitive. Awards are substantial and any talented person should go for this one.

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Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology Review

This exciting Competition encourages you to explore your scientific interests and offers you the opportunity to win free college scholarships in the meanwhile.

Through participation in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, students will conduct various scientific research, experience new discoveries, and find joy in following their passions to develop a project and see it through to completion.

The Siemens Competition is recognized by colleges and universities across the country as the premier math and science research competition. More than $600,000 in college student scholarships are awarded to students annually through the Siemens Competition throughout various regional and national events.

Scholarship award money is sent directly to the college or university that the winner selects, which means that you don’t need to worry about transferring funds. In order to continue receiving the scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time and continue to make academic progress toward their degree.

Bottom Line

This is a huge source of scholarships and grants for college for those who excel in the scientific field. However, you need to already be enrolled in a college or university to get your scholarship award money, landing it on the list of top scholarships for sophomores.

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Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Review

This scholarship program is for those who are interested in foreign affairs. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation administers it.

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program is a fellowship program that provides funding for undergraduate and graduate students while they prepare to enter the U.S. Foreign Service, both academically and professionally.

The program is not like the other college student scholarships in the sense that you not only receive financial support, but also mentoring and professional development throughout college as well.

Bottom Line

Funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, this is a great scholarship opportunity. You will be hard pressed to find many free college scholarships that measure up to the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program.

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Conclusion – Top 6 Best College Scholarships and Grants

Once you have identified relevant scholarships to apply for, the next stage is to ensure each scholarship application you write is well targeted for the opportunity in question.

Time management is especially critical if you’re juggling multiple scholarship applications. Make a calendar of all the deadlines you are facing and give yourself plenty of time to work on each application, ensuring you submit all the required documents. 

Scholarships For College Students

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Having gone through the best college scholarships selection, all that is left is for you to take action now. Every scholarship requires hard work and excellence; after all, that is the very essence that scholarships seek to reward.

It is important to remember that scholarships will not be awarded to you if you do not apply! Do not sit back and relax, letting prosperous scholarship opportunities slip away from you. It is important to apply for the scholarships that you qualify for — and to put equal effort into each application.

Now that you know about these easy college scholarships, go ahead and apply for any that fit your area of study or expertise.

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