Types of scholarships you can apply for in 2021

Students beginning the university application process have definitely heard about merit-based scholarships for academic achievement. However, scholarships are not restricted to academics.

By U2B Staff 

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Post-secondary education is known to be expensive across the globe. For gifted students without financial resources, accessing higher education can seem impossible. In the US alone, the outstanding amount of student loan debt came up to US$1.57 trillion country-wide in 2020, with the average amount per borrower being US$37,584, according to Investopedia. Fortunately for those who cannot afford to rack up debt, there are several types of scholarships available.

The Cambridge dictionary defines a scholarship as “an amount of money given by a school, college, university or other organisation to pay for the studies of a person with great ability by little money”.

While scholarships provide much needed financial aid, they are also known to come with a certain degree of prestige. Apart from catering to those in need, it is a common misconception that scholarships are made widely available only to those with the highest GPS’s or the most impressive academic achievements. 


The truth is that there are many types of scholarships to choose from, so it is important to think of your own demographics before beginning your search.

In doing so, students will be lifted from their financial concerns, giving them more time to study, gain knowledge, and secure better grades. Since scholarships are prestigious, receiving one will leave a good impact on your future employers. Which would suit your goals and which are you eligible for? To help you find out, here are some of the different types of scholarships available:

Academic scholarships

One of several high profile merit scholarships, these are awarded to students who have demonstrated an outstanding history of academic achievement. What’s taken into account are exceptional GPAs, extracurricular activities, and whether or not candidates have a history of public service. 

Academic scholarships typically have substantial financial payouts and confer a certain level of prestige on the recipient. They will also be beneficial after college or university as a way of making a solid resume even more appealing to employers. 

Athletic scholarships

Athletic scholarships are just as well known and popular as their academic counterparts. These scholarships award students for their accomplishments in sports. Whether it be baseball, swimming or tennis, scholarships award a huge amount of money every year and if you look hard enough, you should be able to find a scholarship for just about every single sport.

In the case of athletic scholarships, students will need to be nominated by their coach or another school official. 

Scholarships by major

Several universities, colleges, and even private organisations offer awards to students who choose to major in a particular subject area. There are different types of scholarships offered for majors in subjects as diverse as business and marketing, culinary arts, engineering, theater, criminal justice, computer science, design and more. 

Scholarships for ethnic minorities

For those of Hispanic, Asian, or African-American descent, several colleges and universities currently award various types of scholarships to ethnic minorities in order to promote diversity on their campus. Similar to other scholarship types, different colleges have different eligibility requirements.

Some schools encourage all minority students to apply, while others limit their opportunities to students from specific minority groups. In some colleges, students are eligible purely based on their ethnicity, while in others, students may have to meet additional eligibility requirements such as talent, merit, or financial needs.

Scholarships for women

In order to advance the opportunities for female students around the world, many scholarships have been made specifically for women. These scholarships are usually sponsored by corporations and associations who would like to see more women leaders in previously male-dominated fields. 


Community service scholarships

Most educational institutions appreciate students who are committed to giving back to their communities and one way they show their appreciation is by awarding scholarships specifically for community service. 

Are you an active member of your community and are known for going above and beyond? All the help you’ve extended towards others may pay off big time in the form of free education.

Creative scholarships

For creatives, there are several scholarships that make it easy for students to pursue their creative interests, whether it be music, dance, visual arts, or graphic design. These scholarships require individuals to either audition or submit a portfolio showcasing a candidates best work in order to qualify for the award. 

First-generation scholarships

Are you the first person in your family to go to college? Many colleges understand that more often than not, it is the lack of finances that prevented previous generations from even considering higher education. 

To encourage more students to break the mold and get a high-quality education, several institutions offer generous first-generation scholarships that help individuals achieve their goals.