Amazing Scholarship Opportunities for Change Makers

There are scholarships for everything out there, including making a difference! Here are some change-maker scholarship opportunities to consider applying for.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi 

Are you missing out on scholarship opportunities? Most likely. Many scholarship seekers miss out on a ton of potential money because they limit their search to things like GPA, academic major, sports, and financial need. Of course there are scholarships for those things, but there’s so much more potential money beyond these primary categories, including one students don’t often think about but are actively setting themselves up for success in without even knowing it.

Change-making scholarships

One category of scholarships that’s often overlooked are opportunities related to students’ interest in making change. What do you care about? What have you been taking action on in your community? What change do you want to be a part of?

Remember that not every scholarship you pursue has to relate to what you want to do professionally in the future. Companies and organizations create scholarships that align with their corporate and organizational missions. These may be to encourage people to have an appreciation or a curiosity to learn more about a topic or field. An appreciation or passion doesn’t necessarily require an applicant to be interested in that career field.

Related: List: Making a Difference Colleges 

Are you passionate about helping the environment?

If so, check out the Apprentice Ecologist Scholarship. This opportunity is in association with the Nicodemus Wilderness Project. It’s open to students ages 13–21 who are enrolled in middle school or high school or are an undergraduate student in college. This scholarship honors leadership and environmental stewardship with awards up to $1,000. The deadline is December 31.  

Are you interested in social change?

If so, check out the Art of Protest Grant for Black Students. This scholarship is for Black students at any education level who are furthering protest or social change through any form of visual art. The winning student must be attending a school or educational institution in the US. The deadline for this scholarship is September 15 with an award of $900.

Do you care about the welfare of animals?

If so, check out A Voice for Animals Scholarship. This contest is open to middle and high school students who are 14–18 years old. The focus of this scholarship is to address the history of animal welfare. It has a deadline of May 31, and there are multiple awards worth up to $500. 

Related: How to Showcase Volunteer Work to Boost Your Résumé 

Do you want to create a community of safe young drivers?

If so, check out the Create Real Impact Contest. This scholarship is open to middle school, high school, trade school, college, or university students ages 14–22 who are US citizens or are DACA eligible. The contest requires students to offer a solution to distracted driving through creative writing, video, graphic design, or music. The award is worth $1,500, and the deadline is November 12.

Are you working on a service project for your community?

If so, check out the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. This scholarship is open to US and Canadian students ages 8–18 who are currently working on an inspiring service project or have done so within the past 12 months. The award is worth $10,000, and the deadline to apply is April 15.

Expanding your scholarship search

Expand your scholarship search beyond “community service” and search for awards related to the difference you want to make in the world. Simply use search engines and use keywords like:

  • Environmental advocacy scholarship
  • Social change scholarship
  • Anti-bullying scholarship

There are so many change-related scholarships out there. If you haven’t done anything yet to warrant winning one, you can look to get involved with a community service project that aligns with a scholarship you’ve identified to apply for in the future.

Related: How to Expand Your Reach and Find Scholarships in Hidden Places

There’s nothing better than helping people and knowing you’re making a difference. An added bonus is using those efforts to make a difference in your own life as well. So expand your search and take action on issues you’re passionate about. It’s an incredible foundation to launch your scholarship pursuits from.

Did you enjoy this blog? If so, you can check out more advice from author Jean O’Toole here!

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About Jean O'Toole

Jean O’Toole is an educational consultant and author of the bestselling book Scholarship Strategies: Finding and Winning the Money You Need. Over the past 15 years, she has helped tens of thousands of students in the United States. Individuals collectively have been awarded millions of dollars by applying Jean’s scholarship strategies. In 2008, Jean co-founded Connections101, a company specializing in providing motivational tools for scholarship searching. It is her goal to empower students to design their paths to their future without college debt. Visit for more information, and follow Jean on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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