Students: Pay Attention to These Non-Fixed Scholarships

There's a certain type of scholarship all students should focus on: non-fixed scholarships. Read on to find out what they are and specific awards to apply for.

As a scholarship expert and consultant, I’m constantly searching for and studying different scholarship opportunities for students. As every award offered is an opportunity for the recipient to reduce their educational expenses, finding them and sharing them is always exciting for me. I see scholarships as a vehicle to positively transform the future for a person seeking to advance their education. And there’s one scholarship category that every serious seeker should be on the lookout for—a category that can be planned for and can multiply the number of applications a seeker expedites. This category of scholarships is called “non-fixed.”

What are non-fixed scholarships?

Non-fixed scholarships are award opportunities that most (if not all) scholarship seekers can apply for if they plan ahead to qualify. Eligibility is not fixed with a specific gender, ethnicity, demonstrated financial need, academic pursuit, or athletic participation for these opportunities. Rather, non-fixed scholarships offered by companies, organizations, and foundations traditionally require an applicant to create or expedite a project or write about a concept or idea. Non-fixed scholarships are exciting opportunities because most students can apply for them. The key strategies for non-fixed scholarships include:

  • Identifying non-fixed scholarships with deadlines three to six months out in order to make a plan of action to expedite the required project or essay.
  • Looking at past projects or essays from former award recipients to learn more about what the committee is looking for.
  • Connecting with scholarship seekers who are a couple years ahead of you in the educational journey. Their knowledge of non-fixed scholarships they applied for can assist you in your search process.
  • Marking the opportunity in your scholarship calendar to repeat your application every year it’s offered. Most non-fixed scholarships are offered for various educational levels. If you don’t have time to apply for it now, you can plan to apply for it in the future.

Related: Why the Scholarship Search Matters, Plus Quick Tips and Tricks

Non-fixed scholarship opportunities

The following are examples of non-fixed scholarship opportunities that you can (and should!) take advantage of to help pay for your college education.

AFA’s Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship

Sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association of America, the Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship is open to high school seniors who are willing to write a 1,200–1,500-word essay describing the impact that Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia-related illnesses have had on their families or communities. The first-place award is for $5,000, with additional awards for runners up. The deadline is February 15. 

All American Car Review Essay Scholarship

The All American Car Review Essay Scholarship is open to students age 18 and older who’ve been admitted or are enrolled in a college, university, or postgraduate course. The scholarship requires applicants to write an essay reviewing a car—but be aware, recipients will need to file taxes on the award. This scholarship is for $1,000, and the deadline is March 31. 

Related: How to Turn Your Hobbies Into Scholarships With Ease

ASHG DNA Day Essay Contest

Sponsored by the American Society of Human Genetics, the DNA Day Essay Contest is open to students in grades 9–12. Applicants must write an essay about genetics. This may be a great opportunity to use ready-to-go materials—essays, papers, or other work you’ve already completed for school. Awards go up to $1,000, and the deadline for applying is March 3. 

AWM Student Essay Contest

The Association for Women in Mathematics and Math for America’s Student Essay Scholarship is open to middle school, high school, and undergraduate college students. If won, awards don’t have to be used for educational expenses. Applicants are required to interview a woman currently working in or retired from a mathematical career. Award amounts vary, and the deadline is February 1. 

Mattress Advisor’s Sleep Science Scholarship

Mattress Advisor’s Sleep Science Scholarship is open to currently enrolled or admitted full-time college students. International and undocumented students are also welcome to apply. Applicants are asked to write about their personal relationship with sleep health and its impact on their education. The award is for $1,000, and the deadline is March 20.

Related: Scholarship FAQ: The Biggest Myths and Facts

RBPA Scholarship

The Rainbow Business Professionals Association Scholarship is open to high school seniors as well as undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students from New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont). This scholarship’s goal is to promote equality and inclusion and requires students to write about a project they’ve participated in to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community or prevent bullying. Multiple awards are offered, but the amounts aren’t disclosed. The deadline is March 19.

Science Without Borders® Challenge

The Science Without Borders® Challenge scholarship is open to students ages 11–19. This opportunity inspires students to promote public awareness in the need to preserve, protect, and restore the world’s oceans and aquatic resources through art. This is an international competition open to students worldwide. Awards go up to $500 with a deadline of March 1.

Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarships

The Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship is open to high school seniors who have promoted vegetarianism in their schools and/or communities. This scholarship publicly posts how many applications were received in previous years, so use that information to conduct and expedite your application. Awards of up to $10,000 are offered with a deadline of February 20.  

Related: The 3 Easiest Steps to Winning Scholarships

Scholarship seekers are never limited by their academic pursuits, GPA, clubs, sports, community service efforts, or demonstrated leadership. Private companies and organizations have created many different awards that are attainable to any scholarship seeker who simply puts in a little effort to meet the requirements. Almost any individual has the opportunity to pursue these non-fixed scholarships, so make a plan to apply for them every year! 

Find more great non-fixed scholarship opportunities using our Scholarship Search tool.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


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.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Keaun Brown

Keaun Brown

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2020

As I transition to furthering my education, I can say with certainty that it simply wouldn’t be possible without the help of generous organizations such as CollegeXpress. Those who initially founded CX had no idea their platform would give a plethora of information to a first-generation homeless kid native to the ghettos of over half a dozen states. Everyone at CX and Carnegie Dartlet gave me a chance at a future when the statistics said I had none. And for that, I thank them.

Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson

High School Student

CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.

Cameron Lee

Cameron Lee

High School Class of 2022

I used CollegeXpress to search for colleges. It helped me narrow down the schools on the West Coast and which schools had Construction Engineering programs. I made my decision to go to OSU and I am so excited about it.

Tinuola Dada

Tinuola Dada

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2015

I am very excited to be this year's recipient of the Multicultural Student Community Service Scholarship. This scholarship will bring me ever closer to my academic and professional goals. CollegeXpress has been an exceptional resource to me, and I recommend it to all rising seniors as they begin to navigate the college application process.

Rhiannon Teeter

Rhiannon Teeter

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2012

I have spent a lot of time aggressively searching for scholarships. It was a long and frustrating process until I found the CollegeXpress network. This site made my search so much easier. With the simple check of a few boxes, the site sorted out scholarships I was eligible for and led me directly to the correct websites. Winning this scholarship has definitely given me and my family some financial relief, and CollegeXpress has allowed me to improve my chances of winning further financial aid. Thank you so much!

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Belmont University

Nashville, TN