11 Amazing Educational Scholarship Opportunities for 13 to 17-year-olds

Image shows someone writing in a notebook.

When you’re young, ambitious, and the world’s your oyster, there can be few things in life more disappointing than the realisation that your parents can’t afford to pay for you to take part in a life-changing educational opportunity.

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If you’ve felt the full impact of this kind of disappointment, all is not lost. There are plenty of organisations out there who, like us, believe that limited financial means should not be a barrier to academic success. With this ideal in mind, there are loads of financial aid opportunities out there especially designed for people aged 13-17 in your situation. As they cover a wide range of possibilities, from purely academic opportunities to financial support that targets students with talents in specific areas like science and music, chances are that one of these scholarships will suit your skills and areas of interest.

1. Eton College scholarships

Image shows Eton College.
Around 20% of Eton’s 1,300 pupils receive some form of financial assistance.

Eton College – undoubtedly one of the most prestigious schools in the world – has a number of scholarships available to help students meet the cost of its hefty fees. In its own words, Eton says that it is “looking for boys of high academic promise or high musical promise or high theatrical promise who will benefit from the opportunities that Eton provides and who will contribute strongly to the life of the school.” Because of this focus on talent, Eton doesn’t want boys to be excluded on the grounds of finance, meaning that generous scholarships are available to the right pupils. A particularly interesting example is the Tsukanov Scholarship. These are funded by a Russian family, and there are two or three available each year covering up to 100% of the students’ course fees and some extra costs. These are designed for students of Russian or former Soviet Union heritage who can demonstrate exceptional academic and musical talent (boys who are musical but lack the required heritage may also be considered, as may non-musical Russians).
Another Eton scholarship scheme is called the Horizon Foundation Scholarship, which funds Sixth Form study for a student from the Middle East (apparently the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Jordan or Syria are the preferred countries). Yet another one is the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Music Scholarship, which covers 100% of the course fees for an exceptionally musically talented Sixth Form student. These scholarships are all in addition to Eton College’s main King’s Scholarships, of which fourteen are awarded each year, reducing fees by 10%. Means-tested bursaries are also available to bring fees down, and Eton says that it has a “large number of boys who are charged a very small fee; about 40 boys are educated free of charge, and in several cases the School pays for extras, including school uniform and in some cases even pocket money.”

2. Harrow School scholarships

Image shows Harrow pupils, complete with straw hats, walking near the school in the snow.
Harrow charges £33,285 per year for board and tuition.

Harrow School, another prestigious old English public school, has a range of scholarships on offer, though most are only worth 5% of the cost of school fees – which equates to around £1,000 per annum. However, they also have a bursary scheme that could cover up to 100% of your school fees, and these are usually awarded to boys who also have a scholarship. Scholarships are available for those with a talent in art or music, as well as general academic promise. There’s also the “Outstanding Talent Scholarship”, which seeks to reward boys who are able to demonstrate exceptional talent in a maximum of three activities that would “make a significant contribution at Harrow, such as ball games, athletics, swimming, drama or design technology.” If you think Harrow might be the right school for you, you’ll also have to be prepared for a lot of singing – the school is famous for it!

3. Westminster School scholarships

Westminster School, another leading public school, also has a generous scholarship and bursary scheme. It awards eight Queen’s Scholarships each year, to students who’ve successfully completed “The Challenge”, a tough entrance exam. Queen’s Scholarships cover half the pupil’s boarding school fees, but if you need help covering the remaining 50%, you can also apply for a bursary. These are available on a means-tested basis, and could cover the rest of your fees. There are also music scholarships for musically talented pupils, which normally cover 25% of your fees, but again, you can get a bursary to cover the rest if you can show that you need it.

4. CREST Awards – British Science Association

Image shows a boy in a lab coat in front of a blackboard full of formulae.
A variety of scholarships are available for students with an interest in science and engineering.

The CREST Award scheme is designed to support those aged between 11 and 19 in undertaking “opportunities to explore real-world projects in an exciting way”, specifically relating to projects involving science, technology, engineering and maths. Apparently, over 30,000 CREST Awards were undertaken last year, and the aim is to recognise personal achievements and build the skills of young students interested in this area (in which there is a notorious lack of high-quality graduates). There are several ways in which you can get involved, including via work experience placements and after-school clubs, and there are four levels of award ranging from Discovery to Gold. You can choose from three different kinds of project: Research, Investigation/Design and Make, or Science Communication. The CREST Awards are a must for budding scientists and a great thing to put on your future CV or university application, whether you win or not.

5. German Scholarships Programme – UK-German Connection

If you’re a British person interested in German, you’ve been studying it for two years with excellent results and you’re aged 16+, you may be interested in trying for a scholarship with the UK-German Connection. Through its German Scholarships Programme, you’ll get to experience life in Germany first-hand, developing your German skills still further and learning about German culture. The programme lasts four weeks and includes a week’s stay in Bonn, a two-week homestay with German families, visits to important German cities and other exciting activities with people your age. Even better, the whole thing is fully funded by the German government, which means that everything is paid for – even travel costs. All you have to pay for is the cost of getting to a UK airport, and any pocket money you might want for buying souvenirs.

6. Gliding Scholarships – Young Air Pilots

Image shows a glider flying in front of the moon.
Gliding is an expensive hobby, but a scholarship can make it affordable.

Fancy learning to fly? It’s an exciting skill that might pave the way to a future career as a pilot, and it teaches all kinds of other useful life skills, such as a sharper judgement and quick decision-making. The Young Air Pilots offer a gliding scholarship to help you get solo in gliders, which are like aeroplanes but with no engines, and long wings to keep them airborne longer and help them harness the power of rising columns of air called thermals. Four scholarships were awarded last year, and each covers the cost of membership of your local gliding club and your first 20 flights. Unlike driving, you can start learning to fly when you’re 13, and these scholarships are available for those aged fourteen or over. You can find more information on the website of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots.

7. WWDC Student Scholarship – Apple

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference is a global gathering of talented web developers and Apple engineers. If you’re a student and interested in web development, you can apply for one of the Student Scholarships providing you’re aged 13 or over. Though applications have closed for this year, it’s worth keeping an eye on the website so that you can apply for next year. To apply, you’ll need to register free of charge as an Apple developer, and then create an engaging app that showcases your skills. If you’re young and have a prodigious talent for this kind of thing, you can’t get a better name than Apple on your CV at this early stage in your career, so it’s sure to set your career in the right direction if you’re one of the lucky ones chosen for a scholarship. There are up to 200 scholarships available, and they entitle you to a free ticket – which normally costs $1,599.

8. Doodle 4 Google

The Doodle 4 Google challenge is open to anyone still at school, and the idea is that you send in your artwork to be featured in a Google Doodle. In case you didn’t know, that’s the animated (or otherwise jazzed up) Google logo you see when you use this search engine – it’s often commemorating a particular occasion, such as the birthday of someone important or a major sporting event. This year’s theme was “If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place…” and the winner received a $30,000 college scholarship, along with a $50,000 Google in Education technology grant for her school and a further $40,000 donation in her name to a charity that provides clean water to schools in Bangladesh. The competition may be over for this year, but the website says to check back next year for more Doodle 4 Google, so if this is of interest, bookmark it now and try your luck in the next competition.

9. Google Science Fair

Google deserves a second entry on this list for an opportunity for those aged between 13 and 18 to win some great prizes – including huge scholarship funding amounts – through their ingenuity. The Google Science Fair is an online science competition that anyone of the appropriate age from around the world can enter. The ‘Grand Prize’ includes $50,000 in scholarship funding in addition to a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic, and a behind-the-scenes experience at Virgin Galactic Spaceport, where they’re spearheading the move to make space travel a tourism opportunity. If you don’t win the jackpot, there are still lots of other amazing prizes up for grabs, including $25,000 of education scholarship funding for the winners of each of the age groups (13-14, 15-16 and 17-18). One lucky entrant will also win the Scientific American Science in Action Award and receive $50,000 in educational scholarship funding; this will be awarded to “a project that makes a practical difference by addressing an environmental, health or resources challenge”, and the money is awarded to help the winner continue this project as well as their wider education.

10. British Science Association’s National Science and Engineering Competition

If you’re interested in entering a science competition, you might also be interested in the British Science Association’s National Science and Engineering Competition, which aims to “recognise the achievements of 11-18 year olds living in the UK and in full-time education”. Covering the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths, it’s not quite a scholarship, but with prizes of up to £2,000, there’s definitely enough to put towards an educational opportunity such as a summer school. The only limit in the kind of science projects you could undertake is your imagination, but there’s a handy Challenge Pack – with a welcome from none other than television physicist Professor Brian Cox – to help you get started.

11. Oxford Royale Summer Schools Scholarships

Image shows ORA students in the beautiful surroundings of Eynsham Hall.
With ORA, you’ll get a boost to your education as well as taking part in a host of great activities and experiences.

Finally, we couldn’t write an article about funding opportunities without a mention of our own generous scholarship scheme! We offer scholarships that cover up to 100% of your course fees for our two-week courses. We’re not going to pretend that it’s not a very competitive process, as we can sadly only accept a fraction of the students who apply, but there’s nothing to lose in applying and potentially everything to gain. To apply, we’ll need to see evidence of financial hardship, details of your recent exam results, and references from teachers, and you’ll need to answer a series of online questions to let us know why you think you should be awarded a scholarship. If that sounds quite a lot of effort, it’s definitely worth it for the friends you’ll make, the international network of contacts you’ll form, the academic progress you’ll make and the fun you’ll have.
So, if you’re worried that you won’t be able to take part in an educational opportunity purely because of money issues, don’t despair. These are just a handful of the scholarships and other funding options out there, all designed to help you to succeed.

Image credits: banner; Eton; Harrow; physics; glider.

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