10 Scholarships You Can Apply for Right Now

You're in the midst of making the most pivotal choice of your academic career: where to attend college. And while tuition rates skyrocket, pre-collegiettes™ have even more decisions to make, like how to pay for college. Even if your final decision on where to go is in limbo, you can still tackle your next (and equally important!) round of applications: scholarships.

Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FastWeb.com, a top website for finding scholarships, author of Secrets to Winning a Scholarship, and frequent contributor to the New York Times' college admissions advice blog “The Choice”, shared his expertise with Her Campus on what it takes to lower your college costs. "Every dollar you win in scholarships is a dollar less you'll have to borrow," he says. According to Mark, it's crucial high school students apply for any and all scholarships they're eligible for – and it's easier than you think. "Winning scholarships requires a combination of luck and skill," he said. "By applying to more scholarships, a student increases his or her chances of winning one scholarship."

So sit down, take notes, and sign off Facebook for a bit. Here's a list of ten diverse scholarships you can (and should!) apply for right now.

Davidson Fellows Scholarship 
Have you worked on a project recently, specifically in the areas of music, math, technology, science or literature? This scholarship requires an innovative project with the goal of making an impact—one that could be recognized as significant to experts in your project's field. You can apply online by submitting your application, three nominations, and your project abstract. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and 18 years old or younger as of October 4, 2012 to apply.

Deadline: February 1, 2012
Award: Maximum $50,000

RMHC/Scholars Award 
All it takes is being a legal resident of the U.S. and living in a county of a participating Ronald McDonald House Charities chapter to be eligible for this award. If you can demonstrate academic, leadership, or community involvement, this program – which has provided more than $44 million in scholarships for students over the past 100 years – is for you. Check out which of their scholarships you're most eligible for and get started today.

Deadline: January 27, 2012
Award: Varies from scholarship to scholarship

GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship 
Have you demonstrated admirable leadership or citizenship at school, work, home, or in your community? This scholarship, provided by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, is open to extraordinary high school seniors with demonstrated financial need who are graduating this winter or spring with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and U.S. citizenship. Apply online and remember to include a nomination and recommendation from a leader within your school or community.

Deadline: February 17, 2012
Award: $10,000

Little Rock Nine Foundation Scholarship ?
The Little Rock Nine Foundation strives to ensure students receive equal educational opportunities. This scholarship is open to any student who can prove financial need, have at least a 3.0 GPA and be especially willing to mentor a high school student through their Mentorship Awards Program if awarded the scholarship. Submit your application and letters of recommendation by mail.

Deadline: January 31, 2012
Award: $5,000

Healthy Lifestyles Scholarship
Are you passionate about staying healthy and fit? This scholarship, open to high school seniors and first-year college students with U.S. or Canadian citizenship requires an essay answering the question: "Why is a healthy lifestyle important in school?" All it takes is a minimum of 500 words and personal perspective.

Deadline: May 30, 2012
Award: $5,000

Big Dig Scholarship
This scholarship requires a combination of creativity and critical thinking – 200 years from now, what item from today would hold serious value? In 500 to 1000 words describe what you would bury in your backyard, so if found by your future relatives, they would never have to worry financially ever again. You may have to do some research, but your idea could be unique enough to win.

Deadline: June 1, 2012
Award: $3,000

America's Best Blogging Scholarship
Do you love expressing your opinion, especially on the nation's pressing political issues? This scholarship is for incoming undergraduate and graduate students willing to blog their way to an award. In a 500- to 600-word blog post, you'll explain what you think the most important political issue is for the upcoming presidential election and how we can find a unified "solution that benefits the majority." A minimum 2.5 GPA is required. Post your blog entry to your own personal blog (including photos, embedded video or any other creative touch). And if you don't currently have a blog, simply create one; try free blogging platforms Wordpress.com, Tumblr, and Blogger. For more on how to start your own blog, check out Her Campus's tips.

Deadline: December 31, 2011
Award: $1,000

Frame My Future" Scholarship Contest
You don't have to be an artist to creatively concoct this scholarship's task. Open for all current high school seniors, it requires submitting an image (in digital JPEG format) that conveys what you hope to accomplish in your personal and professional life post-college. Think collages, drawings, paintings, typed explanations—anything you can symbolically assemble that says how you'll frame your future.

Deadline: March 6, 2012
Award: $1,000

Young Naturalist Award
Calling all pre-collegiettes™ entering the sciences! If you're planning on attaining a pre-med degree or just love experimenting, put on your lab coats for this scholarship. High school students can submit their research on a topic within the natural sciences. After conducting your experiment, submit an essay, compilation of data, questions and observations you did. This award through the American Museum of Natural History may be the first step in your undergraduate education and career.

Deadline: March 8, 2012
Award: $2,500

Stuck at Prom® Scholarship Contest
If you're already excited for prom or plan on entering fashion, this scholarship is for you. One of Kantrowitz's personal favorites, it requires high school seniors to design and create prom attire made entirely from duct tape. The winning couple receives $5,000 for their tuition and for their school. Since the 2012 deadline has yet to be announced and prom is in the spring, you've got enough time to rally a partner and get taping.

Deadline: TBA
Award: $5,000

More scholarship tips

Remember to find scholarships available through the universities you've applied to. Go to their website to find ones you're eligible for or check with your high school counselor for advice.

Search for scholarships by making a free profile on FastWeb.com. Choose your academic interests, hobbies or talents, and potential future colleges to narrow down scholarships to only the ones you qualify for.

Get organized. Kantrowitz recommends students sort their applications in a folder by deadline date. "After about the first half dozen applications, you’ll find that each successive application takes less time, since you can reuse essays by tailoring them to each new application," he said. "So applying to many scholarships doesn’t take as much time as you might think."

All it takes is management and motivation to help fund the next four years of your life – why not start now?