top of page
  • Jean O'Toole

3 Summer Scholarship Strategies for Students of any Education Level

For most students summer is a time to recharge and restore their energy from the wrap up of the previous academic year. It is also seen as a time to prepare for the renewal of needed mental focus for the upcoming academic year. What many students fail to use their summer for, is an engaged pursuit of private scholarships from companies, organizations and foundations. Strategically students, who maximize the summer for their scholarship pursuit, can have a tremendous edge and advantage over their peers. Relaxation, vacation and restoration can all align with a small amount of dedicated time for scholarship application preparation. This small amount of time and energy used strategically can be enormously beneficial for potential scholarship success.

Summer Scholarship Strategy #1 – Seek out applications with summer deadlines.

After interviewing thousands of students, my research has indicated that scholarships are not a priority to most students during the summer months. That is certainly not a surprise. Most students are prioritizing having fun and enjoying time off from “thinking about school or paying for college”. What does this do statistically for those students, who continue their scholarship pursuit? It reduces the number of applicants they are competing against for awards. Applying for scholarships, that have deadlines during June, July or August, statistically will have fewer competitors for the awards.

Summer Scholarship Strategy #2 – Adjust the schedule, but keep the routine.

A smart scholarship pursuit does not have to require a “part-time job time commitment”. Pursuing scholarships should be a small amount of time invested each week for searching or applying. I recommend the small commitment of 90 minutes spread out over 3 times a week to identify opportunities and expedite applications. This small investment of time is designed to easily weave into any student’s routine. During the summer months, if a student wants to reduce that commitment to 45 minutes a week, for added relaxation I support that. The key is not to stop the routine. It is harder to restart a habit and a routine that has not been maintained. Strategically, adjust the schedule but keep the routine.

Summer Scholarship Strategy #3 – Plan, prepare and have ready the September

deadline scholarships.

Regardless of what level of education a student is starting in their new academic year, there is always adjustment to a new schedule, which obviously requires attention and focus. Strategically once again, the scholarship pursuit is generally not prioritized during the month of September. Recognizing that fewer students statistically will be applying for scholarships during September, a smart scholarship seeker should use the summer months to prepare those applications in advance. Not only will they have the required applications done, but they will be able to fully focus on their own transition to their next level of education.

Several summer scholarship examples are:

Breakthrough Junior Challenge. This scholarship is open to students ages 13-18 worldwide. Explain a big scientific idea with a short film (3 min max). Award is $250,000.

Deadline is June 25th. For more information visit

CDPAP Department of Edison HHC Educational Scholarship. This $1000 scholarship is open to students ages 18 and older. Simply write a short essay about what you would do to improve healthcare. Their application states "Don't be afraid to be creative." Deadline is August 31st. For more information visit

Daniel Burrus Scholarship Fund. Open to incoming or current college students. Awards of $1000. Deadline is July 15th. This scholarship seeks to encourage students to adapt to technological advancements and stay ahead of future trends at all times. For more information visit

Lindsay Sale-Tinney Award. This scholarship is in association with the Outdoor Journalist Education Foundation of America or OJEFA. Applicants must be 12-25 years of age and have demonstrated an interest in working toward a career in outdoor communications. Awards of up to $750. Deadline is July 1st.

Students can and should have fun during the summer months. They can also be smart and strategic. These three strategies will help any scholarship seeker get ahead and stay ahead in their own scholarship pursuit.


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 her scholarship strategies. In 2008 she 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. For more information about Jean, visit


bottom of page