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Keep Iowa Beautiful Scholarship Essays


October 17, 2015

Below is a list of National, Regional, and Local scholarships organized by due date. Please click on the blue link and it will either take you directly to the scholarship website where you can learn more about the scholarship and apply or it will take you to a PDF/WordDoc where you can download a copy of the application to fill out and submit. The counselor will remind students to check the website for updated scholarship information, but please note it is the students responsibility to periodically check the scholarship page on the school website as it will continuously be update as scholarship announcements are received/found. It should also be noted these are not the only scholarships available. Student are encouraged to visit myCollegeOptions and to search more scholarship opportunities. The number of scholarships is endless, so I encourage students and parents to still do their own research on scholarship opportunities. 

***Local Scholarships will be highlighted below.


  1. Horatio Alger Iowa Scholarship. Seniors. October 25, 2015.
  2. Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Seniors. Due October 31, 2015



  1. Prudential Spirit of Community Award. All grades 6-12. Due November 3, 2015.
  2. Jerry Woods Scholarship. Iowa Ready Mix sponsor. Student must be entering their first year at an Iowa community college or tech school building trades program, including concrete technology and practice. Due November 30, 2016. 



  1. Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Competition. Senior. Due December 4, 2015.
  2. AXA Achievement Scholarship. Seniors. Due December 15, 2015.
  3. Burger King McLamore Foundation Scholarship. Seniors. Opens October 15, 2015; Due December 15, 2015.
  4. NFIB Young Entrepreneur Award. Seniors that own their own business. Due December 18, 2015.
  5. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes. Seniors. Due December 17, 2015.
  6. Great Clip's Alice Madden Barton Cosmetology Scholarship. Senior entering cosmetology profession. Due December 31 OR June 30.
  7. E. Wayne Cooley Scholarship. Female athletes. See Mrs. Moeller if you would like to be nominated. Form Due Date: Thursday, December 31, 2015



  1. JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest. All grades 9-12. Due January 6, 2016.
  2. GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program. Senior with minimum GPA of 3.0. Due January 7, 2016.
  3. Dell Scholars Program. Seniors. Opens November 1, 2015.
  4. Iowa School Counselor Association Scholarship. Senior. Essay on Who is a school counselor who made a difference during your K-12 years and how did they do this for you? Due January 11, 2016

  5. MENSA Education & Research Foundation Scholarship. Seniors. Due January 15, 2016.
  6. Byers Environmental Scholarship/"Keep Iowa Beautiful" Scholarship. Awards five (5), $1000 scholarships to Iowa high school seniors entering Environmental Studies or Community Enhancement areas. Due January 8th.
  7. Ronald McDonald House Scholars. Senior. Due January 20, 2016.
  8. Elks National Foundation Legacy Award. Senior and child or grandchild of living Elks member. Have taken ACT/SAT by Dec. 31st. Due January 29, 2016.
  9. Recurring Annual Business and Finance Scholarship ($1000 award)
    Submission Deadline: January, 29th.
    Award Notification: March, 15th.

    Scholarship Application Link
  10. Healthcare Leaders Scholarship - Sponsored by
    Based in Bellevue, WA, is seeking applications for the Healthcare Leaders Scholarship. To be eligible for the $1000 award, students must have a GPA of 3.0 or above, be pursuing a degree related to healthcare, and submit a 600-1000 word essay. Scholarship is offered once a year and award is paid directly to the student. (January 29th)
  11. IHSADA Student Athlete Scholarship. Senior athlete. Must have played two sports in the last two years and received varsity letter in both. Due January 31, 2016. 
  12. Strayer/Rairden Scholarship in Physics. Must attend University of Iowa and declare major in physics or astronomy. Due January 31, 2016. 



  1. Franklin REC Basin Scholarship. $1000 scholarships, senior. Due February 1, 
  2. Iowa 4-H Foundation Scholarships. $500-$3500 scholarships. Must be 4-H member. Due February 1, 
  3. Grand Lodge of Iowa Masonic Scholarship. Seniors pursuing an education in any state at a two or four your college. See Mrs. Moeller for application. Due February 1, 
  4. 2017 Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarship Four Scholarships available $1,500-500. Due Feb. 3rd

  5. Hy-vee Scholarship. Must be a Hy-vee employee. Due February 10, 
  6. Iowa Newspaper Foundation Scholarship. Seniors preparing for an Iowa newspaper career at in-state colleges or universities. Due February 12, 
  7. National Honor Society Scholarship. Senior. NHS member. Due February 16th, 
  8. Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation Scholarship. $500. Major in agricultural or conservation-related field.  See Mrs. Moeller for application. Due 17th
  9. Iowa Engineering Society Scholarship. Senior interested in attending the College of Engineering at either U of I or ISU. Due February 19th,
  10. Society of Professional Journalist Essay Contest. Topic: "Why is it important that we have news media that are independent of the governmnet?" Due February 24, 
  11. NIAAA Student Athlete Scholarship. Senior athlete. Must have played two sports in the last two years and received at least one varsity letter. Due February 28, 


  1. Tall Corn FFA Alumni President Scholarship. See Mrs. Moeller for application.  Due March 1
  2. Iowa Grocery Industry Association IGIA. Sons or daughters of full-time employees of firms that are members of the IGIA. The parent must have been employed for at least two years as of January 1, 2016. or Employees (full-time or part-time) who are full-time students employed by firms that are members of the IGIA. Applicants must have worked a minimum of 300 hours during the 6-month period between July 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. Due March 1, 
  3. Matthew Shepard Scholarship. 3.0 or higher GPA. ACT of 22 or better. Openly LGBTQ. Due March 1, 
  4. Murray Wise Associates Foundation Scholarship. Student pursuing degree in AG. Due March 1, 
  5. IT Leadership Forum Technology Scholarship. Two- $1000 Scholarships. Essay and two letters of recommendation. Due March 1, 
  6. ICAN Outstanding Student Scholarship. Attending a two- or four-year institution in Iowa. Essay Contest. Due March 1, 
  7. Innovative Ag Services (IAS). $750. Student who wishes to pursue a degree in agriculture industry. Due March 1st,  
  8. NCC Electrical Technology, Powerline, or Powerline Technology Scholarship. $500. Recipients may be first/second-year students at NCC in Industrial And Commercial Wiring, Powerline, or Powerline Technology. Due March 1, 
  9. Grand Lodge of Iowa MCEC Technical Scholarship. Seniors who plan to enroll in a mechanical or trade course of study at an Iowa Community College. See Mrs. Moeller for application. Due March 1, 
  10. New Cooperative Inc. $2,000 scholarship. Students intending a career in agriculture while attending an Iowa college full-time. Applicant should be a member or a dependent of a New Cooperative employee. March 3th, 
  11. DMACC foundation scholarship. Must be attending DMACC. March 4th, 
  12. Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa Scholarship opportunities. Multiple scholarship opportunities. Due March 9, 
  13. North Iowa Builders Exchange. $1,000 Annually, Career in Building and trades field. See Mrs. Moeller for application. Due March 9th
  14. Franklin Rec Commitment to Community Scholarship.$300. Students who show commitment to community by volunteering in organizations or events in the community, church, etc. Due March 14,
  15. Franklin General Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship. See Mrs. Moeller for application. Pursing a college degree in any health-related field. Due March 15.
  16. ACACIA Leadership Scholarship. Up to $1000. Male. Must be attending Iowa State University. See Mrs. Moeller to apply. Due March 18, 
  17. Robert Smiley Scholarship. Female athlete. Let Mrs. Moeller know if you would like to be nominated. Due March 21, 
  18. ACACIA Leadership Scholarship. Senior male. Must be attending the University of Iowa. Due March 30, 
  19.  Iowa Heartland Credit Union. The application must be submitted no later than March 31st
  20. Distinguished Young Women Scholarships. Female seniors. Due date unknown.


  1. Third District American Legion Auxiliary Merit Award. (Please see Mrs. Moeller for application). Any member of The American Legion or the American Legion Auxiliary, SAL or their son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter; or the surviving spouse or the son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter (also great) of a deceased veteran is eligible. Due April 1, 2016. 
  2. CAL Education Association Scholarship.Any CAL student graduating from the current school years senior class and planning to further their education is eligible to apply.  The student will be required to write a one page essay about their future educational plans and how CAL has prepared them to reach these goals.One male and one female graduate will each receive the awarded money after they turn in their first semester college grades. The grades must be passing in order for the student to receive the award.See Mrs. Moeller for application. Due April 1, 2016.
  3. First Citizen Bank. $250. Senior in good standing (good grades). See Mrs. Moeller for application. Due April 1, 2016. 
  4. Elevate Iowa. $500. Iowa high school seniors interested in studying a manufacturing-related career at one of Iowa’s 15 Community Colleges. Due April 1, 2016. 
  5. Flint Hills Resources Discovery Scholarship. $1500 scholarship. GPA of 3.5, Demonstrated academic success in math, science, technology and/or agriculture, Intent to pursue a career in math, science, agriculture or a related field, Proven leadership skills, Planned attendance at a college, university, technical college or trade school. Submit completed applications to Mrs. Moeller. Due April 1st 
  6. Hampton State Bank. $250. Good standing with grades and need will be taken into consideration. See Mrs. Moeller for application. Due April 1st.
  7. Toptal Scholarship. Female student 13 and up interested in pursing their technical career aspirations. (Ongoing-one scholarship given out each month).
  8. Numerous Scholarship Programs. Due throughout April.
  9. Mort's Water Company. $250. Good standing with grades. See Mrs. Moeller for an application. Due April 1st.
  10. AgVantage FS Scholarship. $1,000. Dependent of an AgVantage FS employee or customer, 2.5 GPA or higher, pursuing a career in agriculture or agribusiness related majors. Due April 1, 
  11. AgriLegacy Scholarship. $1,000. Students going into the field of agriculture. Due April 1, 2016. 
  12. Iowa Lakes Wind Energy and Turbine Technology Scholarship.  $500. Recipients must be enrolled in the Wind Energy and Turbine Technology program; be either first-or second-year students at Iowa Lakes Community College; have a high school grade point average of 2.5; an Iowa resident; and maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average. Due April 1, 2016. 
  13. DSA of NCI Scholarship. $1000. Individual pursuing education in a special needs field. Due April 1, 2016. 
  14. NIACC Money to Learn Scholarship. $500. Student must be attending NIACC in the Fall. Essay. April 9, 2016
  15. North Iowa Credit Union Chapter Scholarship. Due April 17th
  16. Latham Legacy of Leadership Scholarship. $1000, scholarship award will honor one student who has shown leadership through community volunteerism, principled character, and the ability to articulate the importance of civic or political involvement.  This scholarship is open to graduating students who reside in Franklin County and are themselves (or who have parents who are) registered to vote as Republicans. Due April 1st


  1. IABO (Iowa Association of Building Officials) Scholarship. $500. Students who are attending a 2 or 4 year program for Architectural Technologies, Construction, Engineering, and related fields (see website for list of approved schools/programs). Due May 1, 2016.
  2. The Pearl Hull Falk Scholarship. (MidWestOne Bank) See Mrs. Moeller of application. Requirements: Protestant faith, resident of Iowa, attending U of I full-time. Due May 2, 2016.  
  3. UnityPoint Health Scholar Athlete of the Year. Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence, participation in athletics and service to their school and community. Submit applications to High School Principal. Due May 13, 2016. 


  1. Aspiring Business Professionals. $1000. Seniors interested in pursuing a business career. Due June 1st, 2016. 
  2. Abbott and Fenner Scholarship Program. $1000 Due June 12th
  3. ​Aspiring Nurses Scholarship. Senior interested in pursuing a nursing career. Due June 30, 2016



Sample Scholarship Essays

If you’re applying for a scholarship, chances are you are going to need to write an essay. Very few scholarship programs are based solely on an application form or transcript. The essay is often the most important part of your application; it gives the scholarship committee a sense of who you are and your dedication to your goals. You’ll want to make sure that your scholarship essay is the best it can possibly be.

Unless specified otherwise, scholarship essays should always use the following formatting:

  • Double spaced
  • Times New Roman font
  • 12 point font
  • One-inch top, bottom, and side margins

Other useful tips to keep in mind include:

  1. Read the instructions thoroughly and make sure you completely understand them before you start writing.
  2. Think about what you are going to write and organize your thoughts into an outline.
  3. Write your essay by elaborating on each point you included in your outline.
  4. Use clear, concise, and simple language throughout your essay.
  5. When you are finished, read the question again and then read your essay to make sure that the essay addresses every point.

For more tips on writing a scholarship essay, check out our Eight Steps Towards a Better Scholarship Essay .

The Book that Made Me a Journalist

Prompt: Describe a book that made a lasting impression on you and your life and why.

It is 6 am on a hot day in July and I’ve already showered and eaten breakfast. I know that my classmates are all sleeping in and enjoying their summer break, but I don’t envy them; I’m excited to start my day interning with a local newspaper doing investigative journalism. I work a typical 8-5 day during my summer vacation and despite the early mornings, nothing has made me happier. Although it wasn't clear to me then, looking back on my high school experiences and everything that led to me to this internship, I believe this path began with a particularly savvy teacher and a little book she gave me to read outside of class.

I was taking a composition class, and we were learning how to write persuasive essays. Up until that point, I had had average grades, but I was always a good writer and my teacher immediately recognized this. The first paper I wrote for the class was about my experience going to an Indian reservation located near my uncle's ranch in southwest Colorado. I wrote of the severe poverty experienced by the people on the reservation, and the lack of access to voting booths during the most recent election. After reading this short story, my teacher approached me and asked about my future plans. No one had ever asked me this, and I wasn't sure how to answer. I said I liked writing and I liked thinking about people who are different from myself. She gave me a book and told me that if I had time to read it, she thought it would be something I would enjoy. I was actually quite surprised that a high school teacher was giving me a book titled Lies My Teacher Told Me. It had never occurred to me that teachers would lie to students. The title intrigued me so much that on Friday night I found myself staying up almost all night reading, instead of going out with friends.

In short, the book discusses several instances in which typical American history classes do not tell the whole story. For example, the author addresses the way that American history classes do not usually address about the Vietnam War, even though it happened only a short time ago. This made me realize that we hadn't discussed the Vietnam War in my own history class! The book taught me that, like my story of the Indian reservation, there are always more stories beyond what we see on the surface and what we’re taught in school. I was inspired to continue to tell these stories and to make that my career.

For my next article for the class, I wrote about the practice of my own high school suspending students, sometimes indefinitely, for seemingly minor offenses such as tardiness and smoking. I found that the number of suspensions had increased by 200% at my school in just three years, and also discovered that students who are suspended after only one offense often drop out and some later end up in prison. The article caused quite a stir. The administration of my school dismissed it, but it caught the attention of my local newspaper. A local journalist worked with me to publish an updated and more thoroughly researched version of my article in the local newspaper. The article forced the school board to revisit their “zero tolerance” policy as well as reinstate some indefinitely suspended students.I won no favors with the administration and it was a difficult time for me, but it was also thrilling to see how one article can have such a direct effect on people’s lives. It reaffirmed my commitment to a career in journalism.

This is why I’m applying for this scholarship. Your organization has been providing young aspiring journalists with funds to further their skills and work to uncover the untold stories in our communities that need to be reported. I share your organization’s vision of working towards a more just and equitable world by uncovering stories of abuse of power. I have already demonstrated this commitment through my writing in high school and I look forward to pursuing a BA in this field at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. With your help, I will hone my natural instincts and inherent writing skills. I will become a better and more persuasive writer and I will learn the ethics of professional journalism.

I sincerely appreciate the committee’s time in evaluating my application and giving me the opportunity to tell my story. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts

Do:Follow the prompt and other instructions exactly. You might write a great essay but it may get your application rejected if you don’t follow the word count guidelines or other formatting requirements.
DON'T:Open your essay with a quote. This is a well-worn strategy that is mostly used ineffectively. Instead of using someone else’s words, use your own.
DON'T:Use perfunctory sentences such as, “In this essay, I will…”
DO:Be clear and concise. Make sure each paragraph discusses only one central thought or argument.
DON'T:Use words from a thesaurus that are new to you. You may end up using the word incorrectly and that will make your writing awkward. Keep it simple and straightforward. The point of the essay is to tell your story, not to demonstrate how many words you know.

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Planners and Searchers

Prompt: In 600 words or less, please tell us about yourself and why you are applying for this scholarship. Please be clear about how this scholarship will help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

Being African, I recognize Africa’s need for home- grown talent in the form of “planners” (assistants with possible solutions) and “searchers” (those with desperate need) working towards international development. I represent both. Coming from Zimbabwe my greatest challenge is in helping to improve the livelihoods of developing nations through sustainable development and good governance principles. The need for policy-makers capable of employing cross-jurisdictional, and cross- disciplinary strategies to solve complex challenges cannot be under-emphasized; hence my application to this scholarship program.

After graduating from Africa University with an Honors degree in Sociology and Psychology, I am now seeking scholarship support to study in the United States at the Master’s level. My interest in democracy, elections, constitutionalism and development stems from my lasting interest in public policy issues. Accordingly, my current research interests in democracy and ethnic diversity require a deeper understanding of legal processes of constitutionalism and governance. As a Master’s student in the US, I intend to write articles on these subjects from the perspective of someone born, raised, and educated in Africa. I will bring a unique and much-needed perspective to my graduate program in the United States, and I will take the technical and theoretical knowledge from my graduate program back with me to Africa to further my career goals as a practitioner of good governance and community development.

To augment my theoretical understanding of governance and democratic practices, I worked with the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) as a Programs Assistant in the Monitoring and Observation department. This not only enhanced my project management skills, but also developed my skills in research and producing communication materials. ZESN is Zimbabwe’s biggest election observation organization, and I had the responsibility of monitoring the political environment and producing monthly publications on human rights issues and electoral processes. These publications were disseminated to various civil society organizations, donors and other stakeholders. Now I intend to develop my career in order to enhance Africa’s capacity to advocate, write and vote for representative constitutions.

I also participated in a fellowship program at Africa University, where I gained greater insight into social development by teaching courses on entrepreneurship, free market economics, and development in needy communities. I worked with women in rural areas of Zimbabwe to setup income-generating projects such as the jatropha soap-making project. Managing such a project gave me great insight into how many simple initiatives can transform lives.

Your organization has a history of awarding scholarships to promising young students from the developing world in order to bring knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to their home communities. I have already done some of this work but I want to continue, and with your assistance, I can. The multidisciplinary focus of the development programs I am applying to in the US will provide me with the necessary skills to creatively address the economic and social development challenges and develop sound public policies for Third World countries. I thank you for your time and consideration for this prestigious award.

Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts

DO:Research the organization and make sure you understand their mission and values and incorporate them into your essay.
DO:Focus on your strengths and turn in any problems or weaknesses into a success story.
DO:Use actual, detailed examples from your own life to backup your claims and arguments as to why you should receive the scholarship.
DO:Proofread several times before finally submitting your essay.
DON'T:Rehash what is already stated on your resume. Choose additional, unique stories to tell sell yourself to the scholarship committee.
DON'T:Simply state that you need the money. Even if you have severe financial need, it won’t help to simply ask for the money and it may come off as tacky.

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Saving the Manatees

Prompt: Please give the committee an idea of who you are and why you are the perfect candidate for the scholarship.

It is a cliché to say that I’ve always known what I want to do with my life, but in my case it happens to be true. When I first visited Sea World as a young child, I fell in love with marine animals in general. Specifically, I felt drawn to manatees. I was compelled by their placid and friendly nature. I knew then and there that I wanted to dedicate my life to protecting these beautiful creatures.

Since that day in Orlando, I have spent much of my spare time learning everything there is to know about manatees. As a junior high and high school student, I attempted to read scholarly articles on manatees from scientific journals. I annoyed my friends and family with scientific facts about manatees-- such as that they are close relatives of elephants--at the dinner table. I watched documentaries, and even mapped their migration pattern on a wall map my sister gave me for my birthday.

When I was chosen from hundreds of applicants to take part in a summer internship with Sea World, I fell even more in love with these gentle giants. I also learned a very important and valuable lesson: prior to this internship, I had imagined becoming a marine biologist, working directly with the animals in their care both in captivity and in the wild. However, during the internship, I discovered that this is not where my strengths lie. Unfortunately, I am not a strong student in science or math, which are required skills to become a marine biologist. Although this was a disheartening realization, I found that I possess other strengths can still be of great value to manatees and other endangered marine mammals: my skills as a public relations manager and communicator. During the internship, I helped write new lessons and presentations for elementary school groups visiting the park and developed a series of fun activities for children to help them learn more about manatees as well as conservation of endangered species in general. I also worked directly with the park’s conservation and communication director, and helped develop a new local outreach program designed to educate Floridians on how to avoid hitting a manatee when boating. My supervisor recommended me to the Save the Manatee Foundation so in addition to my full-time internship at Sea World, I interned with the Save the Manatee Foundation part-time. It was there that I witnessed the manatee rescue and conservation effort first hand, and worked directly with the marine biologists in developing fund-raising and awareness-raising campaigns. I found that the foundation’s social media presence was lacking, and, using skills I learned from Sea World, I helped them raise over $5,000 through a Twitter challenge, which we linked to the various social media outlets of the World Wildlife Federation.

While I know that your organization typically awards scholarships to students planning to major in disciplines directly related to conservation such as environmental studies or zoology, I feel that the public relations side of conservation is just as important as the actual work done on the ground. Whether it is reducing one’s carbon footprint, or saving the manatees, these are efforts that, in order to be successful, must involve the larger public. In fact, the relative success of the environmental movement today is largely due to a massive global public relations campaign that turned environmentalism from something scientific and obscure into something that is both fashionable and accessible to just about anyone. However, that success is being challenged more than ever before--especially here in the US, where an equally strong anti-environmental public relations campaign has taken hold. Therefore, conservationists need to start getting more creative.

I want to be a part of this renewed effort and use my natural abilities as a communicator to push back against the rather formidable forces behind the anti-environmentalist movement. I sincerely hope you will consider supporting this non-traditional avenue towards global sustainability and conservation. I have already been accepted to one of the most prestigious communications undergraduate programs in the country and I plan to minor in environmental studies. In addition, I maintain a relationship with my former supervisors at Save the Manatee and Sea World, who will be invaluable resources for finding employment upon graduation. I thank the committee for thinking outside the box in considering my application.

Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts

DO:Tell a story. Discuss your personal history and why those experiences have led you to apply for these scholarships.
DO:Write an outline. If you’ve already started writing or have a first draft, make an outline based on what you’ve written so far. This will help you see whether your paragraphs flow and connect with one another.
DON'T:Write a generic essay for every application. Adapt your personal statement for each individual scholarship application.
DO:Run spellcheck and grammar check on your computer but also do your own personal check. Spellcheck isn’t perfect and you shouldn't rely on technology to make your essay perfect.

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Sample Essays

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