How to win scholarships for kids 10 and under


Avalon Theisan has already dedicated her life to saving the environment, starting her own nonprofit when she was just 10 years old.

"I just love doing something good for our planet," she said.

Theisan has been able to turn that love into real money for college, winning multiple scholarships after barely turning 10.

"It's expensive these days to go to school and anything helps," said Theisan's mother, Deborah.

In fact, one study predicted the average sticker price for a private university in 2030 could be as high as $130,000 a year, while state universities could cost more than $40,000.

But your kid can start scoring scholarships, even in kindergarten.

"Some of these scholarship programs aren't very competitive because parents aren't thinking about scholarships for their children who are under age 13," said Mark Kantrowitz, a scholarship expert with and

Jessica Johnson of the Scholarship Academy says these awards run the gamut, from academic achievement to stand-outs for service.

For example, Kohl's offers a $10,000 scholarship for kids 6 and up who are involved in community service projects.

The Gloria Barron Prize For Young Heroes offers $2500 to environmental activists ages 8 to 18.

"So you want to start thinking about what your child is passionate about and then research the scholarships in those specific categories," said Johnson.

Art enthusiasts might find inspiration for Google's Doodle 4 Google. The prize is a whopping $30,000 of college money.

Young writers might try penning an essay for the Olive Garden Pasta Tales contest. The top prize is a $2500 savings bond, plus $5,000 for your school.

Whatever your child's talent, there's probably a scholarship to fit.

"There are some normal scholarships and then some more unusual scholarships that involve quirky things like playing marbles," said Kantrowitz.

Another fun one is JIF's Most Creative Sandwich Contest, which awards $2500 to the best young sandwich chef.

The lesson for parents: Apply early and often. Johnson says parents shouldn't be afraid to help build a child's scholarship brand early on.

"If they love nature, then make sure they're doing some type of recycling program. If they're great at public speaking, you want to start honing those skills," said Johnson.

Theisan and her mom are thrilled that she's doing something to help the planet and save for college.

"It's not waiting 'til the last couple years of school and then I want to go to college. She's doing it now," said Deborah Theisan.

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