The merit based scholarships is one of the best options for students in high school to finance college. These scholarships reward academic excellence and range from a few thousand dollars to a full-ride award. In addition, some merit scholarships for college are renewable, meaning that you will be able to be awarded the scholarship for the entire four years of your college!
Contents merit based scholarships
Table of Contents
- What’s a merit award?
- Top Merit-Based Scholarships
- Tips for applying for college merit-based scholarships based on merit
- Explore these additional categories of scholarship
In the guide below, we’ll discuss how to get merit scholarships. We will also share the top merit scholarships available to prospective students!
What is a merit based scholarship award?
The merit award is awarded to students who have an outstanding record in their academics (including the scores and grades) as well as extracurricular activities and community leadership skills.
These scholarships are awarded by certain universities and colleges and private institutions.
In contrast to need-based financial aid, merit scholarships don’t consider the student’s financial situation in the form of either the FAFSA or CSS Profile. They are instead dependent on a student’s academic performance.
The exact requirements for merit scholarships differ between organizations. However, most merit-based scholarships will evaluate applicants by the following criteria:
- Transcripts from high school, including grades as well as the rigor that you have in high school courses
- Standardized scores from the ACT or SAT
- Notes from recommendation
The next step is going over the best prices offered at universities and private companies!
Top merit based Scholarships
Merit scholarships are awarded from universities and colleges as well as private companies. Below, we’ve categorized the most prestigious merit scholarships into these categories:
- Public Colleges & Universities
- Private National Universities
- Small Liberal Arts Colleges
- Private Merit Scholarships
Merit based Scholarships at Public Colleges & Universities
University of Alabama(Tuscaloosa, AL)
- Alabama has a variety of merit-based programs for students in the state and out.
Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
- ASU provides a variety of large merit- and need-based scholarships for students.
- Offers the National Scholars Presidential Scholarship to National Merit Finalists and National Achievement Finalists
- The program provides full-tuition scholarships to in-state students and out of state, as well as various other benefits (including the $1,000 technology stipend)
- UC Berkeley offers scholarships that are based on need as well as merit.
The University of Colorado at Boulder (Boulder, Colorado)
- The UC-Boulder campus offers a range of merit-based and need-based scholarship opportunities for both out-of-state and in-state students.
- There are a variety of merit-based programs available one of the most famous of them all is the President’s Award.
- The President’s Award is given to the 50 best students in the high school’s senior class.
- The University of Michigan offers mostly needs-based scholarships. However, there are some merit scholarships too.
- Various merit scholarships are full tuition for students in state and outside of the state.
University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
- For the UVa’s Jefferson Scholars program, in-state scholars are awarded $26,000 per year, while out-of-state or international Jefferson Scholars will receive an annual salary of more than $53,000.
- The program is designed to create a network of scholars who are currently enrolled and alumni and provide various organized enrichment opportunities for scholars.
- Merit scholarships comprise programs like the 1693 Scholars Program and the Monroe Scholars Program ($3,000 research Stipend, housing, and special option)
Merit based Scholarships at Private National Universities
Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA)
- The scholarship is full-time and merit-based (the Presidential Scholars Program) for students who are 15 years old or older.
- There is no separate application needed to be considered eligible for the award, but applicants must complete early action. The early Action application process
Boston University (Boston, MA)
- B.U. Has numerous opportunities for scholarships that include merit-based and need-based scholarships.
- Six different programs are available, with five programs specifically designed for freshmen entering the college (with one specifically for rising juniors)
- The Carnegie Scholarship is available to freshmen who meet the criteria for no or little need-based financial aid.
- Three merit programs that are distinct Three distinct merit scholarships are offered: The CWRU Dean’s Scholarship, the Satcher-Pamies (merit award for minorities) as well as the Alumni Scholarship (merit scholarship with a need-based component)
Duke University (Durham, NC)
- Duke offers 9 merit-based programs that include full-time tuition scholarship opportunities.
Elon University (Elon, NC)
- Elon offers merit and need-based scholarships to students.
- Go through the Georgetown Incentive Scholarships to receive aid based on need with a merit-based component.
- Many merit scholarship programs are offered, including several specific to the arts (look under “Academic Merit Awards/Scholarships”)
New York University (New York, NY)
- NYU provides a variety of merit-based and need-based courses for students
- The Rensselaer Medal Scholarship is a 4-year, minimum $15,000 a year merit-based award.
- SMU offers merit scholarships of up to tuition fees and room/board!
- Other scholarships may also offer the opportunity to award scholarships to students with specific areas of study (such as Engineering and the Arts and STEM)
- UChicago provides merit-based scholarships and specific scholarships for college students of the first generation.
- Various merit scholarships are provided, such as Isaac Bashevis Singer Scholarship and the Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship.
University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)
- The University of Rochester offers a diverse array of merit awards for all students.
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
- USC provides a variety of full-tuition and half-tuition, and quarter-tuition merit-based scholarships.
Tulane University(New Orleans, LA)
- All students can be considered partial tuition scholarship candidates when submitting their applications.
- It is possible to receive 130 tuition-free scholarships offered that require a separate application (that is due by November 5) y
- Summer stipends and full tuition for research, study abroad or service-related projects will be granted to 250 students. Other smaller merit-based programs are also offered.
Wake Forest University(Winston-Salem, NC)
- WFU offers a variety of merit-based programs for students who are enrolled, including generally merit-based scholarships (such as the Reynolds Scholarships) and scholarships that honor the achievement of students in dance, art debate, music, and the theatre (Presidential scholarships in recognition of Distinguished Achievement)
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers merit awards to students with a range of $10,000 per year to $25,000 annually.
Merit based Scholarships at Small Liberal Arts Colleges
- Denison offers more than 1000 scholarships for first-year students.
- The range of scholarships is from $2,000 to $46,000.
- Merit scholarships can range between $15,000 and the entire tuition cost.
- Kenyon grants merit assistance to students among 15 percent of the most highly students admitted to the university.
- Scholarships for talented students in creative writing, art, and music are available.
- Merit scholarships are awarded to around 50 percent of U.S. first-year students.
- Macalester (unlike other leading schools) also provides merit-based awards to International Students.
- Merit awards vary from $2,000 to $64,000 for four years.
- Grinnell offers several merit scholarships that span from $30,000 to $50K annually.
- Oberlin offers merit-based awards based on academic achievement performance and as well as “contributions to the student’s school and home community.”
Private merit based Scholarships
Burger King Scholars Program
The eligibility criteria are Seniors from high school.
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: December 15
Coca Cola Scholarship
- The eligibility criteria: Classes of 2020 seniors from high school attending high school in the USA
- Amount: $20,000
- Deadline: October 31
Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship
- Application requirements: High school graduates who reside in the United States are eligible to apply.
- Quantity: 500 awards worth from $4,000-$5,000
- Deadline: November 5
Equitable Excellence Scholarship
- Ineligibility Highly educated United States citizens or legal residents of all 50 United States, Washington, D.C., or Puerto Rico who are in high school and who are planning to attend either a two- or four-year university or college
- Amount: $2,500, $10,000 or $25,000
- Deadline: December 15
- The eligibility criteria are: Any student in grades 9-12 in the United States with academic achievement (scholarship selection is dependent on merit)
- Amount: $1,000 to 5,000
- Deadline: May 1, 2022
Strategies for submitting applications to merit based scholarships
Here is the most important information you must be aware of if you wish to receive a merit award:
Choose the best college.
One of the most common mistakes students makes when constructing their college plans does not pay enough focus on merit scholarships. It is important to find schools in which your enrollment “stats” align with the proportion of students who receive merit scholarships.
Therefore, if a school gives merit-based scholarships to 25 percent of applicants, you’re probably among the top 25 percent of applicants in tests and grades. Scattergrams are an excellent method to determine whether your scores and your grade compare.
Learn about specific merit based scholarships opportunities
The merit scholarships offered by colleges can differ between colleges. In some college admissions, all students are automatically eligible for merit scholarships.
In some colleges, students are required to write an essay, a separately submitted application or even an interview in order to complete the application procedure. Some colleges may even provide merit scholarships to students who possess a certain aptitude in music, art or theater, or any other area.
Make a wide(ish) web.
If you’re serious about receiving a merit award at a particular school, you’ll need to search for opportunities. While being high on the application list will usually make you an excellent applicant for merit scholarships, there aren’t assurances.
We recommend applying to 10 colleges where you’ll be high in the running for merit scholarships. This increases your chances of having several merit scholarships to choose from.
Some colleges may require applicants to submit their applications before a particular date to be considered for merit scholarships. Make sure you’re applying by the deadlines required (remember that this deadline might differ from those for the application deadline).
Do not forget to apply for need-based financial aid as well.
Remember that you can apply for merit-based scholarships as well as financial aid based on need! Make sure you complete your FAFSA along with any other financial aid documents, such as CSS Profile, within the deadlines required.
This will guarantee that you are being considered for any potential need-based scholarships at your chosen colleges.
Learn the fine print regarding the renewal of merit based scholarships
Certain schools may require evidence that you’re maintaining a particular GPA or meeting other criteria to be eligible for an award.
It’s vital to stay up-to-date with any ongoing obligations your school has to its Financial Aid office.
Financial aid based on need will require renewal, So make sure you know you need to know about the FAFSA renewal procedure includes!
Find local merit based scholarships
Local scholarships tend to be the best choice when it comes to merit-based scholarships. Because the number of applicants is usually smaller, each application has a higher chance of winning. It is important to explore local organizations as a key aspect of your scholarship search.
The guidance counselor may have sources for local scholarships most of the time. It is also possible to look at groups like that local branch of Scouts as well as talk to any local leader. Community centers, religious institutions and organizations like 4-H might be able to aid.
A summary of the top colleges with Merit Based scholarships
Public Colleges & Universities
- University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
- Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
- Auburn University (Auburn, AL)
- University of California- Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
- The University of Colorado at Boulder (Boulder, Colorado)
- Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)
- University of Michigan- Ann Arbor
- University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
- University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
- College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA)
Private National Universities
- Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA)
- Boston University (Boston, MA)
- Brandeis College (Waltham, MA)
- Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)
- Duke University (Durham, NC)
- Elon University (Elon, NC)
- Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)
- Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA)
- New York University (New York, NY)
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)
- Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)
- University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
- University of Miami (Miami, Florida)
- University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)
- University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
- Tulane University (New Orleans, LA)
- Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
- Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)
Small Liberal Arts Colleges
- Denison University (Granville, OH)
- Kenyon College (Gambier, OH)
- Macalester College (St. Paul, MN)
- Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA)
- Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH)
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