Tuition prices aren’t going down anytime soon, yet figuring out a way to fund your tuition only gets more nervewracking. If the expenses won’t be compensated by the financial aid grant, start applying for a merit-based scholarship.
Apart from need-based scholarships, merit-based scholarships aren’t constrained by the financial condition of a recipient. Instead, a merit-based scholarship is a financial award paid out to students who excel in a particular field by a private organization.
Types of Merit-Based Scholarship
Best academic talent is awarded by merit-based scholarships, so if you succeed in this field, you’re in luck. Scholarships based on academic merit usually take a minimum of GPA or other test scores. Did you excel your SAT/ACT? Did you excel in your AP courses? There are scholarships for that!
Private associations and universities also try to honor students for their talent and devotion in the sport. Usually, if you plan on competing at university level, the schools you apply for can offer athletic scholarships. Reach out to your mentors, local associations and regional repositories for prospects outside of your future institution.
Thousands of grants have been established to honor creative talent. If you’re a singer, artist or actress, look for scholarships in your field. This scholarships usually require a portfolio, so make sure you have ample time to finish it before the deadline for applying.
4. Special interest
Private scholarship organizations’ primary goal is to honor potential (any potential) no matter how obscure it may be. You’d be stunned how many grants there are for different interests. Make note of your passions and desires, and consider opportunities to get them paid.
How to Find Merit-Based Scholarship
There are thousands of scholarships out there for which you are likely to apply, but you must dedicate some time and effort to seeking them. The first step in seeking a scholarship of merit is to learn where they come from. The federal government does not provide merit-based scholarships, so they will usually come from a school or private organization.
1. College merit-based scholarships
Finding pure merit-based scholarships by universities is always easier than seeking them by private or charitable organizations. Often, university offers merit-based scholarships to recruit potential candidates.
Sometimes what you have to do is apply to the school and get your eyes on some merit prizes. When you send your college application you will immediately be eligible for the merit-based scholarships. Colleges and universities often recognize the following criteria when granting merit-based scholarships:
- High school GPA
- Standardized test scores (SAT and/or ACT)
- Class rank
Please note that the particulars of those requirements differ considerably from school to school.
2. Private organization merit-based scholarships
If your selected college doesn’t grant merit-based scholarships, pursue incentives from private organizations. Any of the most prestigious (and modest) merit-based scholarships are granted by private foundations and non-profit.
Many of these organizations’ aim is to offer financial aid to highly qualified students who also indicate financial needs. As such, pure merit-based scholarships from such institutions can be difficult to obtain.
To search for merit-based scholarships, searching the internet for the scholarships enable you to do your own research based on your personal preferences, expertise or activities. If you are into chess, for instance, you might search for “chess scholarships”, “chess merit scholarships”, or even “chess scholarship [specific college name]”.
How to Win a Merit-Based Scholarship
Ready to start looking for your own funds for the scholarship? Here are all the actions you can take so the odds of winning a merit-based scholarship can be optimized.
1. Start early
If you are looking to apply for any of the highly challenging merit-based scholarships you have to be in it for the long run.
Some merit-based scholarships would require certificates, records, or documents that date back to your freshman high school year. You don’t get to be perfect; your later years in high school may be more important than your freshman or even sophomore year, but you need to show a history in regular high achievement or steady progress.
It would be critical if you intend to consider yourself as a convincing candidate.
2. Choose your focus
Which kind of merit-based scholarship are you better suited for? Are you gearing up for being a top academic, a professional athlete, a specialist in community service or any combination?
Prior to wasting time on other projects, focus on your academics. If you have a high GPA and/or test scores it is fairly easy to apply for merit-based scholarships at several universities.
You may be a great athlete in football or have hundreds of hours of community service under your collar, but if your performance is disappointing, you are going to hurt both your college applications and your prospects of scholarship. Merit-based scholarships are very worthless if you are unable to obtain them in the colleges you prefer.
3. Be proactive
To be proactive, you can:
- For additional support on projects or problem areas see teachers and coaches.
- Talk periodically (maybe once a quarter) with your counselor or college advisor to check in on graduation plans, grades, career goals etc. This will also be useful for you should you ever need letters of reference from your advisors for applicants for a scholarship.
4. Set a SAT/ACT Prep Plan
Standardized test grades are also a significant part of qualified merit-based scholarship. The sooner you decide to devise a strategy to plan and take either the ACT or the SAT, the safer you will be.
5. Find “good fit” scholarships
Not all the scholarships you’ll be participating in will automatically suit well, even though you follow all the qualifying requirements in a precise way. When you are putting together these applications, applying to scholarships would not be the only thing on your mind, so it is crucial to use your resources wisely when choosing scholarships.
You may apply an unlimited number of applications technically but you would still waste your time. Consider of it like you’re thinking of applying to universities. Using your strength to select scholarships that are not worth your time and eliminate them.
6. Submit flawless applications
Just as in your college application, when you apply for merit scholarships you have only one chance to make a favorable impression. Start assembling a preliminary list of scholarships as early as your freshman year, if possible. This may sound a little too aggressive, but bear in mind that many of the best scholarships are available at the late junior-early senior year. This early work will also help you keep on track to fulfill qualified eligibility criteria.
Start thinking seriously about the requirements about four months before their due dates. This gives you time (if applicable) to obtain letter of recommendation. It also offers you an opportunity to get input on essay drafts.
At last, before delivery, let two to three people look at the documents and check for accuracy, missed details to grammatical errors. Don’t wait to submit your application until the final deadline. You never know when you might come into technological issues which could prevent submission. It is possible to plan submission three to five days before the formal due date.
How to Keep the Obtained Merit-Based Scholarships
In the unfortunate case your merit-based scholarship grant has to be reviewed and updated periodically, you will need to bear in mind the standards you need to continue to fulfill. Remember, a scholarship is basically free money, and you’ll never have to pay that back, but certain scholarships might require the following things from a candidate in order for them to maintain it.
- Minimum GPA: Since you’ve been rewarded depending on your academic performance, you’ll need to justify it again.
- Program: If you’ve been given a merit-based scholarship based on a particular major, you generally ought to stay enrolled in the program. For instance, if a merit-based scholarship is awarded to you in a STEM program but you end up transferring to the arts, you can forfeit eligibility.
Paying for school tuition is not as easy as they used to be. It takes a lot of time, preparation and some ingenuity. Evaluate what merit-based scholarship you may apply for when you plan to pay for the course. There are plenty of academic, sporting, artistic, and special interest-bearing scholarships out there.