Is this your first time applying for a scholarship, and want to find out what are merit based scholarships?
Merit based scholarships are awards or grants given to a student based on academic achievement, leadership, Athletics, or a specific interest. This type of scholarship does not consider students’ financial needs but rather looks at the student’s academic performance or leadership abilities. That is why it is called “merit scholarship”.
Colleges, universities, companies, NGOs, and private organizations usually grant aid or merit based scholarships.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the average merit-based award in 2019-2020 was $11,287. In 2019-20, around 22% of all college students in the United States got this type of aid.
So, when giving out these merit awards, scholarship committees usually look at students’ grades, standardized test results, and engagement in extracurricular activities. Students may be required to maintain a certain GPA throughout college to continue receiving this aid.
While many smaller colleges provide merit-based scholarships to help with tuition costs, other larger colleges do not. Ivy League schools, for instance, do not grant merit-based scholarships (though they do provide need-based scholarships).
What are the differences between Merit-based and Need-based Scholarships?
Many students may be eligible for both merit-based and need-based scholarships to help pay for tuition and other expenses such as school supplies and accommodation.
A need-based scholarship is still the most common type of aid, but a merit-based scholarship is more challenging to obtain. Students must achieve and maintain a certain academic performance or extracurricular activities to earn merit-based funding.
It will interest you that both types of financial aid are not available at all colleges and universities. Smaller private schools frequently offer merit-based options, but students at larger public institutions typically receive the majority of their financial aid from need-based sources.
How to Get a Merit-Based Scholarship?
Merit-based scholarships are often provided by two sources: private groups and educational institutions. The method for locating and applying for these scholarships depends on where you found them.
Private and nonprofit organizations offer some of the most common merit scholarships.
Many of these organizations’ missions and visions are to provide financial support to high-achieving students who also demonstrate financial hardship.
You can start your search for merit-based awards by googling scholarships focused on your unique interests, skills, or hobbies. If you are into engineering, you may look out for “engineering scholarships,” “merit scholarships for engineering students,” or even “engineering scholarships with the school name.”
Private educational institutions
Finding good merit-based scholarships through private educational institutions, such as colleges and universities, is much easier than through private organizations. Some schools sometimes offer this type of award to attract competitive applicants to their schools.
Often, all you have to do to get this award is apply directly to the school. You will be immediately considered for awards when you submit your college application.
Generally, when awarding merit scholarships, private universities normally consider the following criteria:
- Your GPA in high school
- Scores on standardized tests (SAT and/or ACT)
- Class Standing
For more detailed steps on how to get a scholarship, check out our guide here.