Academic or Merit Scholarships

Academic or Merit Scholarships are basically the same thing: tuition money awarded to students with outstanding grades and achievements.  If you are at the top of your class, you stand a pretty good chance of receiving an academic scholarship, but it’s not a guarantee!  These days, academic or merit scholarships are getting much more difficult to earn.  More and more students each year are deciding to attend college.  As a result, less scholarship opportunities are available to students.

That being said, many colleges offer “merit based” scholarships that in many cases, pays your tuition in full!  They are renewable every year as long as you earn a minimum GPA that is specified within that specific scholarship. Some may have other requirements to meet, but in general, you need to maintain good grades to continue to receive the scholarship money.

So how do you go about getting a merit or academic scholarship? As stated before, it’s getting increasingly more difficult due to the competition, but there are a few ways. 

Where do I start looking for Academic Scholarships?

The easiest and most common is by simply applying to the college or university and letting THEM tell you if you’ve done well enough to earn a full scholarship or discounted tuition. When you apply, they will automatically consider you for any type of scholarship or incentive based on your high school grades and scores. When they send you an acceptance letter, it will also include what type of scholarship you’ve qualified for (if any), how much it’s worth, and if it’s renewable or not.  Many private colleges offer academic and merit scholarships simply to make themselves more competitive with state/public institution tuition.  They are able to do this because the receive much more endowment money than public schools.

If you’ve done exceptionally well in high school and stand out above the majority of other applicants, you will have a great shot at getting a merit based scholarship. Keep in mind though, these types of full academic scholarships are few and far between, so do everything you can to get the best grades and scores possible!

Other ways of getting an academic scholarship include employer programs (from your parent’s place of work), corporate sponsorship, National Scholarships that can be found on, and through the National Merit Scholarship Program to name a few.

It’s a competative market!

Something to keep in mind: There are literally thousands of students looking for scholarship opportunities and any kind of aide in paying tuition. If you aren’t exceptional in the classroom, you stand a very low chance of getting a fully paid scholarship. Even though you may be a great student, there just isn’t “free college” for everyone. That’s just the reality of academic scholarships in today’s college world.