r/ApplyingToCollege - Change Your Trajectory: Full Ride Scholarship Programs (2023)

Most schools have a major scholarship program of some kind or another. At schools below the top 20, these serve as tools to bring in top students who would otherwise be unlikely to attend. There are many reasons for them, but you should start researching them now.

Here's a fairly comprehensive list which I've shared before of major scholarships. Watch the deadlines carefully because many otherwise qualified applicants aren't considered because they're too late. Deadlines for these start as early as the end of August. Your best shot at winning one is to look for the full scholarship programs at the schools you're applying to and apply to several from this list.

As I mentioned, many schools treat these as academic recruiting scholarships and almost all are merit based. Note also that many of these can set you up for the same kind of success and networking opportunities as attending an Ivy or other elite school. Most professors at these schools know who the top scholarship students are and enjoy networking with them.

Here's a few I've found, but many many schools have similar full scholarship programs. All of these at least cover full tuition, and many of them include room & board, travel, special courses, stipends, and other perks. These can be quite lucrative, bordering on absurd. I met one of the deep-pocketed founders of one of these once and his quote was "we would have given out cars if we could have gotten away with it." They will not give you cars, but many will spend $20k+ per student per year on study abroad and such and several of them add that on top of paying for everything AND giving a stipend. I'll share some stories of students I know who went to programs like these in the comments.

You'll have to check at your schools. I recommend going directly to their website rather than reading a summary list like the one below because the requirements, awards, deadlines, and application processes change all the time. Many require a separate application or other steps.

If you have questions, ask in the comments.

Full Ride Scholarship Programs

  • Ervin, Rodriguez, and Danforth Scholars Programs at WUSTL

  • Wells and Kelley Scholars at Indiana

  • Presidential Scholars at Tulsa (Must be National Merit)

  • National Scholars Program at Clemson (includes study abroad)

  • Robertson Scholars at Duke & UNC

  • Morehead-Cain Scholars at UNC (Carolina Scholars, Johnson, and Pogue are also full rides at UNC for OOS students)

  • Ingram and Vanderbilt Scholarships at Vanderbilt

  • Emory Scholars at Emory

  • Mork Family Scholarship and Trustee Scholarship at USC

  • Jefferson Scholarship at UVA

  • Nancy Susan Reynolds Scholarship at Wake Forest

  • Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program at Boston College

  • William and Mary Scholars at William and Mary

  • Alan and Jane Handler Endowed Scholarship at University of Rochester

  • Trustee Scholarship at Boston University

  • Dean's Honor Scholarship and Paul Tulane Award at Tulane

  • Chancellor's Scholarship Program at Wisconsin

  • Frederick Douglass Scholarship Program at American University

  • President's Scholarship at Arcadia University

  • Archdiocesan Scholarship at Catholic University of America

  • Presidential and Semifinalist Scholarships at Fordham (the latter being for National Merit)

  • Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship and Presidential Academic Scholarship at George Washington

  • Torch Scholars Program at Northeastern

  • Roddy Scholarship at Providence

  • Alfond Scholars Program at Rollins College

  • The Ann P. Neupauer Scholarship at Stevens Institute of Technology

  • Presidential Fellowship at Stevenson University

  • Trustee Scholarship at St. Lawrence University

  • Distinguished Scholars Program: Excellence in Education Scholarship at SUNY Alfred

  • Haudenosaunee and Coronat Scholarships at Syracuse

  • Millonzi Distinguished Honors Scholarship at Buffalo

  • Eugene du Pont Memorial Scholars at Delaware

  • Banneker/Key Scholars Program at Maryland

  • Weeks, Singer, Jenkins, and Hammond Scholarships at Miami (FL)

  • Chancellors, Diversity, and Nordenberg Scholarships at Pittsburgh

  • Johnson Scholarship at Washington and Lee

  • Lincoln Scholarship at Carthage College

  • National Alumni Scholarship at Drake

  • Trustee Scholarship at Hiram College

  • Duchossios Leadership Scholars at Illinois Inst. of Technology (must have income below $200K)

  • University Merit Scholarship at Miami (OH)

  • Alumni Distinguished Scholarship at Michigan State

  • Eminence Fellows and Morrill Scholarships at Ohio State

  • Perry Presidential Scholarship and Goizueta Foundation Scholarship at Agnes Scott

  • Distinguished Scholars at Birmingham-Southern

  • Belk and Charles Scholarships at Davidson College

  • Duke Scholarship at Furman

  • Hays Memorial and Hendrix Scholarships at Hendrix College

  • National Alumni Scholarship and Dowdy Scholarship at North Carolina A&T

  • Park Scholarship at NC State

  • Engagement, Oglethorpe, and Theatre Scholarships at Oglethorpe University

  • Presidential Scholarship at St. Louis University

  • Elberson, Chatham/Davis/Weyand/Womble/Whitaker, and Davis Art Scholarships at Salem College

  • President's Scholars Program at Southern Methodist

  • Chancellors Scholarship at TCU

  • Academic Elite Scholarship at Alabama

  • Foundation Fellowship and Ramsey Honors at UGA

  • Tier One at University of Houston

  • Singletary and Presidential Scholarships at University of Kentucky

  • Brown Fellows at Louisville

  • Levine Scholars at UNC Charlotte

  • Richmond Scholars at University of Richmond

  • Forty Acres and Dedman Distinguished Scholars at UT-Austin

  • McDermott Scholars at UT-Dallas

  • Richardson Scholarship at Wofford

  • Neely Scholarship at Lewis and Clark College

  • Arrupe and Trustee Scholarships at Loyola Marymount

  • Global Merit Scholarship at Soka University of America

  • Regents Scholarship at University of Hawaii

  • New Generation Scholarship at Scripps College

  • Presidential, Founders, Capstone, and Legacy Scholarships at Howard University

  • Brown Scholars at Southwestern University

  • Presidential Leadership Scholarship at the University of Montana

  • EC Scholars Program at East Carolina

  • Benaquisto Scholarship at Florida public universities

  • Kenan Music Scholars and Chancellor's Science Scholars at UNC Charlotte

What About Scholarships That Aren't From A Particular School?

Here's a list of other full ride or major scholarships ($100K+) that aren't dependent on what school you go to. You can find more like this on scholarship search sites like those I linked at the end of the list.

  • Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship (must be a golf caddie)

  • JPMorgan — Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start Program (New York City residents)

  • Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship (awarded primarily on merit but includes need assessment)

  • Microsoft Tuition Scholarship (current college students only, high school students are not eligible)

  • USDA/1890 National Scholars Program (must plan to attend a historically black college)

  • Regeneron Science Talent Search (science competition)

  • Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway (up to $100k in tuition, enter by making a Facebook video)

  • Flinn Foundation Scholarships (Arizona residents planning to attend an Arizona school)

  • Army ROTC Scholarships (must agree to an 8 year service commitment in the Army). Note that the Air Force and Navy have similar programs as well.

  • SMART — Science, Mathematics & Research for Transformation (STEM students who want to work in national defense. Must pass security clearance)

  • Gates Scholarship (must be URM or otherwise disadvantaged)

  • Eli Lilly Endowment (Indiana residents only)

  • Colorado Garden Show Scholarship (must major in botanically related fields)

  • The Cameron Impact Scholarship

Here's another good list to review

And here's a guide to how to apply to dozens of scholarships without going insane.

Here's another post with some scholarship lists

Stamps And QuestBridge

The Stamps Scholarship is a nationally prestigious merit scholarship program. Iterations of this scholarship exist at 43 schools including many highly ranked ones. It is well worth checking out.

QuestBridge is a program that helps low income but high achieving students go to college for free. It literally sounds too good to be true. Students apply to a whole list of colleges at once and rank their choices. They then receive results in an Early Action round and are eligible for a second consideration in Regular Decision. Students who match a college are awarded a full ride scholarship. You can find all of the details here.

What if I'm an International Student?

One of the most painful things about being international is the number of scholarships and other programs that only state in the fine print that they are limited to domestic students only. Below are two lists that will save you some time because all of these are open to internationals. You can search the lists or just scroll through them.

Here's one for international students.

And here's another good list for internationals

If you have questions feel free to reach out to me by PM or at www.bettercollegeapps.com. Again keep in mind that every scholarship in this post is going to be insanely competitive and your odds of winning are about the same or worse as getting in to HYPSM. But this community is full of people who would be competitive for these, so please go research them and apply! Many are worth $200k+. Go get it A2C.

FAQs

How to increase the chances of getting a full ride scholarship? ›

With that in mind, there are a few ways to increase the likelihood of earning a full-ride.
  1. Start Preparing Early.
  2. Strive For Academic Excellence.
  3. Choose Challenging Courses.
  4. Develop & Hone Your Leadership Skills.
  5. Participate In Extracurricular Activities.
  6. Get Involved In Your Community.
  7. Build Relationships With Your Mentors.
Dec 22, 2022

How rare is it to get a full ride scholarship? ›

One estimate is 1% to 1.5%. On the other hand, someone has to be awarded the full-ride scholarships so why not you? And you can't get one if you don't apply! It's also smart to have a backup financial plan for college, just in case.

What happens if you get a scholarship and don t go to college? ›

Many times if the student has not enrolled in classes during those 12 months, it expires. In almost all cases, scholarships are put directly towards your college's tuition and expenses, rather than a check sent to you. If you choose not to go to school, it will not be put in a savings account for later use.

What do full ride scholarships look for? ›

Most students earn full ride scholarships because of their academic history, athletic prowess, leadership or merit. But other types of these scholarships can be offered by schools for different reasons, and they can be offered by the school, state or federal government or by private organizations.

Can you negotiate a full ride scholarship? ›

Can You Really Negotiate Scholarships? The simple answer to this is yes! While it may not be talked about very often, it is definitely something that can be done. Colleges will make initial offers to a number of students during their first round of admissions.

What percent of people get full ride scholarships? ›

Full-ride scholarships are awarded to only about 0.1% of students (Wignall, 2021). Nearly just as rare are full-tuition scholarships, which are awarded to only 1.5% of students (ThinkImpact, 2021). A regular high school student may have the qualifications for as many as 50 to 100 scholarships (Dickler, 2021).

What is the hardest scholarship to get? ›

Top 10 Hardest Scholarships to Get
  • Rhodes Scholarship.
  • Fullbright Scholarship.
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
  • Princeton Scholarship.
  • Mitchell Scholarship.
  • Churchill Scholarship.
  • Marshall Scholarship.
  • Jardine Scholarship.
Sep 23, 2020

What GPA can get you a full-ride scholarship? ›

Since the minimum GPA for a full-ride scholarship is usually set at 3.5, a 4.0 is sure to always be above and beyond what's required. Keep in mind that while a strong GPA does help, it's not the only deciding factor.

How do you get a full-ride scholarship with a low GPA? ›

How to get a scholarship when your grades 'suck'
  1. Play the scholarship “lotto” ...
  2. Go for “no” or “low” GPA scholarships. ...
  3. Tap your parents' network. ...
  4. Pre-package your application materials. ...
  5. Use social media. ...
  6. Embrace failure.
Jan 12, 2019

What information should you never give out when applying for a scholarship? ›

If an application asks for money, walk away. Don't give out bank or credit card information. Any financial data you provide should come from IRS or FAFSA data. Legitimate providers do not ask for bank information.

Can you ask a college for more scholarship money? ›

Put It in Writing

Ask the school if it can offer more scholarship money to make your attendance more feasible. Applicants should use family circumstances as compelling reasons for the school to reconsider. A substantial income change, medical issues, or childcare expenses could help sway the decision in your favor.

What happens if you get too much scholarship money? ›

If you earned scholarships and grants that add up to more than your total cost of attendance, your school may send you a refund of the leftover scholarship money. Keep in mind, you may have to pay taxes on that amount.

Should I put full ride scholarship on resume? ›

If you have received any scholarships, grants or bursaries, it is a good idea to mention them on your resume. When doing this, make sure that you list the awards and the reasons you received them.

How hard is it to get a scholarship? ›

Odds of Winning a Scholarship

Only about 1 in 8 college students wins a scholarship, and the average amount used to pay for college is about $4,200 a year. Very few students win $25,000 or more in scholarships each year (only about 0.1%). Among the students who win scholarships, 97% win $2,500 or less.

Does a full ride athletic scholarship cover everything? ›

The biggest difference between full rides and other scholarships is that a “full ride” will cover all college expenses (not just tuition). This comprehensive scholarship will help with books, fees, tuition, room and board, dining and other expenses you may have to attend college.

Can I ask a college for a full ride? ›

Although awards that cover your tuition and all expenses are highly-competitive, it's possible to get a full-ride scholarship if you excel in academics, sports, or leadership, and can demonstrate this excellence effectively in your application.

What to say when a college coach offers you a scholarship? ›

When a coach gives an offer, make sure you thank them for the opportunity, and let them know you are interested in their program. It's perfectly acceptable to tell the coach that you need some time to think it over, and ask them when they need your response.

How do I ask my coach for more scholarship money? ›

Athletes should ask for more money through a letter or phone call to the college coach. Before you reach out to a coach who has shown interest and asking for a larger scholarship, it is important to know whether the sport you play is an equivalency program or a head-count program.

Which schools give the most full rides? ›

Top National Schools That Offer Full-Ride Scholarships
  • University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois) ...
  • Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) ...
  • Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee) ...
  • University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, Indiana) ...
  • Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia)
Oct 7, 2022

Can a coach take away your scholarship? ›

Coaches can decide not to renew your scholarship for the next year. This isn't a case of the scholarship being “taken away” since they are typically only year-long contracts, but it can still come as a surprise to some student-athletes.

Who decides who gets a scholarship? ›

Here is how the award process often works. A student applies to a school, and the admission office decides whether to accept the applicant. If the school gives merit scholarships, the decision typically will be made during the acceptance process, usually based on the student's grades and test scores.

What is the easiest type of scholarship to get? ›

Some colleges, especially private schools, automatically consider each applicant for a merit-based scholarship, which is awarded during the acceptance process. These types of scholarships are often the easiest to obtain, since they do not require a separate application.

What major has the most scholarships? ›

The best opportunities might surprise you.
  • STEM Majors. For those who are unfamiliar with the acronym, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. ...
  • English Majors. ...
  • Accounting and Business. ...
  • Teaching. ...
  • Future Scholarship-Yielding Majors?

Who wins Coca Cola scholarship? ›

The scholarships offered by the Coca-Cola Scholars Program are awarded to high school seniors based on their achievements. Therefore, awardees are recognized for their leadership capabilities, commitment to and impact on their schools and communities.

Where is the best place to look for scholarships? ›

Try these free sources of information about scholarships:
  • the financial aid office at a college or career school.
  • a high school or TRIO counselor.
  • the U.S. Department of Labor's FREE scholarship search tool.
  • federal agencies.
  • your state grant agency.
  • your library's reference section.

Do grades matter for scholarships? ›

While some scholarships are based on a student's GPA, most scholarship aren't only about a student's GPA. Rather, providers use grade point averages as a piece of scholarship qualification criteria (For example, the details may note, “Students must have a 3.0 GPA or above to apply.”)

When should my child start applying for scholarships? ›

The federal student aid office recommends students begin applying to scholarships at least the summer break before their final academic year of high school, but applying even earlier can make you eligible for many scholarships.

What is the lowest GPA to get a scholarship? ›

Some scholarship committees only consider applicants whose GPA meets a certain threshold. Minimum requirements range from around 2.0 on the lower end to 3.75 or higher for competitive academic scholarships. Generally speaking, a 3.0 GPA or higher will give you a decent shot at qualifying for a variety of scholarships.

What GPA do I have to keep to not lose my scholarship? ›

To be eligible for federal student aid and college financial aid, a student must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). This generally consists of maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (i.e., at least a C average) and passing enough classes with progress toward a degree.

What is considered a good scholarship? ›

It could be 25% of your one-year's tuition fee or $5,000-$10,000. You might get a $50,000+ scholarship and should consider yourself lucky if you get any amount above $15,000. The better and more robust your student profile, the larger amount you will get. Don't ignore smaller scholarships that offer $500-$1000.

What can make you lose your scholarship? ›

If you spend the scholarship on something other than what the scholarship is for, you could lost it. GPA – If the scholarship required a minimum grade point average to qualify or to maintain the scholarship and you fall below, you could lose the scholarship.

What should you not talk about in a scholarship essay? ›

Don't use words like “finally”, “in sum” or “in conclusion”. Don't repeat or sum up in any way. Don't start too many sentences with the word “I”. Don't tell the reader explicitly, “I am a unique and interesting person.” Instead, let the reader glean this from your unique and interesting essay.

How do you get rejected from scholarships? ›

Why do scholarship applications get rejected? Scholarship applications are rejected for several reasons. It could be that the essays submitted weren't as high in quality as those submitted by other candidates, poor GPA, low amounts of extracurricular activities, neglecting to submit all required materials, etc.

Is there a limit on how many scholarships you can get? ›

There is no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply for, and you actually should apply to many. Scholarship awards can vary greatly, so you might apply for a few scholarships with huge awards, and you might also apply for some that are only worth a few hundred dollars.

How many scholarships should I apply for to get money? ›

The short answer is that you should apply to as many as you can, as early as you can. This means that you need to be looking early, and finding out when deadlines are. But remember, you don't want to make a career out of scholarship searching and application.

How many scholarships is a good amount? ›

For those that want solid numbers, on average, many of the students I work with are applying for anywhere between 3-7+ scholarships, each, per week. Some weeks those numbers are much higher, and other weeks students are preparing or taking the week off to recharge mentally.

Can you get enough scholarships to pay for college? ›

Many parents and students believe the myth that a student can fully pay for college tuition with just a few scholarships. Sadly, this is not the case. While scholarships can definitely be helpful and can go a long way towards paying tuition, it is extremely rare for it to cover the entire cost.

How to get big scholarships? ›

13 Best Tips for Winning College Scholarships
  1. Apply for local scholarships. ...
  2. Apply for scholarships with smaller awards. ...
  3. More work = fewer applicants = better chances. ...
  4. Get personal. ...
  5. Don't introduce yourself in your essay. ...
  6. Don't repeat the essay prompt. ...
  7. Don't use quotes. ...
  8. Satisfy all the requirements.
Mar 28, 2016

How to increase the chances of getting a full-ride scholarship? ›

With that in mind, there are a few ways to increase the likelihood of earning a full-ride.
  1. Start Preparing Early.
  2. Strive For Academic Excellence.
  3. Choose Challenging Courses.
  4. Develop & Hone Your Leadership Skills.
  5. Participate In Extracurricular Activities.
  6. Get Involved In Your Community.
  7. Build Relationships With Your Mentors.
Dec 22, 2022

Is it good to apply for a lot of scholarships? ›

Too Many Scholarships Affect Financial Aid

Basically, the more outside scholarship money you get, the less money the school itself will give you. While this may sound like a let down, it does make sense. Earning outside money means you have less financial need.

What is the difference between a full tuition scholarship and a full-ride? ›

A full-ride scholarship is an award that covers the entire cost of college. That includes tuition, room and board, textbooks, school materials, and sometimes even living costs and study abroad fees. The details can change from scholarship to scholarship, but in essence, the full-ride covers more than just tuition.

How rare is it to get a full scholarship? ›

How hard is it to get a full ride scholarship? Less than 1 percent of students get full ride scholarships, showing just how difficult it is to earn one. However, with the right background, proper planning and by knowing where to look, your chances of landing a full ride scholarship can increase.

What percent of people get a full scholarship? ›

Full-ride scholarships are awarded to only about 0.1% of students (Wignall, 2021). Nearly just as rare are full-tuition scholarships, which are awarded to only 1.5% of students (ThinkImpact, 2021). A regular high school student may have the qualifications for as many as 50 to 100 scholarships (Dickler, 2021).

How much does the average person get in scholarships? ›

The average institutional scholarship award is $6,335. About four in 10 scholarship recipients received funds from their state, with an average award of over $2,362.

What percent of D1 athletes get full rides? ›

The NCAA awards more than $2.9 billion in athletics scholarships annually. 48% of students receive federal scholarships. Only 1.3% of athletes receive a full or partial athletic scholarship. An average scholarship for athletes is around $5,000.

How many student-athletes get a full ride? ›

NCAA Divisions I and II schools provide more than $3.6 billion in athletics scholarships annually to more than 180,000 student-athletes. Division III schools do not offer athletics scholarships. Only about two-percent of high school athletes are awarded athletics scholarships to compete in college.

How do you get a full ride scholarship with a low GPA? ›

How to get a scholarship when your grades 'suck'
  1. Play the scholarship “lotto” ...
  2. Go for “no” or “low” GPA scholarships. ...
  3. Tap your parents' network. ...
  4. Pre-package your application materials. ...
  5. Use social media. ...
  6. Embrace failure.
Jan 12, 2019

What GPA will get me a full-ride? ›

A 4.0 Grade Point Average is not only a high GPA, it's an impressive GPA that's sure to catch the eyes of many scholarship providers. Since the minimum GPA for a full-ride scholarship is usually set at 3.5, a 4.0 is sure to always be above and beyond what's required.

What is the average GPA for a full-ride scholarship? ›

Minimum requirements range from around 2.0 on the lower end to 3.75 or higher for competitive academic scholarships. Generally speaking, a 3.0 GPA or higher will give you a decent shot at qualifying for a variety of scholarships.

How hard is it to get a full-ride sports scholarship? ›

How do you get a full-ride athletic scholarship? Most student-athletes do not receive a full-ride scholarship—in fact, only 1 percent do. Still, full-ride scholarships as the goal for many athletes, as they typically cover tuition and fees, books, room and board, supplies, and sometimes even living expenses.

What is the average SAT score for full ride scholarships? ›

So you're probably wondering, What's a good SAT score for scholarships, and how can I find them? The short answer is that you should aim for an SAT score between 1200 and 1600 if you want to secure some scholarships based on merit–and the higher within that range you score the more money you're looking at.

What GPA do you need for a d1 scholarship? ›

To be academically eligible for a DI scholarship your student-athlete needs to have at least a 2.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale. However, it's not quite as simple as looking at their transcript and checking the overall GPA.

What is the hardest sport to get recruited for college? ›

Most Competitive Sports for Recruitment
  • Football. This is the most popular sport in the country, and the most difficult to get recruited for. ...
  • Baseball/Softball. America's pastime shares much the same fate as football, but both genders can participate in this one. ...
  • Men's Wrestling. ...
  • Track and Field. ...
  • Fencing. ...
  • Women's Crew.
Nov 4, 2022

What sport is the easiest to get a full ride scholarship? ›

Easiest Men's Scholarships to Earn
  • Lacrosse: 12.6% chance of earning a scholarship. ...
  • Ice Hockey: 12.1% chance of earning a scholarship. ...
  • Baseball: 11.5% chance of earning a scholarship. ...
  • Football: 7.1% chance of earning a scholarship. ...
  • Swimming: 7.0% chance of earning a scholarship.
Nov 10, 2021

Can a college coach take away a scholarship? ›

Coaches can pull a scholarship mid-year for 3 reasons: 1) you are ineligible, 2) misrepresent information in a university document or 3) withdrawal from the team. The interpretation of these rules falls to the university and the coach.

What not to say in a scholarship essay? ›

Don't use words like “finally”, “in sum” or “in conclusion”. Don't repeat or sum up in any way. Don't start too many sentences with the word “I”. Don't tell the reader explicitly, “I am a unique and interesting person.” Instead, let the reader glean this from your unique and interesting essay.

How do I make my scholarship application look good? ›

Scholarship Application Essay Tips
  1. Plan ahead. Don't procrastinate! ...
  2. Talk about your accomplishments. Be clear and to the point. ...
  3. State your need. What is your financial situation? ...
  4. Keep it simple. Don't use unnecessary words (i.e., don't use three words when one will do) ...
  5. Make it easy on your reader.

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