With an excellent education comes financial expenses. However, a full-ride scholarship could take care of all your college-related costs. We’ll explain full rides, including schools offering them, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to get a full-ride scholarship.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it; college can be expensive. You can mitigate the costs through student loans and grants or receive a full-ride scholarship. But what is a full-ride scholarship? These scholarships cover your full tuition, living, application, and book/material costs.
Moreover, many full-ride scholarship programs include an enrichment fund. This additional fund covers the costs of any retreats or summer experience programs you may wish to attend. With our step-by-step guide, you’ll understand how to get a full-ride scholarship; let’s jump in!
Getting a full-ride scholarship for college means demonstrating excellence in and outside the classroom. These steps will reveal how you can position yourself as the ideal full-ride scholarship applicant.
Striving for continued academic excellence may be the most challenging part of getting a full-ride scholarship. However, a high GPA is even more impressive when you participate in the most challenging coursework available to you. AP classes or the IB program can help you elevate your transcript!
Gaining hands-on experience through volunteer positions, internships, or entry-level jobs gives you an edge when applying for full-ride scholarships. Work experience demonstrates your achievements in real-world situations.
Here’s a list of excellent work opportunities available to high schoolers expressing an early interest in a specific disciple:
Through hard work and personability, you may gain enough of an employer’s confidence to secure a letter of recommendation. Recommendations are often requirements for full-ride application programs!
Being an active member of your academic community displays your commitment to becoming an equally eager participant at school. While the availability of clubs depends on your school, some of the most common and impressive extracurriculars include:
You can also gain leadership experience through these offerings! You can offer to help organize meet-ups, plan a fundraiser, or even start a new club (if there’s demand and your school doesn’t offer it).
Being a good citizen is a considerable part of being a student worthy of a full-ride scholarship for college. Here’s a quick list of places you can find volunteer experiences you can find in your area:
These charitable endeavors display your personability, strong values, and benevolence. Good deeds early on indicate more good deeds in college and beyond.
When getting involved with your local community, the best policy is to participate in charitable actions that align with your genuine values. This sincerity will help guide your future ambitions at and after college.
Deft powers of articulation are the glue that holds your leadership, scholarship, and charitable skills together as an impressive collective. To get a full-ride scholarship, you’ll undergo a lengthy application and interview process.
A firm grasp of written and communication skills allow you to best present your academic and practical excellence. You can sharpen your interview skills by going through each experience or achievement listed on your CV and explaining what you learned or gained.
As for written skills, use resources like essay guides and guides on argumentative writing. When applying to colleges, investing in application support and feedback is another great asset.
Many professional admissions counselors have experience with full-ride scholarship applications and can help you edit yours to showcase your best self!
Some full-ride scholarships you may automatically be considered for, depending on the school. However, if you do need to apply for a full-ride scholarship, you’ll likely need the following:
You may also need to participate in a scholarship interview and provide other materials as needed (such as financial aid forms, if applicable). Always check the school’s website for more information on application pieces and deadlines!
Not all schools offer full-ride scholarships, though many do! However, full-ride scholarships are rare among the most competitive colleges. Here’s a list of some of the top full-ride scholarships offered by the nation’s best schools:
Duke University is a private institution located in Durham, North Carolina. U.S. News World and Report ranks Duke as the tenth-best national university. Students are required to live on campus for the first three years of attendance.
The school also offers the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program, which “provides eight semesters of full tuition, room and board, and most mandatory fees for Scholars at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill.” The scholarship also provides funding for up to three summer experiences, conferences, and two semesters of study abroad.
As the name suggests, the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program is for students who demonstrate leadership skills and academic excellence. A few other specific program expectations include:
The Robertson program expects continued academic excellence from its recipients. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required at the end of your first year. Recipients must have a minimum 3.30 GPA at the end of every other year.
The school offers the Stamps Scholarship, which recognizes select students who:
These students receive financial support for the total cost of attendance for four years. They can also apply for an enrichment fund of up to $12,000.
You may only be given a full-ride scholarship with the Stamps Scholarship after being invited to apply. The top 1.5% of entering first-year students are eligible and must be California residents.
The university offers the Jefferson Scholarship and the Walentas Scholarship. Both scholarships cover the total cost of attendance with support for enrichment opportunities such as foreign travel, career development, alumni connections, and an exploratory fund.
You may only apply for the Jefferson or Walentas Scholarship after being nominated by your high school based on your demonstrated leadership, scholarship, and citizenship.
Indiana University at Bloomington is a public institution with a thriving community bound together by sports and Greek life. In fact, the Indiana Hoosiers Division I basketball team has won five NCAA championships. The school is ranked as the 72nd-best national university and offers the Wells Scholarship.
The Wells Scholarship Program covers attendance costs and provides extra financial support for summer grants, studies abroad, or extracurricular activities.
You must be nominated by a counselor or administrator from your high school. Alternatively, you may self-nominate via email, though you’ll still have to include a recommendation from a counselor or administrator.
Winners must complete 12 credit hours of coursework per semester and maintain a cumulative/semester GPA of at least 3.40.
The actual dollar value of a full-ride scholarship is contingent upon many factors, such as your school choice, your area’s cost of living, and the price of your books. Whatever your total sum might be, a full-ride scholarship covers all school attendance costs.
A full-ride scholarship essentially gives you free passage to a bachelor’s degree. Along with free education and housing, a full-ride scholarship has many secondary benefits, such as the following.
Since a full-ride scholarship takes care of tuition and housing costs, you can attend more expensive schools and live in more expensive cities. While financial considerations may have kept you from attending a preferred school, these scholarships remove obstacles.
Working to fund your schooling is no longer needed with a full-ride scholarship. While you may still work, you don’t need to worry about living costs. Instead, you can spend more time on your studies, extracurricular activities, or internship opportunities.
You can save income for after college when you may have to pay your own living costs. Additionally, you can spend some money on recreation, mitigating the stresses of student life. As wonderful as a full-ride scholarship already sounds, many implicit benefits increase its value beyond a mere dollar figure.
Still have questions about how to get a full-ride scholarship? Then check out these FAQs!
A full-ride scholarship is primarily merit-based financial assistance covering the costs of attending a school, including tuition, living, book and materials costs, and other fees. Full-tuition scholarships only cover tuition costs.
There are many types of scholarships with different criteria and dollar values (most don’t cover full tuition). Other scholarship types include:
Most often, these scholarship types are not mutually exclusive; it’s common to find scholarships that blend these types!
Many full-ride programs listed above emphasize their annual acceptance rates of less than 1%.
Any extracurriculars related to your interests and passions are best. However, finding leadership experience can help show selection committees that you’re a stellar candidate!
A full-ride scholarship covers full tuition costs, living expenses, books/materials, and other fees. Some scholarships also offer enrichment funds to offer students exciting opportunities, such as summer or study-abroad programs.
It depends – some schools may not require SAT scores as part of eligibility requirements. However, scholarships like the Wells Scholarship Program state that an (optional) SAT score of 1430 or higher helps. Always check requirements!
Full-ride scholarships are awarded to students with very high GPAs. While ranges vary, we suggest striving for an unweighted GPA as close to 4.0 as possible.
Now that you know more about how to get a full-ride scholarship, you can put your all into every application. While acceptance rates are low, our advice above can help you become a more competitive applicant.
Remember that someone has to win a full-ride scholarship; why can’t it be you? Good luck!