If you have been on the market for college financial aid, chances are you have come across the term “merit scholarship.” If this term has you confused, don’t be. Simply put, merit scholarships award accomplishments. Sometimes merit-based scholarships take financial need into consideration, but, generally speaking, they reward accomplishments, or merit. There are three broad types of merit scholarships: academic, athletic, and artistic.
These are the most common types of merit scholarships. Students who win academic scholarships are being rewarded for good grades or some other academic accomplishment. That could be for a student graduating at the top of his or her class, maintaining a stellar GPA, winning a science fair, or writing an essay that wows the judges. Scholarship committees often also factor in extracurricular activities, community service, and leadership skills. These awards are usually intended for students graduating high school and entering their first year of high school. Often they provide money for all four years of education and can be quite generous, sometimes completely covering a student’s tuition and fees. Awards like these can make all the long hours of studying feel worthwhile.
As difficult as academic scholarships can be to receive, athletic scholarships may be even more difficult. It is easy for a student to show the college they want to attend what his or her GPA is, but it is more difficult to get them to notice his or her athletic skills. Often a coach needs to nominate a gifted student athlete or get a college scout to notice them. But, once a student is noticed, there are many lucrative opportunities out there that will oftentimes give the student a full ride through college.
And don’t think it is only football, basketball, and baseball programs that offer the best athletic scholarships. There are scholarships opportunities for all types of sports, from basketball to volleyball, football to water polo.
Just like with academic and athletic scholarships, students receiving an artistic merit scholarship must demonstrate a talent and excel in its execution. This time, of course, it will be in the arts. Art scholarships usually cater to one artistic field, such as writing, photography, music, visual arts, fashion, or acting.
Also like athletic scholarships, art scholarships require applicants to take some extra steps to get noticed. Students are usually required to submit some samples of their artwork in a portfolio. This portfolio might be a collection of short stories, a series of watercolors, or a recording of the applicant singing. Just be sure the materials submitted match the criteria for the scholarship. It wouldn’t be smart to submit a sample of music for a photography scholarship.
This has been a broad outline of the different types of merit scholarships out there that make it is clear there is money out there for talented students. It will take some research to find the awards that match your talents, but doing so can pay off in big ways.