15 Best Merit Scholarships To Apply For – For outstanding students, the opportunity to qualify for the best merit scholarships presents itself as an excellent means to reduce expenses related to tuition, fees, and room and board. Understandably, the expenses associated with a college education may appear unattainable for many students.
However, there are various avenues to alleviate the financial burden. Options such as grants, work-study programs, and student loans can contribute to reducing the overall cost of obtaining a degree. In this article, we aim to explain the concept of what merit scholarships are while presenting some of the 15 best merit scholarship programs.
What is A Merit Scholarship?
A merit scholarship is also known as a merit-based scholarship. It constitutes a form of financial assistance that effectively reduces the financial burden of attending college. Additionally, merit-based scholarships acknowledge exceptional accomplishments in various domains.
These may encompass academic excellence, artistic proficiency, athletic prowess, community service involvement, and leadership in extracurricular pursuits. However, it is worth noting that certain merit scholarship programs also consider financial need as a criterion for eligibility.
Also, some merit scholarships represent one-time awards. The most competitive and generous ones, bestowed upon students who demonstrate exceptional achievements across multiple facets, are renewable throughout the entirety of their college tenure.
15 Best Merit Scholarships to Apply For
To discover merit scholarships provided by external entities, conduct online searches using the term “merit scholarships”. Also, combined with your particular area of expertise or interest, such as “community service merit scholarships” or “writing merit scholarships.” Additionally, for those seeking the best merit scholarships, commence your exploration, our top 15 list
National Merit Scholarship
The National Merit Scholarship Program grants financial awards to U.S. citizens or permanent residents currently enrolled in high school. These individuals undertake the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) during their junior year or earlier.
However, high scorers—approximately 16,000—are identified as semifinalists. Subsequently, 15,000 of these semifinalists attain the status of finalists by meeting specific academic and other qualifying criteria.
Also, out of the finalists, 800 receive Special Scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s (NMSC’s) corporate partners. While the remaining 7,250 finalists are awarded one of three types of distinctions: a one-time $2,500 National Merit Scholarship from NMSC, a corporate-sponsored scholarship, or a college-sponsored scholarship.
Undoubtedly, National Merit Scholarships are highly esteemed accolades, which makes them one of the best merit scholarships you can apply for.
Davidson Institute Fellows Scholarships
Another 15 best merit scholarships to apply for is The Davidson Institute. It is a nonprofit organization. It is dedicated to serving profoundly gifted students who have achieved in the 99.9th percentile on both IQ and achievement tests.
Annually, the institute bestows awards of $10,000, $25,000, and $50,000 upon high-achieving students who have completed a substantial piece of work.
Lastly, applicants are allowed to apply as teams, but all team members must meet the stipulated requirements. Note: Eligibility criteria include being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident aged 18 years or younger as of the application deadline, with no specified minimum age for eligibility.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarships
The highly competitive Jack Kent Cooke College Scholarship Program presents an opportunity for high school seniors with financial need to receive up to $55,000, coupled with college-prep advising and networking opportunities.
Also, eligibility criteria include having a family annual gross income below $95,000, maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.5, and the intention to enroll in a four-year college or university.
Applicants are required to demonstrate qualities such as being a positive role model and a leader in community service. Additionally, it involves submitting the Common App and designating the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation as one of your schools.
Lastly, applicants are required to provide several short essays, a list of extracurricular activities, awards and honors, their intended major, financial information, and two letters of recommendation.
Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation program
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation bestows a notable $20,000 merit prize upon 150 high school seniors annually. Hence, it’s considered one of the best merit scholarships you can apply for.
However, this scholarship is designed to honor students who have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, exhibit strong leadership qualities, and showcase a fervent dedication to both school and community service, along with a commitment to social justice.
In addition, the selection process involves several stages, incorporating essays during the semifinal stage. And interviews for those fortunate enough to advance to the finalist stage.
Cameron Impact Scholarship
The Cameron Impact Scholarship stands out as a prestigious four-year merit award encompassing full coverage of tuition, fees, and books at any accredited college or university in the United States.
In addition, the scholarship is bestowed upon up to 15 high school students annually. It recognizes their outstanding achievements in academics (with a minimum 3.7 cumulative GPA). Also, active involvement in extracurricular activities, leadership qualities, and dedicated community service.
However, eligibility for this scholarship requires a demonstrated commitment to making a direct positive impact on both local and global communities during and after college.
The Gates Scholarship
The Gates Scholarship acknowledges 300 exceptional high school seniors annually who exhibit remarkable leadership in extracurricular pursuits and/or community involvement.
However, candidates must be of African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American descent. Also, they must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 and secure a position within the top 10% of their graduating class.
Furthermore, eligible recipients receive coverage for any remaining expenses related to attendance that are not already addressed by other scholarships, financial aid, or their family’s contribution, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), for a duration of up to five years.
Additionally, the scholarship offers various support services, encompassing academic assistance, mentorship, and training in financial literacy.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship offers substantial financial aid of up to $7,500 for candidates aspiring to embark on a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
However, it is open to U.S. citizens who are college sophomores or juniors, hold a minimum GPA of 3.0, and express a commitment to pursue graduate-level research in the natural sciences, engineering, or mathematics.
Furthermore, the application process involves an initial nomination by a Goldwater campus representative and includes several essential components. In addition, its components comprise a detailed profile and pre-application, a comprehensive questionnaire, a research essay, as well as letters of recommendation and transcripts.
Fulbright Foreign Student Program
The Fulbright Foreign Student Program facilitates the opportunity for graduate students, young professionals, and artists from foreign countries to engage in research and study in the United States for one year or more.
Also, participants can pursue their academic and professional goals at U.S. universities or other suitable institutions.
Furthermore, the Fulbright program receives comprehensive funding throughout the entirety of their study. However, this funding encompasses various elements such as tuition, textbooks, airfare, a living stipend, and health insurance.
Carson Scholars Fund
The Carson Scholars Fund identifies students in grades 4–11 who showcase exceptional academic achievements and a strong commitment to community service. Annually, selected students receive a $1,000 scholarship.
However, applicants must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.75 to be eligible. Also, the application process doesn’t allow for direct submissions. Instead, students must be nominated by an educator at their school, with only one nominee permitted per school each year.
In addition, the application requirements encompass an information form, recommendation letters from teachers, proof of community service involvement, and a reflective essay.
The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship
General Electric collaborates with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute to identify high school seniors who are U.S. citizens and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. However, candidates receive a $10,000 scholarship, renewable for up to three additional years, resulting in a potential total of $40,000.
Additionally, eligible candidates are required to exhibit distinguished leadership, ambition, motivation, reliability, and integrity. Furthermore, they must provide tangible proof of their dedication to civic engagement and pride in both their school and workplace.
Moreover, scholarship recipients partake in an all-expenses retreat in California and benefit from ongoing leadership support throughout their college endeavors.
Equitable Excellence Scholarship
Equitable Foundation annually bestows $5,000 scholarships, renewable for up to four years, upon 100 students. Another 100 students receive one-time scholarships of $2,500.
Nevertheless, these scholarships are specifically designed to cover tuition, room, and board, as well as book expenses. However, the organization extends support to scholars through mentoring, networking opportunities, and professional development initiatives.
Moreover, there are additional benefits for those connected with the recipients. For instance, high schools receive a $500 grant when a student wins either a renewable or one-time scholarship.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) throughout the United States provides scholarships to high school seniors who meet certain criteria annually.
However, eligible candidates must be U.S. residents, younger than 21, exhibit solid academic achievement with a minimum 2.7 GPA, demonstrate financial need, and reside in proximity to a participating RMHC chapter.
In addition, it commences at $1,000 and can extend to substantial amounts, reaching up to $100,000. Recipients have the flexibility to apply the scholarship funds to cover expenses such as tuition, fees, books, and supplies.
National Honor Society Scholarships
The National Honor Society (NHS) is another best 15 merit scholarships to apply for. It recognizes high-achieving students who have already showcased academic excellence. Also, a commitment to community service, leadership, and exemplary character. For seniors actively involved in their NHS chapter, there is an opportunity to apply for a nonrenewable merit scholarship from the NHS.
Also, 575 semifinalists will be selected to receive $3,200 each, while 24 national finalists will be granted $5,625. Also, one outstanding national finalist will receive an impressive $25,000. National finalists also gain the additional benefit of an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, participating in a weeklong scholarship event with a focus on leadership.
The Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship
The Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship grants 500 high school seniors annually. It recognizes those with exceptional academic accomplishments, community service, leadership qualities, and demonstrated financial need.
Typically, recipients receive $1,000 per year, totaling $4,000 throughout their college tenure. However, 20 finalists undergo a weekend of interviews, competing for awards ranging from $5,000 per year (a total of $20,000) to $12,500 per year (a total of $50,000).
Moreover, applicants must be U.S. citizens and submit an application, an essay, and financial information. The Elks Foundation also sponsors various other scholarship programs at the local, district, and state levels. Prospective candidates are encouraged to explore lodges in their vicinity to determine eligibility for these additional awards.
The Burger King Scholars Program
The Burger King Scholarship acknowledges academic prowess and active leadership in community service. Also, athletics, and/or extracurricular engagements, work experience, and financial need.
However, to be eligible, applicants must be citizens of the U.S. Or Canada residing in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam, or Canada. Also, they should be high school seniors with a minimum GPA of at least 2.0.
Finally, the Burger King Foundation extends scholarship opportunities not only to eligible individuals but also to employees and their family members.
There you have it. The above are the best 15 merit scholarships to apply for this year. You can apply for any of the above-listed scholarships and stand the chance of achieving your educational goals.