Merit scholarships are a great way to make college more affordable, but there’s often more to them than meets the eye.
With so many different types of merit scholarships available, it can be hard to keep up with the latest information.
In this blog post, we’ll share nine things you didn’t know about merit scholarships, so you can better understand their benefits and how to make the most of them.
Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of merit-based aid.
1) You don’t have to be perfect
The idea of a merit scholarship can be intimidating. Many students think they have to have perfect grades, have high SAT scores, or have countless volunteer hours to qualify.
This is simply not true. Merit scholarships can be awarded for various reasons that don’t always have to do with academics.
It is important to remember that no one is perfect and there are plenty of merit scholarships out there for those who don’t fit the traditional mold of an “ideal” student.
Look into the criteria for the scholarship you are applying for and see what kind of applicants are being looked for.
There are merit scholarships for all sorts of different things like leadership, sports, community service, and more. Don’t be afraid to apply just because you don’t feel like you fit the “perfect” student image.
2) You can apply for more than one
Merit scholarships are available from a variety of sources, such as schools, nonprofits, and companies.
You can apply for multiple merit scholarships at the same time, but you will need to make sure you meet the criteria for each one.
Some organizations may have their own application process and deadlines, so it’s important to read all of the instructions carefully before submitting your application.
And if you’re applying for more than one scholarship, make sure you don’t use the same essay or other material for each application.
When applying for multiple scholarships, it’s important to keep track of your deadlines and applications so you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
3) They’re not just for academic achievement
Many people think that merit scholarships are just for students who excel academically. However, this isn’t the case!
While academic performance is usually an important factor in determining a student’s eligibility for a scholarship, many merit scholarships take other achievements and qualities into account.
For instance, some scholarships are specifically designed to reward community service or leadership experience.
Other scholarships may focus on athletic excellence, or creativity and innovation. Even if you’re not a straight-A student, you may still be eligible for merit-based scholarships.
Be sure to explore all your options and do your research when applying for scholarships!
4) You don’t have to be wealthy
One of the biggest misconceptions about merit scholarships is that you have to be wealthy in order to qualify for one.
However, this isn’t the case at all. Many merit scholarships are based on academic achievement or other factors that don’t necessarily have to do with your family’s financial situation.
You may even be eligible for a merit scholarship if you come from a low-income background.
So if you thought that you couldn’t apply for a merit scholarship because of your family’s financial circumstances, think again.
You could be missing out on an amazing opportunity!
5) You can use them for more than tuition
Merit scholarships can be used for more than just tuition. Depending on the scholarship, you might be able to use the money to pay for room and board, books and supplies, transportation expenses, and other educational costs.
Some merit scholarships may even cover the costs of living away from home while attending school. Be sure to read the fine print of each scholarship to see what it covers.
It’s important to understand exactly what expenses you can use your scholarship money for before applying.
6) They’re not just for four-year colleges
Merit scholarships are not exclusive to traditional four-year colleges. In fact, they are often offered at community colleges, trade schools, and online universities as well.
This is great news for those students who might not be able to commit to a four-year degree, or who need to take a different educational route to reach their goals.
Merit scholarships can help cover the costs of tuition, books, and even housing for students who are attending a two-year institution.
So don’t think that you’re missing out on scholarship money if you decide to go to a two-year college or trade school instead of a four-year university.
There are plenty of merit scholarship opportunities available to help you get where you want to go.
7) You don’t have to be a full-time student
A common misconception is that in order to receive a merit scholarship, you must be a full-time student. This is not the case.
Many scholarships are available to part-time students, so if you’re only able to attend school part-time, don’t give up hope.
Part-time students should check with their college financial aid office for any scholarship opportunities, as well as scour the web for applicable scholarships.
There are also scholarships available specifically for non-traditional students and those returning to school after some time away.
Even if you have taken a few years off from school or had other non-academic activities, there may be scholarships available to you.
So make sure to look into all your options when applying for merit scholarships.
8) You might have to renew them
Merit scholarships can be renewed annually. Many schools require that you maintain a minimum GPA or meet other criteria in order to keep your scholarship.
Some schools also have a limited number of years that you can receive the scholarship, meaning that if you don’t renew it on time, you could lose out on it.
Be sure to check the terms of your scholarship agreement and follow all the necessary steps for renewal in order to ensure that you continue to receive the funds.
9) They’re not just for traditional students
Merit scholarships are not just for students who attend a four-year college right after high school. Merit scholarships are also available to students who decide to take some time off and work, join the military, travel, or take part in other activities before continuing their education.
Merit scholarships can help fund these experiences, and they may even be applied towards online courses or trade schools.
Merit scholarships are also offered to students who have completed their undergraduate degrees and are looking to further their studies in graduate school or pursue a professional certificate program.
Merit scholarships can be a great way to support your educational goals at any stage of life.