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Merit Awards & Scholarships

This summer, we’ll be debunking some major college admissions myths. Here’s one that all high achieving students should be thinking about:

MYTH: If I don’t get financial aid via FAFSA, I’ll never find major funding for college.

Incorrect! If you’ve got the grades and “extrapreneurial leadership,” you’ve got the chance!

Here is a sample of some eminent and generous merit awards (not based on financial need) that you may have never heard about from some of our nation’s top schools:

The University of Virginia has the Jefferson Scholarship which provides full tuition for four years and is based on: academics and “extrapreneurial” leadership.

Vanderbilt University offers the Ingram Scholarship and the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship. Both provide full-tuition for four years plus stipends for four special summer service or study abroad opportunities.

Rice University has a lovely way of awarding scholarships: all admitted freshman applicants are automatically placed in the pool for merit-based awards (you don’t even have to write separate essays) and if you rise to the top, you may be offered:

  • The Trustee Distinguished Scholarship, which is up to $24,000 per year
  • The Engineering Scholarship or other STEM awards which can be worth anywhere from $10,000 to full tuition.

Johns Hopkins (arguably one of the finest places to study STEM as an undergrad) has the Hodson Trust Scholarship worth up to $30,500 per year.

There are dozens more of these special merit-aid awards waiting for you to discover. So, spend some time this summer doing your due diligence on colleges that you believe to be your best fit—and then, carefully drill down into their merit award policies. You might just be pleasantly surprised.

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