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Academic Scholarships and Merit Scholarships

Academic scholarships, or as they are sometimes known, merit scholarships, are basically just what you probably think they are. In order to get an academic scholarship to pay for school, you are going to need to get exceedingly good grades and, most likely, graduate in the top five to ten percent of your class. Merit scholarships are often related to academic performance, but can also be given to a candidate displaying artistic or athletic excellence or sometimes a combination thereof. It's probably safe to say that, while all academic scholarships are merit scholarships, not all merit scholarships are academic scholarships. You have a chance at winning scholarships of this nature if you’re a strong student, either generally or in your area of study, and an even better chance if you’re heavily involved in extracurricular activities.

Finding Academic Scholarships

Many merit scholarships, are offered by the colleges and universities themselves, and may require more than just academic excellence. For example, some may require you have some other honorary title or have received some other scholarships or recognition by an esteemed organization or society such as National Merit Scholarships or the National Council of Teachers of English awards. Others simply require you to get a certain score on the ACT or SAT and to graduate near the top of your class. While these are common varieties of academic scholarships, very few students qualify for large awards through their schools. Rather, most students have better luck finding money for college through private providers of academic scholarship awards.

Academic Scholarship Opportunities

As previously mentioned, academic scholarships all come with their own requirements regarding academic performance and extracurricular involvement. Merit scholarships can sometimes include a community service requirement, or demonstrated leadership potential. This may be based on your involvement in school sports or politics, for example. If you were the quarterback of the football team or captain of your basketball or gymnastics team as well as student class president, you may be more attractive to an organization that wants to bankroll the formal education of a future leader. In order to find the academic scholarship opportunities that are right for you, conduct a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. By completing a free profile, you will have access to scholarship information for a variety of awards for which your education and experience qualify you. Below is a list of just a few of the academic and other merit scholarships available in our database.

Bridgewater College President's Merit Award
Application Deadlines: Varies
Bridgewater College recognizes the academic achievements of high school seniors and transfer students through its ACE program. Each year, the College commits significant institutional resources for grants and scholarships to assist students. The Bridgewater College President's Merit Awards range from $16,500 up to full-tuition and are based on an applicant's academic performance in high school [...] More

Furman University National Merit Scholarships
Application Deadlines: Varies
National Merit/National Achievement finalists who indicate Furman as their first-choice college may be eligible for a renewable university-sponsored scholarship, in accordance with National Merit Scholarship Corporation guidelines. Students who demonstrate financial need may receive $2,000 in a renewable university-sponsored scholarship, and students who do not demonstrate financial need may [...] More

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