If you’ve been in the scholarship search process for a while, you probably know about the most prestigious scholarships out there. While they are typically more competitive than other awards, the work you put in to the lengthy applications required as part of a submission for these scholarships can pay off if you’re chosen as a recipient of one—prestigious scholarships typically have impressive award amounts attached.
Prestigious scholarships are known on a national, and, often, on an international level. Winning one of these could do more for you than help cover college costs, as well, as recipients are then able to boast that they were chosen among thousands of applicants. These awards typically target the best and the brightest among you, and grades, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities and community service will matter. Less tangible criteria will matter as well; scholarship providers for these awards want to see leaders, go-getters, and motivated individuals. Don’t let all of this discourage you, though. As long as you’re eligible for one of these prestigious scholarships, you may as well apply and put the effort in to apply to the best of your ability. For more information on prestigious scholarships, check out examples of the kinds of awards available below, or conduct a free scholarship search. We’ll match you instantly with prestigious scholarships you may be eligible for.
Academic and Merit Scholarships
Most of the prestigious scholarship providers will like to see your academic record, paying attention to your GPA, the kinds of courses you took on in high school, and your level of college preparedness. You may need to be near the top of your class, or have impressive standardized test scores. Most of these awards will spell out in their official rules and requirements the caliber of applicant they’ll consider for their scholarship. For example, the Coca-Cola Scholars Program awards 250 scholarships each year ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. Applicants for that award must have at least a 3.0 GPA to be competitive in the pool. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Program provides up to $30,000 to students in the upper quarter of their junior class. Applicants for this award and many others must also boast an interest in community service and leadership skills, so even if you have a stellar GPA, you may need to get yourself involved in more extracurricular activities to compete for the most prestigious academic and merit scholarships.
Fellowships and Grants
Many of the most prestigious awards come with more than checks sent to your intended college. For example, the more than 100-year-old Rhodes Scholarship offers recipients the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford. About 80 Rhodes Scholars are chosen from a pool of international applicants, with American students typically very well represented among those chosen for the honor. Scholars are chosen based on not only their achievements, but their ability to lead and be involved in a variety of activities. The National Science Foundation offers a Graduate Research Fellowship Program for graduate students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Recipients are expected to contribute to research in their field, as is the requirement for many of the fellowships from research organizations out there. If you’re interested in expanding your career opportunities and experiences in your chosen field of study, a fellowship or grant could help you do that.
Prestigious Scholarships for Minorities
Minority scholarships aren’t only easy to find due to the large number of awards out there, many of them are also quite prestigious. For example, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program offers low-income minority applicants the opportunity to fund their undergraduate or graduate careers and reach their full potential with a generous aid package and a leadership development component. Scholarship amounts vary for this one, but the program typically covers a winner’s unmet need. Those chosen to become Ron Brown Scholars are given $10,000 for four years; at least 10 African-American high school seniors receive the honor annually. Those who do are involved in community service, excel academically, and exhibit leadership potential. As you can see, your funding concerns could be moot if you landed one of these scholarships, so make sure to consider minority scholarships when you’re on the hunt for money for college.