Win Full Ride Scholarships
I have to start this article by saying that full ride scholarships are not very easy to get. I don’t care what anyone tells you about these possibilities. They’re just not that easy to get. If you’re seriously considering trying to get a full ride to college, I’m going to share with you my top tips for getting that money.
It might take a lot of work, and you might never get all the money. You still want to do whatever I recommend to have the best chance of getting that money.
Full Ride Scholarships
A Full Ride Scholarship is an award that covers the entire cost of attending college. The cost of attendance (COA) includes tuition, room and board, textbooks, fees, meals, and other things. For example, some full ride scholarships pay for a laptop. Funds for personal expenses and stipends for enrichment are also common.
Where to get Full Ride Scholarships? There are various sources that award full ride scholarships. The federal government, universities and private sources to name a few. As you would expect, they are very competitive and a dream for many students.
How Do You Get Full Ride Scholarships?
The details of each scholarship vary depending on who awards it. Colleges typically offer the full ride once you’ve been accepted into the school. Like merit-based scholarships, they usually go to very talented and motivated students.
Many full ride scholarships determine eligibility based on:
- Test Results: You may need specific results for the PSAT, SAT, and/or ACT tests
- Skills and Interests: Many schools want to see that a candidate is doing more than getting good grades. Things like leadership, initiative, and volunteer experience can be important
- Letter of Recommendation: A boss, teacher, or mentor may need to write a letter of recommendation to shed some light on your personality
- Personal Essay: You may need to write an outstanding scholarship essay. One that goes into detail about your goals and interests
- Grades: Good grades are important to get a scholarship.
How Much Is Full Ride Scholarships Worth?
To know if full ride scholarships is worth it today, let’s look at the average cost of going to college. Full ride scholarships are available at a variety of colleges and universities. Some cost more than others to attend.
Additionally, the average cost of obtaining a bachelor’s degree from a public institution is $16,757 per year. It costs $43,065 at private nonprofits. Private for-profit organizations cost $23,776. These prices reflect tuition, fees, room and board.
A typical bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete. So, on average, full ride scholarships at these schools can be worth $67,028 (public), $172,260 (private nonprofit), and $95,104 (private for-profit). Of course, if it is a full ride, funds can also be made available for other expenses.
10 Full Ride Scholarships You Should Apply For
Check out these full ride scholarships you should apply for now. Remember to submit your scholarship application before the deadline.
- Ingram Scholarship
- Act Six Chicago Pursue Scholars program
- Union College Board of Trustees Scholarship
- Stamp President’s Scholars Program
- Gates Scholarship
- Nancy Susan Reynolds Scholarships
- The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program
- US Air Force ROTC Scholarships
- Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship
- Boston University Trustee Scholarships
Difference Between Full Ride And Full Tuition Scholarships
Many use full ride scholarships and full tuition to mean the same thing, but this isn’t always the case.
A full tuition scholarship only covers your tuition fees. In other words, it may not cover all of your participation costs. You may need to pay for room and board, textbooks, travel, laptop, etc.
An example of full tuition scholarship is the Posse Scholars Program. It is open to high school students who show academic potential. They are also leaders in their high schools and communities. Posse Scholarship recipients receive full Academic Scholarships from Posse’s partner colleges and universities. In particular, Babson College, Cornell University, Villanova and many others.
In contrast, a full ride usually covers the entire cost of college. This includes books, food, room and board, travel and other living expenses.
An example of a full ride scholarship is the University of Virginia’s Jefferson Scholars Foundation. This award covers the entire COA for four years at the university. Tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board and personal expenses. It also pays for additional enrichment experiences.
For example, the University of Oregon offers the Stamps Leadership Scholarship. It pays UO tuition, room and board, and up to $12,000 in enrichment funds for her four years at the university. The extra money can cover study abroad and unpaid internships.
Percentage Of Students Get Full Ride Scholarships
Full ride scholarships are rare. About 19.9 million students enrolled in one of the country’s colleges and universities last year. Recent figures also show that only 0.2% of students have received scholarships of $25,000 or more per year.
That means if you’re trying to get the most money for college, you might want to start with federal aid. Completing a FAFSA is the first step. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an official form. Its purpose is to solicit federal, state, and school assistance in paying for the college.
If you receive a scholarship, the Scholarship Office may deduct that amount from your COA. Other financial aid that you are eligible for may cover the remaining amount.
This isn’t technically a full ride, but it’s an option to think about. One that puts one of your dream schools within reach.
Colleges With Full Ride Scholarships
Because most full ride scholarships are institutional awards, your student must attend a school that has an appropriate program in order to qualify.
Here are some of the top-performing colleges with full ride scholarships:
- Boston College – Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
- Boston University – Boston, Massachusetts
- California Institute of Technology – Pasadena, California
- College of William and Mary – Williamsburg, Virginia
- Duke University – Durham, North Carolina
- Emory University – Atlanta, Georgia
- Georgia Institute of Technology – Atlanta, Georgia
- Tulane University – New Orleans, Louisiana
- University of California – Los Angeles, California
- University of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois
- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- University of Notre Dame – Notre Dame, Indiana
- University of Rochester – Rochester, New York
- University of Southern California – Los Angeles, California
- University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Virginia
- University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin
- Vanderbilt University-Nashville, Tennessee
- Wake Forest University – Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- Washington University in St. Louis – St. Louis, Missouri
Other schools also offer full drive or full tuition scholarships, so your student doesn’t have to stop at this list.
If your student has chosen a college that is not included, you should check the school’s website to see what forms of financial aid are available. They can also look into alternative financing options that can help them graduate debt-free.
Non-Institutional Full Ride Scholarships
Some full ride scholarships are not offered by an educational institution. Instead, other organizations make the awards available and give students some flexibility in where they go to school if selected.
If your student has their eye on a college that doesn’t offer full ride scholarships, these opportunities could make attending that school affordable.
Here is a list of full college scholarships that are not necessarily tied to any particular school:
- Army ROTC Scholarships
- Chick Evans Caddy Scholarship
- Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program
- Navy ROTC Scholarships
- SMART Scholarship Program
- USDA 1890 National Scholars Program
Alternatives To Full Ride Scholarships
It is important to note that full ride scholarships are not the only way to cover college costs. Some colleges do not charge tuition for certain students and this has nothing to do with scholarships. This article describes these opportunities: Free college tuition is actually available at these schools
There are also some surprisingly affordable colleges, either because they keep costs down for everyone or because they offer solid financial aid packages for students. If you want to learn more read: Most Affordable Colleges With Best Financial Aid.
Your student can always get multiple scholarships to cover college expenses, effectively creating their own free ride. Just because the money doesn’t come from a single award doesn’t mean it doesn’t achieve the same goal.
If your student can find scholarships that can apply for more than the necessary expenses such as tuition and fees, a completely debt-free degree is possible.
8 Most Popular Full Ride Scholarships From Private Organizations
1. Coolidge Fellowship
Application deadline: January 19
Details: The Coolidge Scholarship is a full ride scholarship that covers the full reimbursement of tuition, room, board, and expenses for a four-year undergraduate degree.
The Coolidge Scholarship can be used by recipients at any American university. Anyone from any background pursuing an academic degree may apply to this non-partisan, needs-blind program.
Eligibility: Must be a current high school junior
2. Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start Program
Application deadline: January/February
Details: The Smart Start program is designed for analytical New York high school students who are ready to get a head start in a career in financial services.
You’ll gain hands-on experience in our industry-leading companies while attending university on a full-college scholarship.
Eligibility: Must be a high school student living in New York City with an interest in business/financial services.
3. USDA 1890 National Scholars Program
Application deadline: February 15
Details: The goal of the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is to increase the number of minorities studying agriculture, nutrition, science and related disciplines.
- Be a US citizen
- Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale)
- Have been accepted for admission or are currently attending one of the nineteen 1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Universities.
- Study agriculture, food, science or other related academic disciplines
- Demonstrate leadership and community service
4. Cameron Impact Scholarship
Application deadline: September 10th
Details: The Cameron Impact Scholarship is a four-year, full-tuition, merit-based scholarship.
It is awarded annually to 10-15 exceptional high school students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, extracurricular activities, leadership, and community service.
The Cameron Impact Scholarship covers the full cost of attending an accredited US college or university that the recipient enrolls in (including personal expenses such as books).
The Applicant must:
- Maintaining a minimum cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.7/4.0 or equivalent in their high school studies;
- Be a full citizen of the United States of America;
- Be a current high school junior who plans to enroll in full-time study after graduation for a degree from an accredited four-year US college or university
- Demonstrate proven excellence in extracurricular activities, be motivated leaders with a strong work ethic, demonstrate active participation in community service and/or civic arenas
5. The Gates Scholarship
Application deadline: September 15
Details: The Gates Scholarship (TGS) is a highly selective, last-dollar scholarship for outstanding minority high school graduates from low-income households.
The scholarship is awarded to 300 students each year.
An ideal candidate has:
Outstanding academic achievement in high school (top 10% of his/her senior year)
Demonstrated leadership skills (eg, through participation in community, extracurricular, or other activities) Exceptional personal success skills (e.g., emotional maturity, motivation, perseverance, etc.)
Eligibility: In order to apply, students must:
- A high school senior
- At least one of the following ethnicities: Black/African American, Native American/Alaska Indian*, Asian and Pacific Islander, and/or Hispanic students
- Pell capable
- A US citizen, national or permanent resident
- Good academic standing with a cumulative weighted GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent)
6. Questbridge National College Match
Application deadline: September 28th
Details: “We are looking for high school graduates who have shown excellent academic skills despite financial challenges. We take a holistic approach to reviewing applications and have no absolute criteria or thresholds for GPA, standardized test scores, income or other factors.”
Questbridge encourages students who feel they are facing significant financial difficulties to carefully review these financial criteria to see if they qualify.
Eligibility: Must be a recent high school senior
7. Flinn Scholarship Program
Application deadline: early October
Details: Flinn Scholars have excelled in their high school classrooms while engaging in purposeful and leadership in extracurricular activities, whether in the arts or sports, laboratory research, or community service.
Eligibility: To be eligible for the Flinn Scholarship, an applicant must:
- Be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) at the time of application;
- You must be a resident of Arizona for two full years immediately prior to entering university.
- Achieve at least a 3.5 grade point average (unweighted);
- Rank in the top 5 percent of their senior year (if school reports class rank);
- Participate in a variety of extracurricular activities and demonstrate leadership skills
8. Cooke College Scholarship Scheme
Deadline: October 30th
Details: The Cooke College Scholarships Scheme is an undergraduate scholarship program available to high-performing high school seniors with financial needs who wish to attend and graduate from the best four-year colleges and universities in the country.
Each award is designed to cover a significant portion of the student’s educational experience – including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees.
This highly competitive scholarship includes:
- Up to $40,000 per year to attend a four-year accredited elementary school.
- Ability to pursue all majors.
- Personal advice on choosing a course and financing options.
- Diverse advice on transitioning to college and maximizing the student experience.
Eligibility: To be eligible to apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program you must:
- Earn a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.5 or higher
- Identify unmet financial needs. Last year’s cohort of new college scholarship recipients had a median family income of about $35,000.
Tips For Applying Full Ride Scholarships
The majority of full scholarships are extremely competitive due to the amount of money awarded. So do not plan to attend any particular college or seek/apply your scholarship hoping to become the recipient of a full scholarship.
Vary The Types of Scholarships You Are Applying For
Sure, applying for every full scholarship you might be eligible for won’t hurt you, but it’s important to make sure you vary the types of scholarships you’re applying for.
If you apply for a mix of small and larger scholarships, you’re more likely to walk away with some cash.
Prepare For Job Interviews
Most of these scholarships, as I said earlier, are extremely competitive. Therefore, the organization (or college) running the scholarship program will likely request an interview at some point in the process to get to know you better.
Be Strategic With Your Letters Of Recommendation
While this is true of all scholarships you are applying for, it is especially important to keep this in mind when applying for the large full ride scholarships.
Make sure you ask people who know you well and can validate all of your wonderful qualities and potential.
Get Involved In Your Community
So many of the full ride scholarships state that leadership skills and experience along with public relations are some of the most important and determining factors in who wins and who doesn’t.
So if you know early on in high school that you want to apply for some of these scholarships, it’s important to find personally rewarding ways to get involved in your community as early as possible.
Choose Courses That Challenge You
If you are in high school and applying for merit-based full scholarships, then there is a good chance the judges will determine the winners based on the types of classes you have taken and your performance in them.
These scholarships often look for students who will take on rigorous course loads and be successful at it.
Apply Today Full Ride Scholarships.