A Guide to Full Ride Scholarships

Posted On Oct 27, 2021 |

Full ride, tuition free college scholarships are out there, and we are here, serving them to you on this digital silver platter.

Guide to Full-Ride Scholarships

Chances are you’ve heard of full-ride scholarships. Probably in some movie where a proud father casually mentions the “full ride” his daughter got to University of College this year. But what does a full ride really entail, and how can you get a hold of one?  

As it turns out, you don’t hear about full rides very often because they aren’t handed out very often. As in almost never. As in less than one percent of students enrolled in college receive full-ride scholarships. That’s probably because they are full rides, meaning they cover tuition, housing, meals, and other fees. That kind of money doesn’t get handed out to just anyone. And the alternative to scholarships is student loans, and we don’t want any of those around here.  

Even so, there’s still hope! Colleges usually award a few full-ride scholarships based on merit and need. Outside of university-specific full rides, there are also scholarships offered through private organizations. These are the ones you should be gunning for as soon as possible.  So how can you make yourself a competitive candidate for those full-ride scholarships? After all, it takes a special kind of student to get their hands on them. First things first…

Round Out Your Student Profile

When it comes to impressing those private organizations that tote full-ride scholarships, every little bit of your background counts.

Make a mental list of some of the basic things colleges look at when they’re deciding whether to accept you or not. Your list might look something like this:

  • Standardized test scores
  • High school GPA
  • Extracurriculars (extra points for leadership experience, community service, part-time jobs, etc)
  • Short answer essays  
  • Personal statements
  • Letters of recommendation

That list is also your ticket to a full-ride scholarship. You need to excel in every one of those categories to have a solid shot at a full ride. As far as grades go, you need to be in the top ten percent of your graduating class…no pressure.

Now that we have some idea of what it takes to get a full-ride scholarship, it’s time to go over some opportunities for you!

Top Full-Ride Scholarships for You to Apply to Today

Deadline: Every January

Description: This annual full-ride scholarship covers everything from tuition to room and board for the full four years of your undergraduate education. You apply during your junior year of high school. Finalists win a trip to the Coolidge Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.

Requirements: You must plan on attending an accredited college or university in the United States. This scholarship is nice in that you don’t need to have a certain major to apply. The application board is looking for someone with a fantastic academic record, some interest in public policy, and excellent character.

Deadline: Every November

Description: This scholarship awards up to $55,000 per year over four years to cover the cost of tuition, living expenses, books, and fees. This program is aimed at high-achieving high school seniors who have financial need and want to attend top universities. Students who win the award may pursue any major or field of study, and they also receive personalized advising about choosing a college and navigating financial aid. Between 30 and 60 scholarship recipients are typically selected, with the exact number of scholarship winners varying each year.

Requirements: Successful applicants will have an unweighted GPA of 3.5 or above and intent to enroll in an accredited four-year college the following fall. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate financial need--while the scholarship will consider applications from anyone with a family income of $95,000 and below, the median family income of 2018 recipients was $35,000.

Deadline: Every January/ February

Description: This scholarship program is awarded to only ten undergraduates each year and can be renewed for all four years of undergrad. It includes both full tuition and a paid internship at JPMorgan. This program is meant to reward you with money while also giving you invaluable experience in a corporate environment.

Requirements: This scholarship is geared toward New York City high school students who are interested in a career in financial services. It takes a certain person to go into finance, so they’re looking for someone who can communicate well, work in a team, analyze, be able to adapt to any situation, and juggle responsibilities. To be a good candidate, you’ll also need outstanding academic credentials.

Deadline: October 29, 2021

Description: In a TikTok, tell us why you deserve tuition, how it will impact your life and help you reach your goals. Be creative. Be passionate. Be your authentic self. Oh, and don’t forget to use our song with #IDeserveTuitionContest

Requirements: Must be 18-24

Deadline: Every September

Description: This scholarship is funded by none other than the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It awards scholarships to three hundred students per year. Not bad! It also prefers to award minority students from low-income backgrounds. Outside of the money, it provides a social network and resources for its recipients to help the transition after college

Requirements: You have to be a high school senior of a specific ethnicity (e.g. African American, Asian and Pacific Islander American, Hispanic American, American Indian/ Alaskan Native) to apply. The minimum cumulative weighted GPA requirement is 3.3, but you should aim for higher to be more competitive. In fact, they explicitly want someone in the top ten percent of their graduating class with exceptional leadership ability and character.

Deadline: Every September

Description: This scholarship is all about making the country’s best colleges accessible to high school seniors with a low-income background. This program will help you apply to top colleges for free, get early admission consideration, and a full ride for all four years. This scholarship comes out to an over $200,000 value! Thousands of students get matched to their college every year, and over a thousand receive the scholarship annually.

Requirements: You must be graduating from high school within the school year of application and plan on being a college freshman by fall of the next school year to apply. Anyone who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is free to apply. The application board is looking for someone in the top five to ten percent of their graduating class with mostly A’s on their transcripts. They like applicants who challenged themselves with Honors, AP, or IB courses. While your test scores only need to be a little above average to apply, to actually win the scholarship you need impressive scores.

College is expensive!

From tuition to renting an apartment to paying for meals, college students struggle every year to get a handle on the cost. Luckily, there are private organizations like the ones listed above who are looking to reward students who are serious about their education. Ready to get started with your scholarship search? Our 5 Day Scholarship Accelerator will set you up for scholarship success with everything you need to know about your resume, copy of your transcripts, letters of recommendation, and your scholarship search, applications, and essays.   

Be sure to check out this list of 80 colleges that offer full-rides. 

If college is your dream, you can make it happen. There are so many scholarships out there, if a full ride option doesn’t work out, you can cover the cost of tuition with multiple other scholarships. But don’t be afraid to apply to those full rides in the first place! Are you a high school junior? Or a minority student? If you’re interested in having your scholarship search done for you so you can focus on your applications and essays, we do that too!

Categories: scholarships

About the Author

Christen is the founder of Hive Education. She is passionate about helping families navigate the college application and admissions processes. She helps students set goals to work towards their own debt-free degrees with her personalized scholarship searches, scholarship courses, and by sharing her scholarship strategies that won her over $900,000 in for her own college education. With four years of experience in higher education, two years working with teens in inner city high schools in New Orleans, and starting her first college consulting company during a pandemic in 2020 she strives to make college accessible for everyone, especially for first generation, low income, and minority students. In her spare time she loves to share her love for books with her daughters. You can find her on Facebook.

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