A full-ride scholarship is basically a fully-funded scholarship that is meant to cover all the relevant educational expenses of the recipients. These expenses include tuition expenses, accommodation charges, and textbooks expenses. The full-ride scholarships by major US Universities sometimes also cover the recipients’ expenses for studying abroad and also give a monthly stipend for living expenses.
On the other hand, if you apply for student loans; it can turn out to be a huge burden once the study period is over. About 45 million people in the USA have student loans as a debt that needs to be repaid. About 60% of students in the USA seek out loans to fund their studies every year. If they can get a full-ride scholarship or a grant they wouldn’t have to worry about paying it back since scholarships are not repaid and there are only a few grants that require payback.
Admittedly, getting a full-ride scholarship is not a piece of cake, but once you get it your college studies are fully financed. There are around 86 institutions in America that offer these full-ride scholarships to their students. The students have to prove their skills and qualifications in one or more of the following areas; academics, leadership, and sports. The aim of it is to attract the best talent. The percentage of students getting this scholarship is 1% to 3% of the entire enrolling cohort.
Who Can Apply for Full-Ride Scholarship?
Students who have completed their high school diploma or previous degree with flying colors should apply for a full-ride scholarship. On top of that, the students have to give precise examples of how they have been involved in community development, have leadership skills, and/or have an outstanding overall profile. The prospective applicant needs to be at least in the top 10 students of their previous class.
The applicant is going to have to submit an impressive personal statement, motivation letter, or statement of purpose as well. There are a lot of online platforms that give information about full-ride scholarships. Through those, one can have a fair idea of the procedure of searching for and applying to the scholarships.
Types of Full-ride Scholarships:
Some of the institutions offer full-ride scholarships to those students who are not financially sound enough to fund their studies by themselves. Such students can also look into private funding and tuition-free schools.
The most common type of full-ride scholarship is merit-based whereby students get the scholarship on the basis of their academic record and/or results of SATs, ACTs, GRE, GMAT, IELTS, and TOEFL, etc.
Those full-ride scholarships that are funded by the government are awarded to those students who study in military schools or ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps). The students have to meet the eligibility criteria of the scholarship.
Athlete-based scholarships are given to those students who are active sportsmen of volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, football, or tennis.
How to apply for Full-Ride Scholarships?
- Start looking for scholarships way ahead of time. Apply in all the colleges that offer one.
- Prove your intelligence and merit through clear documentation of your educational record.
- Carefully complete the application and the documents.
- Be constantly in touch with your professors and mentors and act upon their advice.
- Get involved in community and volunteer work.
- Polish your leadership qualities.
What are the requirements to apply for a Full-Ride Scholarship?
- You can apply for a full-ride scholarship if you have a CGPA of 3.5 or more and if you fall in the top 20 students of your batch. Most top-ranked colleges in the USA have this requirement. But if you haven’t got good grades you can look into sports and need-based scholarships which are usually for students who do not qualify for the merit-based ones.
- Make sure you have excellent scores on SAT, ACT, or PSAT. This will further polish your profile.
- If you are active in extra-curricular activities, make sure to make a point of it.
- Make a well-thought-out personal statement outlining your future goals and how do you think studying in a particular institution aligns with your goal.
- The applicants need to attach recommendation letters from their previous instructors along with their scholarship application. The recommendation letters are meant to give an outside view of the applicant.