6 days ago
Admissions Advice


This might be a dumb question, but is it guaranteed that you will get a scholarship if you have a good SAT score (ex.1410) ACT score (ex.30) and GPA (ex.3.8)? And if you can get scholarships from this how do get it?


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3 answers

Accepted Answer
6 days ago

You have posed a good question but not a simple one.

Let me break it down for you.

There are basically 4 kind of scholarships:

1.) Merit Based Institutional - These are granted by the individual college you are applying to. For instance the 1693 William and Mary scholarship is typically awarded to the top 1% of applicants so in the past successful winners had near perfect grades, 1500+ SAT, 33+ ACT, and shown evidence of independent scholarship, leadership and community service. Some colleges have a separate application for these other like UPitt automatically considers you when you apply. If you are a top applicant, you might get admitted to the Honors School with 1/2 or Full Tuition. Merit aid is typically not available at Ivy League, Elites and Top Liberal Arts Colleges. But more readily available at 2nd, 3rd, 4th quartile colleges. Keep that in mind.

2. Need Based Institutional - These are granted by the individual colleges and based on your FAFSA and CSS Profile that you have to work on with your parents when you apply to colleges. The rule of thumb is that the better the college in rankings the better the chances you will get some financial aid based on need. The Ivys, Stanford and Duke and some top Liberal arts colleges typically have sliding scale formulas. Some colleges like Yale and Harvard still give out aid even if your family income is $250,000 depending on your circumstances and how many siblings you have in paid education.

3. Independent Scholarships for merit- These are smaller scholarships you apply with organizations like the Rotary Club or Elks Club or even your town's Private Golf Club. The award money is say from $1000-$10000 (maybe the average is $2500)

4. Independent Foundational Scholarships based on Merit in conjunction with Need - These are the big scholarships like Coca-Cola, Jack Kent Cook Foundation, Horatio Alger Foundation, Hamilton Scholars Program, Questbridge, Posse, etc. Winners of these can get anywhere from $10,000 to a Full ride for 4 years. Most successful winners are high achieving, first generation, low income applicants who have greats ECs and Community Service.

If you are low income, first gen, with a hook like being Black, LatinX, or Indigenous, then you have a great chance to get into Questbridge or Posse or apply to the full ride foundational programs, as well as applying directly to the colleges.

If you are a middle, upper middle or wealthy Asian or White person, then your stats will have to be in the top 2% to be considered for Merit Awards. That generally means 1500+ SAT, 33+ ACT and a GPA of 3.9+.

Here is a link with a loose list of college that offer Merit based full rides. You can see the absence of Ivys, Elites and Top Liberal for the most part. Also note that some schools only give out 1 to 10 full rides so that's not a lot of people. There might be 500 applying for 5 spots so they are very competitive and time consuming.


Many of the NPC Net Price Calculators of schools giving out Merit aid have them factored in their NPCs so I would spend time doing my research and using those NPC calcs as much as possible and get a spreadsheet on the side so you and your parents can figure out what schools offer the best aid for your personal circumstances.

If you really need aid to attend college, then put aside time in your weekly activities to work on this. This is nothing simple you can expect your HS counselor to sort out for you. It's like having a part-time job.

Good luck.

6 days ago

I read both these answers and they are really good but let me add; you have to actively go after most of these scholarships. You will automatically get something, especially the need-based if you fill out the FAFSA. The big ones, like Horatio Alger, you have to put in some work. They are definitely worth it so please go for it. You have the good grades so that is half the battle. One last point, whatever state you live in, google scholarships for (my state). Lots of states have both need-based and merit-based scholarships if you go to any accredited 2 or 4 year college in your state. If you do a little work, you can find scholarships. Good luck!

6 days ago

It depends on the college, I have a 1400 SAT and 3.8 GPA and have gotten scholarships from some colleges but nothing too amazing, like no full-ride or anything. Other scholarships depend on the type as well. I applied to a few at my school but have not heard back yet. Some schools require you to write another essay or apply for the scholarship but some schools just consider everyone for the scholarships.


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