4 years ago
Admissions Advice

What are some of the biggest scholarships students can apply for?

I'm a sophomore student in Southern California, and I really need to start planning/searching for scholarships because my family won't be able to pay for my tuition when I go to college.

What are some of the biggest scholarships students can apply to? They don't have to be for sophomore students; if there are big ones I should plan for my junior/senior year, it would be awesome to know about those as well.

@arielUC254 years ago

I'd suggest looking at institutional scholarships because private scholarships are extremly competitive (some are more selective than Harvard). Some colleges with great scholarships include University of the Pacific, Santa Clara University, University of Southern California, University of Alabama, Ole Miss, and University of Arizona.

@DebaterMAX4 years ago

I’d say all of them are more selective than Harvard. Also you seem to be a WUE student depending on your grades Is recomend you look at Wyoming they have cheap tuition and very good aid. So the out of pocket cost should be pretty low.

@DebaterMAX4 years ago

Also @Adri Bama and AZ have bug scholarships but even the biggest scholarship offered is like 50% of the base cost of attendance. And when the aid offered is 20k it’s not cheap but the aid amount is large but the cost is high. Hope I’m making sense

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1 answer

4 years ago

If you are a high achieving low-income student you can apply to the Coca Cola scholarship, The Gates Scholarship, The Jack Cooke Kent Scholarship, The Dell Scholarship, etc. These are hard to win but the payout amount is high up to a full ride. If you are a person of color, or non-binary there are specific scholarships you can apply to in your state and in the US. You can also apply to lots of different colleges directly that have merit-based scholarships.

List of Biggest Scholarships


List of Merit Scholarship colleges overs highest % of aid.


List of ethnic scholarships


If you are high achieving low income, I recommend that you look into both Posse or Questbridge.



If some ways you are lucky that you live in Southern California because some of the best public colleges are in SoCal.

Perhaps you can live at home and commute to a CalState College or a UC School

Tuition at Cal state colleges is under $7,000 and about $13,000 for UC Schools in-state. If your family qualifies for a Pell Grant that can reduce the cost by $6195 and this amount increases each year.

Also, keep in mind that about 1/2 of the best Top 100 schools in America are Need Blind so they will not deny your admission based on your family income. And about 80-90% of them meet 100% of your financial aid need if you are accepted. This might mean you have to take out a small loan every year like $2500-$5000 or have an on-campus job and pay part of your summer earnings into the school. So if your family can only afford $5,000 or $10,000 a year, the school will work closely with your family to come up with a financial aid package that works for you. If you attend a Top Private university it will cost $350,000 for 4 years by the time you apply. If you can get admitted because of your academics and other qualities, a great proportion of that will be gifted to you by that college with no repayment loans. At some top elite colleges, up to 50% of students are on financial aid.

Therefore, the very best thing you can do for yourself and your family is trying to get the very best grades, all As if possible. Get involved in your community and help others. Select ECs that are strategic and that you can grow into and be excellent at. Be a great person of character that leads and doesn't follow. And have excellent relationships with your teachers and school administrators. Tests scores may not matter that much certainly in California but if you are well prepared in all your core subjects, should they be required in 2 years from now, you will be ready and do well on them.

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