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Merit Scholarship Meaning: What You Need to Know About Merit Scholarships

merit scholarship meaning

Scholarship money can be hard to come by, and the number of students applying for scholarships every year has only grown in recent years as tuition costs continue to rise and more students struggle to pay for college. You have to understand the merit scholarship meaning.


Thankfully, there are still plenty of scholarship opportunities out there. The concept of merit scholarships has been around for a long time, but it’s never been more important to understand how they work and how they affect your finances than it is now.


With the cost of schooling at an all-time high, many students are turning to merit scholarships in order to help them pay off their student loans once they graduate and enter the workforce. 


To give yourself the best chance of getting merit-based scholarships, you need to know what makes merit scholarships different from other types of scholarships. 


While you can find free money, not all merit scholarships are created equal, which means you’ll need to do some research before applying to one that works with your personal goals and financial situation.


Receiving a scholarship is an important moment for any student, but merit scholarships are different. These types of scholarships are given based on the student’s academic performance and achievements in school, not financial needs. 


Students should take advantage of this opportunity because it can help them pay for higher education, potentially earning them more money in the future. 


Here’s everything you need to know about merit-based scholarships so that you can apply for them successfully and get the money you need to pay for school.


Merit Scholarship Meaning


A merit scholarship is a scholarship that is based on the recipient’s academic performance and extracurricular accomplishments. 


These scholarships are usually awarded by colleges and universities, but can also come from other sources.


The benefits of receiving a merit scholarship


Receiving a scholarship is always great. But, if you are able to receive a merit scholarship, then you will have the opportunity to receive even more funds than your typical need-based or academic scholarships. 


This means that you will be able to get what you want and need without having to worry about money!


Another valuable benefit of a merit scholarship is that it does not have an income requirement. 


This means that if you are a smart, hardworking student but your family makes too much money for you to receive need-based financial aid, then you may qualify for a merit scholarship that would cover all or most of the cost of your education.


The types of merit scholarships available


Merit scholarships are awarded based on the student’s academic performance, leadership, and community service. They are often given for a specific field of studies, such as an art scholarship or a science scholarship.


The merit scholarship types include;


Scholarships for Community Service


You may be eligible for a community service scholarship if you volunteer. Giving back through unpaid efforts is what community service entails. They are frequently made available through non-profit organizations. is one such example. Their award programs raise public awareness about issues like voter registration and stress management.


ACT Scholarships


Many colleges will give you a merit scholarship based on your ACT scores. The ACT is a college entrance exam. It assesses your abilities and knowledge in four areas. Math, science, English, and reading are all subjects. 


Adding the scores from each section results in a scaled score ranging from 1 to 36. More selective providers, on the whole, look for high scores.


Scholarships for GPA


You may qualify for scholarships based on your grade point average (GPA). As mentioned, many merit awards are given to students with a grade point average of 3.5 to 4.0. 


There are also scholarships available to students with a 3.0 or lower. One to take a look at is the Straight A Scholarship. 


Scholarships in Leadership


Leadership scholarships are awarded to people who make a positive impact on the lives of others. You may qualify for a scholarship if you play a leadership role in a sports team or even act as a mentor. 


Scholarships for the First Generation


Are you the first person in your family to attend college? You may be eligible for scholarships as a first scholar.


Colleges are good places to look for scholarships for first-generation students.


Scholarships for National Merit


A well-known national competition is the National Merit Scholars Program. Every year, approximately 1.6 million high school students enroll. 


There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to qualify.


Who can Apply for a Merit Scholarship


Eligible students with high grades, GPAs, and test scores may be eligible for an academic scholarship. However, other terms may be required to narrow the competition.


Some criteria restrict applicants to specific demographics. Scholarships may be awarded to first-generation students, Eagle Scouts, or based on your ACT score.


Many providers also consider financial needs. The degree of need varies because it is determined by the FAFSA, which verifies family income.


How to apply for a merit scholarship


The process for applying for a merit scholarship will be different depending on the school and organization. To determine what you need to do, look at the requirements listed in their scholarship information. Most scholarships require that you submit an application form, transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and a letter of recommendation.

Things you Should Know Before Applying for Scholarships


Receiving a merit scholarship is not just about the money. It’s about the opportunities and doors that will be opened for you because of it. 


If you’re considering applying for one, here are things you should know before taking the next step.


  • There are different types of scholarships – 

Some scholarships come with strings attached, while others do not. If you receive a merit scholarship, the school may stipulate that you live in a certain area or take certain classes that align with their curriculum. 


These are often referred to as merit-based scholarships. The benefit of this type of scholarship is that your GPA does not need to be as high as if you were applying for an academic-based scholarship.


  • Your GPA matters – 

Regardless of whether your scholarship is based on academics or on merit, there is still one thing both types have in common: your GPA matters. which means they’ll also need enough ACT/SAT scores and extracurriculars to get accepted into the university in the first place. So keep up those grades! 


  • Don’t forget about other scholarships –

Even though you might be planning on pursuing a merit scholarship, don’t forget about other scholarships that are available. 

There might be more than one opportunity out there for you to attend college without having to worry about the cost.


  • Apply early – 

One way to make sure that your application doesn’t get lost in the shuffle is by applying early. And if you can, apply early every year (not just senior year). That way, you won’t miss out on any deadlines.


10 Merit Based Scholarships You Should Apply For in 2022 and 2023


  • Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Programme (France)
  • Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships (Switzerland)
  • Fulbright Foreign Student Program (USA)
  • Chevening Scholarships (UK)
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Canada)
  • Clarendon Scholarships at University of Oxford (UK)
  • Amsterdam Excellence Scholarships (Netherlands)
  • University of Geneva Excellence Master Fellowships (Switzerland)
  • ENS International Selection Scholarships (France)
  • TU Delft Excellence Scholarships (Netherlands)


Merit Scholarship Meaning: Conclusion


There are many misconceptions about the merit scholarship meaning. This is because there are different types of merit scholarships, and not all scholarships are available to every student. 


If you have a GPA higher than the average for your school, or if you’ve made an exceptional contribution to your community in one way or another, then you might be eligible for a merit scholarship.


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Written by Precious Presh

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