Seniors and parents - As early action decisions are in or looming, and most regular decision applications are in, students are asking about merit scholarship opportunities - private scholarships or from the schools to which they applied. Below is information that might clear the fog.
Automatic Merit Scholarships - Most schools that give merit scholarships (and not all do) review the student's academic information within their application. Some scholarship amounts are more of a "coupon code" which means everyone gets something. Other scholarship amounts are larger for the top academic applicants in the pool of students.
Competitive Merit Scholarships - Some schools have subsets of institutional scholarships for the most competitive academic students that are very generous and require additional applications.
"Scholarship Central" Application Portals- Other schools will require a student to complete scholarship applications to be considered for any merit scholarship available and this paperwork is typically found within the student's application portal for each school. Examples include
Auburn University - Scholarship application due by 2/1
Virginia Tech - Scholarship application due by 1/15
Colorado State - Scholarship application due by 3/1
Private Scholarship Searches - We also have a unique private application search tool for students looking to put in the hard work of developing a private scholarship plan. Private scholarship searches are the student's responsibility. We provide students with access to a unique filtering tool of over 1,000 private scholarships, teach them how to use keywords to filter, review any identified opportunities, understand if existing application content can be recycled for essays, and understand deadlines.
When we know of schools that require separate applications to be considered for general or competitive merit scholarship programs, we log that information into each student's application checklist. We do not know of all the opportunities and it is the student's responsibility to review emails from each school and monitor their application portals for deadlines.