What is a merit-based scholarship?

Like the name suggests merit-based scholarships are majorly assessed on your performance in academics. Yes, the extra curriculum could win you brownie points but the priority is your GPA.  Merit-based scholarships are provided in the form of College scholarships, Awards, and Tuition Waiver. These scholarships are often given by universities and colleges, however; many companies, organizations, and foundations offer them as well. Just because a scholarship is merit-based does not necessarily mean that it is blind to other factors, aside from your financial background.

The merits upon which these scholarships are awarded generally vary depending on the organization that is granting them. Some merit scholarships look at overall academic performance, test scores, and teacher recommendations. Others are based entirely on your performance on a standardized test or on your performance and dedication within a certain field of study.

Here are 5 points that one should know while applying for merit-based scholarships:

1.    Not all colleges/ universities offer merit-based scholarship

Universities/ College have various means of providing financial aid or in some cases, there are no financial aids. Scholarships are broadly categorized into two types Need-based and Merit-based. Hence, it is really important to understand what kind of scholarship the university is offering.  Financial aid is also given in the form of teaching assistance, which requires you to assist a faculty for which you will be paid.

2.    The deadlines for such scholarships are generally different from the normal deadlines

Generally, universities have scholarship deadlines earlier than the normal application evaluation deadlines. Hence, you will find various deadlines on the university website. Some universities also require a different essay, if you are interested in applying for the scholarship.

3.    You might need to maintain a certain GPA

Students, who do not maintain the GPA, are subjected to a re-evaluation of scholarship eligibility and amount. Generally, the criterion is to maintain the GPA of at least a 3.0 but, it may vary.

4.    Merit-based scholarships do not always consider Academics

Universities/ Colleges also consider exceptionally talented individuals in the field of sports or a specific form of art.

5.    There are other options to consider if not university scholarship

There are organizations that provide scholarship on merit like Foreign Fulbright Student Program in the US and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship in Canada. These scholarships are provided by the government to international students. So, even if you do not get a merit-based scholarship from the universities there are private as well as government organizations that provide these scholarships.