How to get a Full Ride Scholarship – The Definite Guide


We live at a time when acquiring education has become essential in our lives. A high school diploma is now a must. Besides, pursuing higher education is slowly but surely becoming vital too as time goes by. Most people are looking into getting a Bachelor’s degree but affording to do so is a hurdle many go through. Hence, scholarships, grants, student loans, and other financial aids come to our rescue.

One of the best scholarships out there, and a dream, for most students, is the Full Ride Scholarship award. Receiving a full-ride scholarship is equivalent to stumbling across a gold mine for students. It will make our lives at school so much easier in the future.

What Is a Full Ride Scholarship?

The meaning of the term full-ride refers to the scholarship awarded to college or university students. This is how full-ride scholarships work – it covers all college-related expenses, i.e., tuition fees, room, board, transportation, school materials, textbooks, personal costs, and travel and study fees abroad.

While a full-ride scholarship sounds like a dream come true for all students, it is – unfortunately – provided in a limited amount. Generally, the statistics for college scholarships for Bachelor’s Degree in the USA are about 12.7%, 1, 154, 300 number of scholarships, per year. However, approximately around 20, 000 or fewer students per year are given a full-ride scholarship. It is less than 1% of students who applied for enrollment.

This means it could seem intimidating and challenging to get a scholarship. But don’t despair. You may have a stroke of good luck. If you invest your time and energy and work hard, you could be one of those students! Make sure besides full-ride scholarships, you keep your eye out for other kinds of scholarships and financial aids too.

Few academic scholarship requirements for students applying for a full-ride scholarship are- high academic scores, leadership skills, strong character, community volunteer, etc. Suppose you write a solidly engaging and persuasive personal essay and have few top-notch recommendation letters from your mentors. In that case, you have a chance of receiving a full-ride scholarship.

Here is a list of different types of Full-ride Scholarship:

  • Merit-Based
  • Need-Based
  • State-Sponsored
  • Government
  • Community-Based
  • Athletic
  • Prestige
  • Additional options (such as legacy-based, heritage, brand scholarship, career-specific, etc.)

Private Full Ride Scholarship Awards

Different universities/colleges provide full-ride scholarships. However, if you could not manage to receive one from the undergrad schools you’re applying to, don’t give up yet. You must know that private companies and the government sponsor and award students with full-ride scholarships or at least scholarships just as well.

Here is a list of Full-Ride Scholarships for International Students:

  • Fulbright Foreign Student Program (USA)
  • British Chevening Scholarships (UK)
  • Swedish Scholarships for International Students (Sweden)
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarships (UK)
  • Adelaide Scholarships International (Australia)
  • International Leader of Tomorrow Award at University of British Columbia (Canada)

Full Ride Scholarships from Schools

A lot of schools (colleges and universities) provide full-ride scholarships for students with solid applications. To be a deserving candidate of these awards, you will have to present an extremely compelling application. That requires having high merit points or being academically strong.

Full Ride Scholarships from schools can be divided into two categories:

  • Full Ride Scholarship Based on Merit
  • Full Ride Scholarship Based on Financial Need

Merit-based Full Ride Scholarship Offers

These schools sought out students who have high merit points and doing exceptionally well academically in High School. It doesn’t matter if you do not need the scholarship. If you deserve it based on your merit, you will receive it.

Here is a list of schools in the USA that award full-ride scholarships based on merit:

  • University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Duke University (Durham. North Carolina)
  • Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • University of Rochester (Rochester, New York)
  • Boston University (Boston, Massachusetts)
  • Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, California)

Full Ride Scholarships Based on Financial Need

If you need scholarships due to a lack of financial stability, some schools seek out applicants who are struggling to do so.

Here is a list of schools in the USA that award full-ride scholarships based on financial need:

  • Amherst College (Amherst, Massachusetts)
  • Columbia University (New York, New York)
  • Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  • Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey)
  • Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island)

How to get a Full Ride Scholarship [Step By Step Guide]

If you want a full-ride scholarship, you must start preparing for it from day one of your high school. If you joined the club late, then start right at this moment. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can be one of those few lucky students who land with a full-ride scholarship.

Step 01: Demonstrating Academic Excellence

You must set a goal to do exceptionally well in your courses, achieving the top scores, and be part of your class’s top rankings. Besides an excellent GPA, you should take AP classes that are both challenging and divergent as they will broaden your knowledge.

Step 02: Leadership Skills Development

One of the essential skills in demand right now in the market is leadership quality in an individual. Hence, you must invest in yourself and learn to acquire leadership skills.

The scholarship committee will assess your leadership skills by looking into your experience and extracurricular in schools. Your participation in school will be a reflection of how you can lead and make your own decision.

Step 03: Contribute to Community Service

Volunteering and contributing to your community will speak volumes about your character and what kind of contribution you will make in the college/ university community.

Step 04: Develop Your Communication Skills

If you succeed in developing your communication skills, it will be like an investment. That will help you out for the rest of your life in every phase. Communication skills are a strength that will never fail you both in school and career. Colleges look for applicants with strong communication skills. The reason is- these students will be more outspoken and manage to bring forth new changes in the school community.

Step 05: Build Relationship with Instructors & Mentors

Building a relationship with Instructors and Mentors will help you get strong letters of recommendation. Also, you will gain professional advice while applying to colleges/universities.

Step 06: Get a Recommendation Letter

This is one of the essential steps. You must get a recommendation letter – more than one if you can manage. Letters of recommendation from your teachers might be your ticket to getting the scholarship.

Step 07: Find Scholarship Opportunities

Keep your eyes and ears open all year round about all the colleges/universities offering full-ride scholarships. Furthermore, private companies and government scholarships are essential. Keeping track of them and other various kinds of scholarships will help you get your degree.

Step 08: Meet with Potential Sponsors

As mentioned earlier, many private companies offer full-ride scholarships (and other kinds of scholarships too). If you can manage, try to find out the companies providing them and the people sponsoring these offers. If they meet potential applicants, get yourself an appointment and set up a meeting. This might increase your chances of landing with a scholarship as they might be convinced that you are a deserving candidate.

How to Apply for a Full Ride Scholarship?

  • Please make a list of colleges/universities where they offer full-ride scholarships and prepare to apply to all of them. You can use various full-ride scholarship finders to find out the colleges that are offering them.
  • Check the requirements you need to apply for full-ride scholarships beforehand and try to tick off as many as possible before applying.
  • Note if you’re eligible to apply for the scholarships by checking their requirements and policies.
  • Be organized about your application and scholarship documents and make sure they are all valid.
  • Enhance and hone your skills and talent by actively participating in programs and events that will help to do so.
  • Learn and acquire new skills. Be active in and out of the school community by volunteering and taking on charges as a leader.
  • Invest time both academically and non-academically, i.e., education and athletic.
  • If you have a low GPA, you can always make sure you have an outstanding record in other fields. These might be like sports or music or other extracurricular. Many full-ride scholarships go to such students.
  • Take the help of a professional to seek advice on making your application more robust and better.
  • Once you have everything ready to go, apply for the scholarships in every school and wait to hear back. The response time usually ranges from 2 – 3 weeks.

Follow these steps closely along with the specific requirements of the college/university. You can get a full-ride scholarship at Harvard, New York University, and other USA universities to offer this scholarship award. You can also get into medical school and even in universities in Canada.

When to Apply for Full Ride Scholarships?

To know when to apply for full-ride scholarships, you must keep track of the schools and other sponsors updates regarding this issue. As most of the full-ride scholarships of 2021 are already given out, you can look into scholarships of 2022-2023 academic years right now. The applications are being accepted and ongoing until the end of the year.

After applying, you will have to wait for a few weeks. The scholarship committee will contact you and inform you if you have got a full-ride to the college/university you applied to.

Scholarships are gifts that you must strive to achieve as they will change your lives and make college/university much more manageable. If you wonder why you should receive a scholarship, then be assured that you should receive it because you deserve it. Receiving a scholarship of any kind will make your life in college easier and much more enjoyable. It is because half of your burden will be gone.


What GPA do you need to get a full-ride scholarship?

Most universities will accept a GPA that is above 3.5 on a scale of 4.0.

Is it possible to get a full-ride scholarship?

Yes, absolutely. If you can follow the proper instructions, you will increase your chances of getting a full-ride scholarship.

What SAT score is required for a full scholarship?

-1800 SAT or 27 ACT with a 3.5 GPA

How hard is it to get a Fulbright scholarship?

It can be very hard as only 20% of students get it per year.

Is it hard to get a scholarship?

It can be challenging. If you meet all the requirements and apply for all the scholarships you are eligible for, you increase your chances of getting a scholarship.