How to get a full scholarship

How to get a full scholarship

Full scholarships, also known as full-ride scholarships, are the ultimate financial aid options since they cover nearly all expenses for a student’s entire three or four years of college. The provider will pay your living expenses and tuition, so you can concentrate on your studies and social life without having to worry about money. Sounds great, right?

Unfortunately, there are not nearly as many of these ideal scholarships available. Full scholarships are incredibly rare and fiercely competitive when they do appear. That does not mean you should not apply, though; keep reading to learn how to improve your chances of getting one of these coveted scholarships.

Know where to look

To begin with, where can one truly look for full scholarships? It is best to start by visiting the official website of the university you have selected. They might have funding opportunities specific to your area or field of study, or they might have a list of outside scholarships you can apply for.

In addition to your institution, you can visit or, which include financial options for various study locations, subject-specific scholarships, and scholarships targeted at specific student populations. (e.g., African students).

Prepare in advance

It is critical to get ready as early as possible if you anticipate needing a full scholarship to support your education. This is crucial if you find yourself having to go to an interview. During special “scholarship weekends,” 50–100 students are invited to come on campus and interview with a faculty member. During this time, they are asked questions about their motivations, goals, and how their answers relate to the course and university. In the event that you must attend a scholarship interview, you should conduct yourself accordingly, dressing professionally, arriving prepared with thoughtful responses to any questions they may pose, and having a few questions prepared to ask them when the opportunity arises at the conclusion of the interview. 

Work hard and keep motivated

While some full scholarships will only be given to exceptional students or will consider both academic achievement and financial need, others will consider only the latter. It goes without saying that you should be studying hard, but since most scholarships are given to the students who perform the best, you will need to work extremely hard if you want to receive the full one. Strong academic standing is important because, in certain situations, universities will evaluate applicants for full scholarships just by utilizing your standard application. It can be mentally draining to push yourself academically, but remember your objectives to stay motivated and take occasional breaks to unwind (especially during and after exam season!). 

Make yourself stand out from other applicants

It is important to stand out from the crowd of applicants by showcasing a genuine commitment to improving yourself as a person, especially since there is intense competition for full scholarships. This entails showcasing a few extracurricular activities to scholarship providers, showcasing your interests and passions outside of the classroom, and providing instances of your involvement in the community, such as volunteer work for charitable causes.

Scholarship providers also highly respect leadership abilities, which you can showcase by offering to spearhead projects in your extracurricular activities or volunteer work in the community.

Building strong relationships with your academic mentors is important because they can provide a more accurate and personal reflection of you in their letter of recommendation. A glowing report on your academic and personal qualities through your letters of recommendation could also really help you stand out from the competition when it comes to scholarship applications.  

Read the application instructions carefully

While it might seem apparent, you do not want to lose out on a scholarship by inadvertently omitting a piece of information or a document that was specifically mentioned in the application instructions. To reduce the likelihood that you will overlook anything, make sure you read the application instructions thoroughly and several times. If you have any questions, feel free to email the provider.

Submit an exceptional scholarship essay or cover letter

It should go without saying that your cover letter and application essay must be of the highest caliber possible. This entails checking that it is precise in its formatting, catches the reader’s attention with an engaging opening, remains concentrated on its main idea or topic, and has perfect grammar and spelling. It should also be clear and concise. Seek a friend to review it and look for any errors or poorly written sentences instead of relying solely on your own hundreds of proofreads to ensure it is flawless.

Be realistic

Finally, as we mentioned before, the harsh reality is that there are very few full scholarships available, and those that are are highly competitive, so many applicants who fulfill and surpass the requirements for a full scholarship ultimately fall short of the mark. Although you should not let this discourage you from applying, be reasonable in your expectations. Furthermore, keep in mind that there is no restriction on the number of scholarship applications you can submit or, typically, the number of scholarships you can be granted; therefore, you might be able to combine two or more smaller scholarships to create your own full scholarship. Naturally, make sure to inquire with the providers about your eligibility to apply for and obtain funding from additional sources. In the event that you are rejected, attempt not to let it bring you down. Instead, get back up, get over the setback, and keep going after your goals in life.


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