Secrets to Winning a Full-Ride Scholarship

full-ride scholarship tips

Secrets to Winning a Full-Ride Scholarship

Published September 30, 2020 | Last Updated October 10th, 2023 at 07:11 pm

full-ride scholarship tips

Today my daughter had an accepted student’s event at Albright College, one of her top choices. She was accepted months ago and was invited to apply for their full-ride merit scholarship.

It had a fairly short turnaround time, and within a few weeks she needed to submit an essay and a non-academic recommendation.

Odds were extremely long. About 8000 students apply to Albright, they accept about half, and out of those, 150 of their top applicants (based on GPA and test scores) are invited to apply for their full ride.

Is it Hard to Win a Scholarship?

The first step in winning scholarships is applying for scholarships.

Would you believe that not every one of the top 150 applied? You cannot win if you don’t apply.

  • Maybe some didn’t check their email in time.
  • Maybe others didn’t understand the value of this scholarship.
  • Maybe some had their sights set on “more well-known” colleges and didn’t really want their full tuition, room & board scholarship.
  • And I know for a fact that some (otherwise qualified) applicants simply hadn’t submitted their application to the college early enough to be invited to apply for the scholarship.

A panel of admissions officers whittled down all the scholarship applicants and interviewed the top 9 candidates.

My daughter was ecstatic to be among them and she took it VERY seriously.

Here’s what she did…

  • Ran through 4-different mock/practice interview sessions (one with our pastor, one with her friends, another with her high school administrator and she even practiced in a mirror).
  • She dressed in business-business attire.
  • Made sure her hair, nails, makeup and jewelry were age-appropriate, yet understated and nicely done.
  • She seriously studied up on the college.
  • She arrived early.
  • Had a copy of her resume, scholarship essay, original application and was as ready as she could be to put her best foot forward. She sent hand-written thank you notes to everyone she met at the college afterwards.

This kid gave it her all. Did her very best. Win, lose or draw, we were already proud of her for putting this much effort into finding a way she could afford college based on her own merits.

Plus…she’s just sixteen years old. (I share this to provide a bit of context. This really is how some people prep for scholarship competitions.)

I’m happy to report that today, (on a day that had been a day of family sorrow for the past 8 years) my daughter received the news that she was selected for Albright College’s Davis Scholarship which covers her full tuition, room & board!

(Both the college and my daughter have given me permission to share this news.)

Tips for Those Looking for Scholarships

Here are some take-home points that can help others looking for scholarships at other colleges:

1. Please make sure your kids religiously check their email, because…

2.  Sometimes there could be REAL, LEGITIMATE scholarship opportunities from colleges in their email.

3. Don’t miss opportunities due to procrastination. Even though there was no official “EA” (early action) application period at this college, as a general rule, getting your applications in early at any college can only increase the odds of something positive coming your way.

4. Do not be so discouraged by long shot odds that you don’t even try. While my DD is a very good student – she is not a perfect one. Be encouraged, not all of the biggest merit scholarships end up won by valedictorians with perfect test scores.

Was the timing of such happy news perhaps a bit of divine providence? (I may never really know.)

But it did make this day brighter. And today of all days, I confess I’m thanking goodness for my Dad’s legacy of being serious about “getting your education” and I’m relieved to see it continue throughout generations.

Wondering which colleges might offer scholarships to your son or daughter?

Check out our R2C Insights tool. It will provide you with a list of schools that will be more generous to your student based on their stats and preferences.  

Other Articles You Might Like:

Merit Scholarships Guide: Factors, Tips, Full List, and Search Tools

Scholarships for Student Athletes: Our Softball Player’s Story

What Is a Good PSAT Score? Essential Guide to Scoring, Scholarships, and Prep




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