What is a merit-based scholarship and how to get it?

The education industry is growing exponentially. The options available are a lot and it's easy to be confused. Scholarships serve an important function in countries like India, where the learning gap is high. There are many ways to fund a higher education- student loans, grants, merit scholarships etc. This blog will guide you through a merit-based scholarship.

What is a merit-based scholarship?

Merit scholarships are often given to students who have excelled academically, athletically, or artistically. Many Online scholarships and offline Scholarship opportunities exist for kids with good grades, leadership roles, SAT/ACT scores, and community service activities.
You usually do not have to reimburse the money, just like with need-based prizes. As a result, the more renowned awards are more likely to evaluate talents and traits. Students should demonstrate leadership, debate, and a desire to serve the community.

What constitutes merit?

Different Scholarship organizations define merit in different ways. A lot of companies have mandated requirements when it comes to CSR Activities and community policies. Hence it is common for them to have scholarship programs.

Many merit scholarships search for students who have excelled academically. Others emphasize community involvement, athletic ability, professional/business expertise, leadership abilities, or artistic ability. The most prominent scholarships are awarded to students who excel in a variety of fields.

It's worth noting that, while most merit scholarships are offered solely based on merit, many also consider a financial necessity. The scholarship's financial need requirements (if any) will vary depending on the scholarship. If you don't think you'll be eligible for significant need-based aid, you should concentrate your efforts on merit-based rewards.

Why merit scholarships

Grant money is often not required to be paid back. Student loans, on the other hand, relate to a lump sum of money that is borrowed in advance to cover school expenses. Student loans must be repaid on a set timeline and with additional interest.

A merit-based scholarship, in addition to scholarships and student loans, is another option for funding your college education. Merit scholarships are normally given out based on some sort of merit, such as academic performance or success, and they are usually not reimbursed. Merit scholarships, unlike grants, are usually offered regardless of financial need.

Eligibility for merit scholarships

There are many different types of merit-based scholarships, and they can be offered for different reasons. Geography is also something to consider- Some offer educational scholarships internationally while some are limited to certain countries.
Some scholarships fund complete education or partly. Micro-scholarships are also a new phenomenon. Auro scholar offers them to younger students. Let's talk about the few broad types of merit scholarships.

Universities and Colleges

Students can apply for merit aid grants at many schools and institutions. Programs may differ from one school to the next. Some schools may give merit awards to all students without requiring any additional applications. In some situations, an additional application may be necessary. Some merit assistance grants are designed to cover the entire cost of tuition, while others just cover a portion of it.

Scholarships for Academic Excellence
Academic merit scholarships are given to students who have excelled academically throughout high school. Academic merit scholarships frequently take into account a student's grade point average, standardized test scores, class rank, and other considerations.

You may not need to apply or do anything extra to be considered for a merit-based scholarship, depending on the school. Instead, the institution may make a decision solely based on your application. It's worth noting that the criteria used by each school may differ.

Scholarships for Athletic Excellence

Athletes from NCAA Division I and II colleges may be eligible for athletic scholarships.- if applying internationally. When pursuing an athletic scholarship, keep in mind that the recruiting process can take a long time. Depending on the sport you participate in, you may require a highlight reel or video to demonstrate your abilities. Your metrics may also be reviewed by coaches.

Most institutions will want to see your academic records as well as your SAT or ACT results. You may also want to contact coaches at the institutions you're interested in attending. For local scholarships, certification regarding district/state level sports participation is required too. It is useful to read up on the authorities who’s certification is considered valid or not, especially in India.

Tips to secure a merit-based scholarship

The application process for merit scholarships varies a lot from one scholarship to the next. Some merit scholarships, such as those granted by colleges and universities, do not need students to complete any further paperwork beyond their school application.

How to apply for scholarships

Applying for merit aid from a source other than your school can take longer, and the process will likely differ depending on the organization that is giving the award. Students may be expected to compose an essay or personal statement, acquire letters of recommendation, or participate in an interview process in addition to filling out an application with basic personal information.

To know the different List of scholarships pertaining to India read our blog on the different types.

Let us get into it

(a) Submit your application early
Many awards are competitive, and it takes time to apply for them. You'll need to obtain transcripts, records, and letters of recommendation regularly. Furthermore, many will require you to write a lengthy and concise essay explaining your objectives. Allow time for these tasks so that you appear organized and focused.

(b) Maintain a good academic record
Look for rewards based on your skill sets, grades, and test scores to see if you qualify. As a general guideline, concentrate on improving your grades. Remember that receiving a merit award is only half of the struggle. If you receive an award to use at the colleges you wish to attend, you've won big.

(c) Take Proactive Action
It takes consistent work to be a high achiever, volunteer, athlete, or artist. Many suppliers are looking for that stability. You can address these issues before they snowball if you fall short of your goals. Meeting with instructors, coaches, and your guidance counselor regularly may be beneficial in taking active efforts. This not only keeps you on track but also creates a network of possible references.

(d) Look for good matches
Even if you match the requirements, not all merit scholarships are a good fit for you. You can take the Scholarship Match quiz to narrow down your search. It employs an algorithm to find the best scholarships for you based on your interests and objectives. Once you've compiled your list, submit a complete application together with all required documentation on or before the deadline.


There are a myriad of different scholarships available and who they cater to differ. It's all about finding the one right for you. Some scholarships are specific to some audiences and there is no point despairing on what cant be changed. Certain scholarships require a certain level of past academic performance. There is no point in despairing over past academic performance you can't change. If you dont meet academic requirements for the past, focus on scholarships that regard measures in your control. These include SATs, community work etc. In general, keep an open mind, wishing you all the luck!