I’ve been spending some time talking about a Moneyball approach to college admissions. The idea is to get the best college education without sacrificing your financial future. And what better Moneyball solution for college than a full-ride scholarship? Want to know where to find such scholarships? Wendy Nelson at My Kid’s College Choice has created a spreadsheet listing over 400 college sponsored full-ride scholarships.
For each scholarship program, Wendy provides the minimum test scores, in-state and out-of-state qualifications, the amount of the award (full tuition, full ride, full ride plus), and a link to the website. She also indicates if it is a National Merit scholarship. For those interested in getting more than $2,000 for being a National Merit Scholar, Wendy’s list contains 76 programs offering full scholarships.
What I found most interesting is the “Type” column. Wendy classifies scholarships as Automatic or Competitive. Automatic scholarships are awarded based on meeting minimum test scores and GPA requirements. Competitive scholarships generally have minimum requirements but award winners are selected from a pool of applicants. These are often limited to a number of awards per year regardless of the number of applicants. That can make some of these competitive scholarships very competitive indeed.
These scholarships include the UCLA Stamps Scholarships which are awarded to only five student per year and application is by invitation only. If you’re in the top one to two percent of applicants nationally, you might qualify the Boston College Presidential Scholars Program.
Approximately two-thirds of the scholarships listed are competitive. Not all of the scholarships are as competitive as the two previously mentioned. However, these also don’t tend to be at schools with a high prestige factor. Supply and demand operates in college admissions just like in any other market for goods and services. Colleges that have their choice of excellent students don’t have to provide incentives to attend.
Most of the Moneyball opportunities on this list are going to be found in Automatic scholarships. Half of these are National Merit Scholarships already mentioned. However, there are still a significant number that are strictly GPA and test score based. If you can get past the allure of the prestige factor, you might be surprised at what a 3.25 GPA and 29 ACT will get you.
The list below shows the number of scholarships listed by state and type. A single school may have multiple scholarships so don’t interpret the numbers as the total number of schools with scholarships. Better yet, get the spreadsheet for yourself-it will be the best $2.99 you’ve ever spent.
Full Ride Scholarships By State
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