Top 10 Merit-Based Scholarships for High School Students

Are you a high school student looking to pursue higher education but worried about the cost? Well, worry no more! Merit-based scholarships are an excellent way to alleviate the financial burden and make your dreams of attending college a reality. These scholarships are awarded based on academic achievements, talents, leadership abilities, and other outstanding qualities demonstrated by students like you.

In this blog post, we will explore the top 10 merit-based scholarships for high school students across the United States. These prestigious programs offer substantial financial aid packages that can cover tuition fees and even provide additional benefits such as stipends or study abroad opportunities. So without further ado, let’s discover these incredible scholarship opportunities that could change your life!


1. University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)

When it comes to merit-based scholarships, the University of Alabama stands out as a top contender. Located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, this university offers an array of scholarship programs for both in-state and out-of-state students.

The University of Alabama’s merit programs include the Crimson Scholars Program, Capstone Scholarships, and Presidential Scholarships. These scholarships range from $1,000 to full tuition coverage per year. To be eligible for these awards, students must meet specific criteria such as high school GPA requirements and standardized test scores.

One notable program is the National Merit Scholarship Program at the University of Alabama. This prestigious scholarship is available to National Merit Finalists who choose to attend UA. The benefits are impressive – full tuition waivers for both in-state and out-of-state finalists!

Aside from financial assistance, these merit-based scholarships also provide additional perks like priority registration or honors college admission consideration. With its generous offerings and commitment to supporting academic excellence, the University of Alabama truly sets itself apart as a prime destination for high-achieving students seeking higher education opportunities!


2. Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)

Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, AZ offers a range of merit-based scholarships for high school students. These scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence, leadership potential, and extracurricular involvement. ASU believes in recognizing and supporting talented students who demonstrate outstanding achievements.

One of the merit-based scholarship programs at ASU is the New American University Scholars Program. This program provides full tuition coverage for out-of-state freshmen who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and exceptional SAT or ACT scores.

Another notable scholarship offered by ASU is the President’s Scholarship. This award provides $5,000 per year to out-of-state students with strong academic records and significant community involvement.

Additionally, ASU offers the Flinn Scholars Program which covers full tuition costs, room and board, study abroad opportunities, and more for Arizona residents who rank within the top 5-10% of their graduating class.

To be eligible for these scholarships at ASU, high school students must submit their applications by specific deadlines mentioned on the university’s website. It’s important to highlight your achievements and showcase your potential as a future leader when applying for these prestigious awards at Arizona State University.

Remember to always check the official websites of universities for up-to-date information regarding eligibility criteria and application requirements before applying!


3. Auburn University (Auburn, AL)

Auburn University, located in Auburn, Alabama, offers a prestigious merit-based scholarship known as the National Scholars Presidential Scholarship. This highly competitive scholarship is open to both National Merit Finalists and National Achievement Finalists who have been admitted to Auburn University.

What sets this scholarship apart is that it provides full-tuition scholarships for both in-state and out-of-state students. This means that regardless of where you come from if you meet the eligibility criteria and are selected as a recipient of this award, your tuition expenses will be completely covered.

In addition to the financial benefits, being awarded the National Scholars Presidential Scholarship at Auburn University comes with several other perks. These include priority registration for classes each semester and access to special academic resources tailored specifically for scholars.

The selection process for this prestigious scholarship takes into consideration not only academic achievements but also leadership experiences and extracurricular involvement. The number of recipients varies each year based on available funding.

If you are a high-achieving student looking for an exceptional merit-based scholarship opportunity, Auburn University’s National Scholars Presidential Scholarship should be on your radar!


4. University of California- Berkeley

The University of California- Berkeley is renowned for its academic excellence and offers a range of scholarships based on both need and merit. These scholarships provide valuable financial support to high school students looking to pursue their higher education at this prestigious institution.

UC Berkeley offers several merit-based scholarships, including the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship Program. This program is highly competitive and provides recipients with full-tuition coverage as well as additional benefits such as priority enrollment, faculty mentoring, and access to exclusive research opportunities.

Another notable scholarship offered by UC Berkeley is the Leadership Award Program. This program recognizes outstanding leadership potential in students who have made significant contributions to their schools or communities. The scholarship includes a generous monetary award along with mentorship opportunities to help recipients further develop their leadership skills.

In addition to these merit-based scholarships, UC Berkeley also offers need-based financial aid packages that take into consideration a student’s family income and resources. This ensures that even those without exceptional academic achievements can still receive assistance in pursuing their educational goals at Berkeley.

Applying for these scholarships requires submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (for eligible undocumented students). It’s important for prospective students to carefully review the eligibility criteria and application deadlines for each scholarship opportunity.

UC Berkeley’s commitment to providing financial support through merit-based scholarships demonstrates its dedication to ensuring that deserving high school students have access to quality education regardless of their financial background.


5. University of Colorado at Boulder (Boulder, Colorado)

The University of Colorado at Boulder offers a range of merit- and need-based scholarship programs for high school students. These scholarships are available to both in-state and out-of-state students, making them accessible to a wide range of applicants.

One notable program is the Chancellor’s Achievement Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional academic achievement. This scholarship covers full tuition costs for four years and provides additional funding for study-abroad opportunities. To be eligible, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.8 and demonstrate leadership qualities.

Another option is the Esteemed Scholars Program, which supports high-achieving Colorado residents. This program provides renewable scholarships ranging from $4,000 to full tuition coverage based on academic merit.

Additionally, the CU-Boulder Merit Scholarship rewards out-of-state students with strong academic records. The value of these scholarships varies based on factors such as GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

To apply for these scholarships, prospective students should complete the admissions application by November 15th for priority consideration. It’s important to note that these awards are highly competitive, so it’s advisable to submit your application early.

The University of Colorado at Boulder offers several enticing options for high school seniors looking for merit-based financial assistance.


6. Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)

Georgia Tech, located in Atlanta, Georgia, offers several merit-based scholarship programs to attract top-tier high school students. One of the most prestigious scholarships is the President’s Scholarship. This highly competitive program selects a small number of incoming freshmen based on their exceptional academic achievements and leadership potential.

The selection process for the President’s Scholarship involves a thorough review of applicant’s academic records, extracurricular involvement, essays, and letters of recommendation. The chosen recipients are awarded full-tuition scholarships for four years.

Being selected as a President’s Scholar at Georgia Tech comes with numerous benefits beyond financial support. Scholars have access to exclusive mentorship opportunities, research experiences with renowned faculty members, and special events designed to enhance their leadership skills.

The President’s Scholarship not only acknowledges outstanding academic achievement but also recognizes students who demonstrate strong character and potential for making an impact on society. It is an honor that opens doors to limitless possibilities during their time at Georgia Tech and beyond.

Overall” or “In conclusion”, it is clear that Georgia Tech offers exceptional merit-based scholarship programs like the prestigious President’s Scholarship. These opportunities enable high-achieving students to pursue their dreams while receiving invaluable support throughout their college journey.


7. University of Michigan- Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor offers a mix of need-based and merit scholarships to high school students. These scholarships provide valuable financial assistance to deserving students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievements.

One notable merit scholarship program at the university is the Regents Scholarship, which is awarded based on both academic excellence and leadership potential. It provides recipients with a substantial annual stipend, along with other benefits such as priority course registration and mentorship opportunities.

Another prestigious scholarship program at U-M Ann Arbor is the HAIL Scholarship, which stands for High Achieving Involved Leaders. This scholarship recognizes outstanding students who have demonstrated leadership skills and community involvement during their high school years. The HAIL Scholarship covers full tuition for four years of undergraduate study.

In addition to these specific programs, there are also numerous departmental scholarships available at U-M Ann Arbor that reward excellence in particular fields of study. These scholarships can range from a few thousand dollars to full-tuition awards.

By offering a range of merit-based scholarships, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor supports talented high school students in pursuing their education without financial barriers. These scholarships not only recognize their achievements but also enable them to thrive academically at one of the top universities in the country.


8. University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, commonly known as UNC-Chapel Hill, offers a range of merit-based scholarships that can help high school students pursue their dreams without the burden of financial constraints. One notable scholarship program is the Morehead-Cain Scholarship, which covers full tuition, fees, and provides a generous stipend for four years of undergraduate study.

In addition to the Morehead-Cain Scholarship, UNC-Chapel Hill also offers several other prestigious scholarships such as the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program and the Bryan Scholars Program. These programs provide not only financial support but also unique opportunities for personal and leadership development.

To be eligible for these scholarships, students must demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, leadership potential, community involvement, and a strong commitment to service. The application process typically involves submitting an online application along with essays and letters of recommendation.

Receiving a merit-based scholarship from UNC-Chapel Hill is not only a great honor but also opens doors to countless opportunities for growth and success. With these scholarships in hand, high school students can embark on their college journey at one of the top public universities in the country without worrying about tuition costs.


9. University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

The University of Virginia (UVa) in Charlottesville, VA is renowned for its prestigious Jefferson Scholars program. This highly competitive merit-based scholarship offers substantial financial support to exceptional students from both in-state and out-of-state.

One of the standout features of the Jefferson Scholars program is the generous annual stipend provided to scholars. This allows recipients to focus on their studies and fully immerse themselves in all that UVa has to offer academically and culturally.

In addition to the financial benefits, the program also provides enriching experiences outside of the classroom. Jefferson Scholars have access to a network of accomplished alumni who can mentor them throughout their academic journey and beyond. They also have opportunities for research, internships, and leadership development.

To be eligible for this esteemed scholarship, applicants must demonstrate outstanding achievements in academics, leadership, and service. The selection process is rigorous but ultimately rewards those who embody Thomas Jefferson’s vision of excellence.

For high-achieving students seeking a comprehensive educational experience with significant financial backing, UVa’s Jefferson Scholars program presents an incredible opportunity worth pursuing.


10. College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA)

College of William and Mary, located in Williamsburg, Virginia, offers two prestigious merit-based scholarship programs: the 1693 Scholars Program and the Monroe Scholars Program. These programs provide exceptional opportunities for high-achieving students to excel academically and engage in enriching experiences.

The 1693 Scholars Program is named after the year William & Mary was founded and is open to out-of-state applicants. It provides a full tuition scholarship for four years, along with additional funding for research projects or study abroad opportunities. This highly competitive program selects only about 15 incoming students each year who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, leadership skills, and a commitment to community service.

The Monroe Scholars Program honors James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States who attended William & Mary. This program is available to both in-state and out-of-state students. It offers a range of benefits including scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $12,000 per year based on academic merit. In addition to financial support, Monroe Scholars receive priority registration for classes and access to special seminars and events.

Both the 1693 Scholars Program and the Monroe Scholars Program at the College of William & Mary provide unique opportunities for talented high school students seeking an exceptional college experience. By recognizing their achievements through these scholarships, William & Mary encourages excellence both inside and outside the classroom while fostering a vibrant community of motivated scholars.



Merit-based scholarships play a significant role in supporting and rewarding high-achieving high school students. These scholarships not only provide financial assistance but also recognize the hard work, dedication, and talent of these individuals.

The top 10 merit-based scholarship programs highlighted in this article offer exceptional opportunities for students to pursue their educational dreams without the burden of excessive student loans. From prestigious universities like the University of Alabama and UC Berkeley to renowned institutions like Arizona State University and Georgia Tech, these scholarships open doors to academic excellence.

By offering full tuition or substantial financial support, these programs not only alleviate the financial strain on students and their families but also allow them to focus on their studies and extracurricular pursuits. Additionally, many of these scholarships come with other benefits such as stipends or enriching experiences that further enhance the overall college experience.

Moreover, being awarded a merit-based scholarship adds prestige to one’s academic profile and can significantly impact future opportunities such as graduate school admissions or job applications. It demonstrates a student’s commitment to excellence and serves as evidence of their ability to excel in challenging environments.

It is crucial for high school students who aspire to higher education to explore these merit-based scholarship options early on in their academic journey. Researching eligibility criteria, application processes, deadlines, and requirements will help them maximize their chances of securing these valuable awards.

Merit-based scholarships are more than just financial aid; they are investments in promising young minds who have demonstrated exceptional abilities both academically and personally. These programs reward deserving students while empowering them to pursue their passions without unnecessary financial burdens. So if you’re a high school student dreaming big about your future education aspirations – don’t forget about all those amazing merit-based scholarship opportunities awaiting you!

Leave a Comment