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How Can I Increase My Chances of Earning a Full-Ride Scholarship?

Securing a full-ride scholarship will be a dream come to for students, whether or not they come from a good financial background. A full-ride scholarship means that you will not be required to pay a cent to fund your studies. In other words, you will not pay for your tuition money, textbooks, housing, or even additional costs that come with studying abroad.

Full-Ride Scholarship


Ideally, any student should be aiming to secure a full-ride scholarship; that will see them complete their studies without any student loans. Getting a full-ride scholarship is like someone taking care of you from the period you start your studies until you graduate. You won’t have to stress yourself about any expenses whatsoever; your task is to read and excel. 

However, there’s a problem. Getting a full-ride scholarship may not be as easy as most people would think. These opportunities are very much rare and very competitive, for that matter. 

But not to worry, we have some tips for you; to increase your chances of securing full-ride scholarships without worrying about any costs. Please note that even after implementing all the tips you will find in this article, the decision still lies in the scholarship organizations or institutions’ hands. 

That said, let’s kick things off by fully understanding: 

What Is a Full Ride Scholarship?

You are busy looking for scholarship opportunities, but before you even thought about scholarship opportunities, the chances are that you already researched to find out what college education will cost you. 

Look, college education cost is not just the tuition fees – it includes a lot more like transportation costs, housing, textbooks, etc. All these costs, when combined, is called the Cost of Attendance (CoA). And depending on the college, you want to join, the cost can be $200,000 or even more. 

Full-ride scholarships are scholarships that will take care of the entire college education expenses. In other words, it’s a scholarship that will cover your tuition fees, your housing, transport, and textbook costs. And please note that full-ride scholarships are awarded to students who perform well – regardless of whether they come from a rich or poor background. 

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Additionally, you also need to note that a full-ride scholarship doesn’t just mean a private scholarship because there are also other ways you can secure full-ride scholarships. The point is that free money will always remain free money, as long as you qualify for it legitimately. If you want to increase your chances of securing a full-ride scholarship, you need to start by applying to all of these: 

  • Private scholarships (need-based and merit-based). 
  • Institutional (need-based). 
  • Institutional (merit-based)

How to Increase Your Chances of Earning a Full-Ride Scholarship

1. Develop a Scholarship Mindset 

One mistake most students make is just sitting and hoping that they will get a scholarship opportunity. Instead of gambling your most significant chance in life, you need to apply to several scholarship opportunities and hope to get lots of scholarship opportunities. 

Thinking along that line is having the abundance mindset; it makes you control what other students may not have control over. When you get many scholarship opportunities, you have to decide which of them you will consider. In other words, you are a step closer to your dream, whatever that dream is. 

Also, applying to many scholarship opportunities means that you can qualify for other small scholarship fundings, which will undoubtedly add up and push you a little bit. The general idea is that life is quite unpredictable, and you have to prepare for the worst because you shouldn’t miss out on your dreams because you have no funding – not at all. 

That said, use different resources you have – from the internet to referrals you might get from friends, relatives, and even employers. Search the internet to see if you could find scholarship opportunities that you can qualify for. If any of the scholarship opportunities require anything, make sure you have them ready.

2. Know Where to Find the Scholarship Opportunities 

Before you think of applying for a scholarship opportunity, you need to know where you will find those opportunities. Usually, your target college has a list of scholarships on their website. Start by checking their websites and see if there are any scholarship opportunities that you could qualify for. Some universities could even be offering scholarship opportunities in your subject or from your location. 

Scholarship Opportunities 

Apart from your target college’s website, you could also check other websites, such as Fastweb.com or Internationalscholarships.com, to find scholarship opportunities. Most of these scholarship opportunities are aimed at African or Asian students. 

The internet is full of everything you will need. Just do a simple Google search, and you will get millions of search results. The best of all is that there are many websites and mobile applications that are focused only on listing scholarship opportunities for interested students. Leverage this age of technology and become what you want to become.

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3. Meet With Potential Sponsors

Meeting with your potential sponsors could be a big stepping stone towards securing your full-ride scholarship opportunities. Schedule meetings with your sponsors and discuss or ask them questions about the scholarships you are eyeing. And because they have more experience than you do, they’ll always give you insights that will help you increase your chances. 

Potential Sponsors

If you plan to schedule meetings with your professors, you need to be considerate enough because other students may also want to schedule meetings with them. Therefore, you must reach out to your professor and ask them about their schedule to see when and at what time you could schedule a meeting to discuss different scholarship opportunities.

4. Do Your Homework

People who do their homework have a higher chance of succeeding at whatever they want. And the same applies to a student looking for a full-ride scholarship opportunity. Do everything you can to make sure you are fully prepared for the scholarship weekends and interviews. Research and see what is expected of students who are applying for scholarship opportunities. 

Reach out to more experienced people within your field and ask them a few questions to ensure you have gotten everything right. The idea is to have the upper hand or have a competitive edge over other students and apply for the same scholarship opportunities. Being unique helps you stand out from the crowd, and you can only stand out by doing your homework. 

5. Get a Recommendation Letter 

A recommendation letter is essential, and that means that you need to choose the right person who will write your recommendation letter. Anybody you choose to write your recommendation letter must root for you and outline your qualities clearly. 

You can approach many people to write your recommendation letter – from your teachers to your employers. Whether or not you have never been employed, at least you have had an internship opportunity in a company. If the employers in that company like you, they should be able to write your recommendation letter. 

Recommendation Letter 

Your high school teachers can also be a great option to write your recommendation letters. Approach any of your high school teachers and ask them to write your recommendation letter. In most cases, they will accept to help you out. However, you must make sure that they know about you so that they can write a comprehensive recommendation letter. 

When you approach someone to write your recommendation letter, you should provide them with the following information: 

  • A brief overview of what you want them to include in your recommendation letter. 
  • You will want them to include some key points in your recommendation letter (maybe some things related to the scholarship opportunity). 
  • A copy of your resume to help them have a rough idea of your achievements over the years. 
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6. Apply Early 

Once you have done your homework, you need to start thinking of how you will apply for the scholarship opportunities you have found. And because many other students will also be applying, strive to apply earlier. 

According to a report, the United States business schools are seeing a drop in scholarship applications. Even top tier colleges are experiencing this drop – some as worse as double what was recorded in the previous years. 

Apply Early 

This is just an insight to help you understand that you need to be smart even as you apply to these opportunities. If there’s a drop in the applications, such opportunities almost guarantee you the scholarships. However, it would help if you considered other factors, too. 

Applying early and smart means more opportunities coming your way. Once you have applied to many scholarship opportunities, you need to wait a little bit longer to see the opportunities you have secured. The longer you wait, the better scholarship opportunities may come your way. And because patience is a virtue, be a little patient and see what opportunities you’ll find.

7. Stand Out From Other Applicants 

Some so many other students are also eyeing the full-ride scholarship opportunities. So you need to make sure that you stand out from the pool of other applicants. Include a few extracurricular activities to give you a competitive advantage, show your interests and passions to the scholarship companies, and give examples when you’ve taken part in a creative activity. 

Stand Out From

If you have good leadership qualities, that’s a plus. Leverage it to your full advantage because most scholarship providers value applicants with good leadership skills. One way you can prove your leadership skills is by volunteering to lead a specific program or activity. 

Apart from that, you’d also want to make sure that your academic reports are at the top. However, this is something you have no control over when you are just discovering scholarship opportunities after you are out of school. For chrissake, you can’t change your grades and make them better once you are out of school. 


These are just some of the tips you can implement if you are serious about securing a full-ride scholarship. However, it would help if you kept in mind that getting many small scholarship opportunities can add up to all your CoA care. So don’t underestimate any scholarship opportunity you come across. 

About Sonia Kukreja

I am a mother of a lovely kid, and an avid fan technology, computing and management related topics. I hold a degree in MBA from well known management college in India. After completing my post graduation I thought to start a website where I can share management related concepts with rest of the people.