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Do colleges visit high schools and offer a certain amount of scholarships to students who may be interested in attending that college? – Acantha

Colleges do visit many high schools on recruiting trips, usually in the early to mid-fall, but also sometimes in the late spring. Watch your guidance office bulletin board or Web site to see when colleges you might be interested in are visiting your school, or perhaps a location near your home. Colleges do not offer a limited amount of scholarships based on where you go to high school. They will discuss both need-based and, often, merit-based financial awards their college may provide. There might be scholarships offered to students from your area for one reason or another, but there is not usually a limited amount based on a student’s high school. You should apply to the colleges in which you are interested, and apply for both need-based financial aid, and possible additional merit (non-need-based) scholarships for which you might qualify.

Find the best scholarships for you with our scholarship search!

How do i get a scholarship through the PSAT? – pricilla

The PSAT is also the NMSQT: the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. About 55,000 of the more than 1.3 million annual PSAT takers will be selected as National Merit Commended Students. Going into senior year, in September, smaller proportions of students will be selected as Semifinalists, then Finalists, and, finally, Merit Scholars (who can earn $2,500 awards). See www.nationalmerit.org for more information on these programs.

This doesn’t have much to do with the money aspect of college, but I am a 4.0 student and I’m in the National Honor Society. Do you know the level of difficulty of getting one of their scholarships? – Joseph

The National Honor Society (www.NHS.us) awards 200 scholarships of $1,000 each year. Your NHS chapter can nominate two students to compete for the scholarships, so the first hurdle is to get one of your chapter’s nominations. It’s pretty competitive after that, since some highly talented students across the country are in the pool for these merit-based awards.

I would like to know how and what i should do to qualify for a merit scholarship. – Kareem

It is important to research the colleges you are interested in and determine merit scholarship criteria. For example, some schools have a scholarship grid posted on their Web site that guarantees you a scholarship as long as you have a certain grade point average, minimum SAT/ACT scores, and a specific rank in high school. It is critical to make an in-person appointment with an admissions representative to make your case. You can also search for merit-based scholarships online.

Im currently a junior in H.S. im wondering if my grades are good enough for a scholarship. In Sophomore for three semesters i have been on second honors and for junior year i have been on honor roll for one semester. my GpA is 3.1. – Merrishel

It all depends on which colleges you apply to, and also on what your eventual standardized test scores will be. Colleges typically offer merit-based (non-need-based) scholarships to students in the top third or so of their applicant pool (and sometimes an even larger group). You can also apply for need-based aid using the FAFSA and PROFILE forms, by the way.

If you maintain a GPA above 3.0, and have solid test scores, you might indeed qualify for a merit scholarship, but make sure to look for colleges that would see you as a strong candidate for THEIR applicant pool and which offer merit aid. Also, look at your state’s public university system. If you live in Georgia, for example, a HOPE scholarship would be coming your way and paying for your education in total.

What are some requirements for athletic scholarships? – anthony

The Web site ncaa.org is a good place to look into the differences between Division I, II, and III colleges and universities, and recruiting prospects. Division I and II schools (except the Ivies) offer athletic scholarships. Division III colleges do not. Minimum requirements for scholarships are actually quite low on the whole. However, particular colleges and universities have their own admission and scholarship requirements that you’ll need to meet in order to be recruited and admitted.

As you begin the athletic recruiting process and talk with coaches, ask them about their college’s recruiting and admission requirements, as well as typical scholarship packages for athletes. If you visit campus on an “official visit,” talk with other players about their recruiting experiences and scholarship packages. There are typically minimum college GPA and “reasonable academic progress” requirements that you must meet in order to maintain your eligibility to play college sports and keep your scholarship.

If you want to scope out some athletic scholarships, you can take a look through the scholarship search tool here at Peterson’s. Just search for athletic scholarships and peruse the requirements.

Are grants better than scholarships? – Kyra

Grants and scholarships are both “free money,” in the sense that you don’t need to repay them. Grants are usually need-based, while scholarships are based on merit of some kind, or are a basic discounting of tuition. They are equal, though a hitch with scholarships is that sometimes you have to meet conditions, such as participation in a sport or another activity, or maintaining a certain GPA, in order to renew the scholarship. Always read the fine print when evaluating scholarship offers to see how long they last, if they are annually renewable, and what are the conditions associated with them.

I want to know if my SAT score will qualify me for a scholarship. – Amos

Yes, it can, though typically colleges like to see SAT plus a certain GPA in combination for many of their scholarship opportunities (we are talking about merit-based scholarships, we should make clear). Sometimes colleges will elaborate on award criteria on their Web sites and in their informational materials, explaining that a certain SAT, or SAT/GPA, or GPA level will qualify all or a selection of students for certain levels of awards. Other times, it will be apparent that if your SATs are in the top third or so of a college’s SAT range, you will likely qualify for a merit-based award (aka a discount on tuition) if that institution has a non-need-based aid program. Most do.

I am going to be a senior in high school next year, and I really need to look for scholarships. Where should I go? What am I looking for? What other advice do you have for finding scholarships? Thanks – Betty

There are a variety of scholarships. Private scholarships are offered by corporations, community groups, non-profit organizations, and other groups. You can search for scholarships for free on Petersons.com. You’ll need to submit some extra writing, and possibly other materials, to qualify for them. There can be other characteristics, such as grades, activity involvement, residence in a particular town or state, affiliation with a particular group (an employer of your parents, Rotary, Boy Scouts, etc.), or background from a specific country or ethnic group, for example, which the scholarship will specify.

The second major form of scholarship is given by colleges. You can research these on colleges’ Web sites as you are completing applications. Some scholarships are given automatically for certain grades, test scores, or involvements. For others you must submit added essays or other materials or give an interview to earn them. It is definitely worth going the extra mile to open some of these up.

A third form of scholarship might be given by your state government, such as the merit-based HOPE scholarships in Georgia and similar programs in about a dozen other states. You must qualify for them based on grades/test scores. Other honors scholarships could be relevant for you in the state. Look for these on your state’s department of education or higher education Web site.

Need money for college? Peterson’s Scholarship Search helps you find the scholarships, grants, and loans you qualify for.