7 Easy Steps to get Merit Scholarships

Neyda Haq
Jan 4, 2021

The unpredictability of rising tuition costs has made pursuing quality education incredibly hard for students from low-income families. In the face of these challenges, the availability of scholarships has provided much-needed relief and support to students in all age categories and study groups.

In general, there are two types of scholarships; the need-based scholarship and the merit-based scholarship. The need-based scholarship is limited to financially disadvantaged students from low-income brackets. On the contrary, merit-based scholarships have no such criteria. 

In this blog, we will cover merit scholarships in detail. From definition to its benefits to the strategies you can adopt to enhance your shortlist chances - we have covered it all. Read on to learn all about it.

What is a merit scholarship?

A merit-based scholarship is a scholarship awarded to students who show a degree of excellence in a particular field. They should hold merit in academics, sports, art, literature, or any other skill set acknowledged by the scholarship granting body. 

Types of merit scholarships:

Merit Type 1: Academic Merit Scholarship.

Academic merit scholarships are awarded to students who do well academically. Your GPA, class ranking, honorary titles, ACT, and SAT scores might be considered to evaluate your academic performance and qualification for an academic-based merit scholarship.

To be considered eligible for such scholarships, your academic performance should be spot-on. Whether you are from a low-income family or a wealthy family, you will be considered eligible for this scholarship grant so long as you meet the criteria recognised by the scholarship granting body. 


Merit Type 2: Artistic or Skills-Based Merit Scholarship.

An artistic or skills-based merit scholarship is a scholarship that acknowledges and rewards the skillsets of students outside of academics. If you’re talented in music, dancing, creative writing, debate, or any other recognised skillset under the sun, you are qualified for a skills-based merit scholarship. 

To qualify for the skills-based merit scholarship, you will need an exemplary portfolio of your work and the right certificates to back your claim. You might even need to submit other proof to showcase that you meet the qualification criteria outlined for such scholarships.

Merit Type 3: Athletic or Sports-Based Merit Scholarship.

One of the most attractive merit scholarships you can apply and avail is the sports-based merit scholarship. Such scholarships are granted to students who are positively accomplished in sports and athletic activities like football, hockey, badminton, swimming, etc.

As a competitive educational institution, we strive to admit top athletes to their school. As such, we award sports-based merit scholarships to students who deserve it. So if you have a remarkable talent in any sport and have the certificates and awards to prove your mettle, start looking for scholarships for scholarship avenues in your school.

Benefits of a merit scholarship:

There are lots of benefits in winning a merit scholarship, including:

Benefit 1: Subsidises education:

Education is expensive. Though many students showcase excellent performance in different fields such as academics, sports, or arts, affording an education can burn more than just a hole in your wallet if the tuition fees are outstanding.

A merit-based scholarship that fully or partially funds your education can prove extremely helpful. Such a scholarship subsidises education and makes it equitable for all students, irrespective of their financial background.

Benefit 2: Boosts a student’s confidence:

Winning a scholarship brings a lot of self-pride and confidence to the scholarship awardee. An international scholarship helps a student believe in their abilities, which motivates them to work even harder to achieve their goals as the scholarship grant limits the financial burden of rising tuition costs.

Benefit 3: Recognises the student’s calibre:

To win a scholarship is not an easy task. Therefore, a student who wins a scholarship is recognised among peers and society. What's more, when it comes to job opportunities, a student who has benefitted from a scholarship enjoys a competitive advantage over others.

They are also recognised as hardworking and focused students who know what they want in life. As such, pursuing and being awarded a merit scholarship has perks that transcend the conventional realms of subsidised education alone.

Seven steps to get a merit scholarship:

Read on to learn some easy steps you can follow to increase your chances of getting a merit scholarship:

Step 1: Prepare Early.

As you may have already noted, your high school performance, whether in academics, sports, or arts, significantly contributes to your chances of winning a scholarship. Therefore, you need to identify the type of merit scholarship you can achieve and perfect your skill to win it.

The academic scholarship is ideal for students who have shown natural capability and accomplishment in their academic endeavours. Outstanding academic performance will increase your chances of winning the academic merit scholarship effortlessly.

Start preparing early. Do not wait until your last moment to perfect your skills. It may be overwhelming and could yield futile results.

Step 2: Research available scholarships.

Identify different organisations that offer scholarships. Being aware of different scholarships puts you at an advantage as it increases your chance of identifying a suitable scholarship.

Information is power. We advise you to gather as much information about as many merit scholarships as you can. Once you do this, you can make a list of the top scholarships whose eligibility criteria matches your unique skill sets and qualifications.


Step 3: Apply for as many scholarships as possible.

The truth is, many applicants are looking to win the same scholarships as you. You have many competitors who are eyeballing and competing for the same scholarships.

Some of these applicants may even be more talented than you are or may have a higher GPA or accomplishment in a recognised skill or sports activity. In the face of so much competition, you can increase your chances of landing a scholarship by applying to as many of them as possible.

When you have many scholarships at your disposal, your chances of winning the scholarship increases as you have multiple sources you can leverage. So make sure that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Apply to as many scholarships as you can.

Step 4: Do not ignore smaller scholarships

Some scholarships are of smaller amounts. Some of these amounts cannot fully fund your education. They may offer 10-50% off on tuition fees. But just because the scholarship grant may be comparatively less than other bigger scholarships is not a good enough reason to ignore it.

Apply for these scholarships anyway. No matter how small the subsidy, it will do a brilliant job at lifting your financial burdens.


Step 5: Ensure you meet all the requirements.

Scholarships differ in their eligibility requirements. Therefore, you should be keen on the needs of each scholarship. Attach all the required documents to your application form. If a scholarship requires that you have an SAT, then do so; this will help increase your chances of winning the merit scholarship.

Step 6: Submit a perfect application.

You can make a lasting impression with your application form. You need to make it count. Ranging from the content of your application to your motivation letter to your essay - everything matters. 

Everything needs to be spot-on.

It is vital that you check your application for grammatical errors and rectify it if you spot or identify any. As a final step, ensure that your application reflects your competence and accomplishments to stand out.

Step 7: Observe deadlines.

Last but not least, submit your application before the due date. Do not deny yourself the chance to win a scholarship by making the blunder of handing in a late submission.


Practice makes perfect, but perfection is not the goal. Being good at what you do and demonstrating it in your application form is more than enough. Inculcate these easy steps, and you will increase your chances of getting a scholarship. 

Neyda Haq

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