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Choosing a CollegeFinancial AidPreparing for College

Merit Scholarships at Top-tier Schools

By August 17, 2016 No Comments

Dave Best Pic (12222)  By Dave Best, Galin Education College Counselor

We all want our children to succeed in life, and that often means ensuring that our son or daughter receives the best education. Though some may find that education at state universities or college, some students’ dreams may lead them to institutions where tuition is considerably higher.

Many top-tier colleges cost $60,000 to $70,000 annually for undergraduate studies – an anxiety-producing figure for many families. If your child’s dream career includes graduate or medical school, then the money budgeted for higher education needs to cover several additional years. For many parents, then, not being able to afford their child’s dream school is a legitimate fear.

Compounding the issue is the fact that Ivy League universities strive to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need and so only offer need-based aid. This means that highly talented students, musicians, and even athletes are not eligible for any merit scholarships at schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Nevertheless, there are many highly-regarded, very-selective private universities that do offer generous merit scholarships for top applicants. These awards recognize those who excel in the classroom, serve as leaders at their school, and contribute to their community. They are awarded to the best candidates in the incoming freshman class, regardless of family income or assets.

Here are five such opportunities.

Carnegie Mellon University

  • Presidential Scholarship
  • # of Annual Awards: 90
  • Full tuition and fees
  • Automatic Consideration
  • Criteria: academic and / or artistic talent

Duke University

  • Robertson Scholars
  • # of Annual Awards: 18
  • Full ride (tuition, fees, room, board) plus a stipend for three summers
  • Separate Scholarship Application required
  • Criteria: young leaders who strive to make transformational contributions to society

Emory University

  • Emory Scholars
  • # of Annual Awards: 25
  • Full ride (tuition, fees, room, board) plus stipends for summer
  • Separate Scholarship Application required. Finalists will participate in an On-Campus Visit
  • Criteria: intellectual curiosity, creative thinking, servant leadership, communication skills, and contribution to community

Rice University

  • Trustee Distinguished Scholarship
  • # of Annual Awards (not disclosed)
  • $24,000 – $26,500 annually
  • Automatic Consideration
  • Criteria: student who distinguish themselves scholastically and personally, even within Rice’s highly competitive group of admitted students

Vanderbilt University

  • Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship Program
  • # of Annual Awards: 150
  • Full tuition plus one summer stipend
  • Separate Scholarship Application required
  • Criteria: academic achievement, intellectual promise, leadership and contribution outside the classroom