Becoming a candidate for a full-ride scholarship involves meeting the specific requirements of the university or organization offering the scholarship, according to Scholarship Experts. Most organizations base full-ride scholarships on merit rather than financial need, explains Scholarships.com.
Criteria typically include achieving a high grade-point average and excelling in whatever area the scholarship covers, such as sports or the arts, states U.S. News and World Report. Other factors are class rank, scores on tests such as the SAT and ACT, and community service, states Scholarships.com.
To prepare for a full-ride scholarship, a prospective student should take challenging high school courses, excel in extracurricular activities and participate in volunteer work, advises U.S. News and World Report. But even excelling in and outside of school does not guarantee winning a full-ride scholarship; fewer than 20,000 students out of the millions who applied received full-ride scholarships in 2013, with only 2 percent of high school athletes receiving any kind of scholarship at all, explains Scholarship Experts.
Full-ride scholarships are often confused with full-tuition scholarships, but full-ride scholarships also cover expenses such as books and housing in addition to all tuition and fees. Because winning a full-ride scholarship is unlikely, applying for multiple scholarships and sending in a Free Application for Federal Student Aid is advisable, notes Scholarship Experts.