4 Ways to Check Colleges for Merit Scholarships

Worried about how you're going to pay for  college?

Think that your kid's good grades will translate into some merit scholarships to pay for college?

Are you expecting colleges to reward your teens academic achievements with merit scholarships?

Calculator for your merit scholarship

Do You Know How to Find Out if a College is Going to Give Your Teen a Merit Scholarship?

I'm asking this question because a lot of parents just assume that you find out when you get the financial aid award and naturally, their teen will receive a merit scholarship at the time.


That's one way to find out.

But there are 4 other ways of finding out if a college is going to award merit money before ever applying to college

The videos on this page are the recordings from a webinar showing you to check a college for merit scholarship opportunities. 

Who should watch these videos?

I don't want to waste your time so let clarify who these videos are for. 

  • These recordings are for parents worried that their kids won't qualify for need-based financial aid. You're pretty sure you make too much money to qualify for financial aid.

  • It's definitely for those parents who have actually used an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculator and KNOW that your kids aren't going to qualify for much, if any, need-based aid.

  • It's for anyone who thinks your kids have a pretty decent shot at merit scholarships because of their academic qualifications.

These recordings aren't for those with students already in college. 

When I say merit scholarships, I'm talking about scholarships awarded by the college. Generally, these scholarships are awarded without the student submitting any other application. For students already in college, they need to start looking at apply to outside, private scholarships.

Now if they're looking to transfer to a different colleges, than this information can be useful. 

Is this your situation?

Your darling daughter or son is getting interested in colleges and you're getting interested in how you're going to pay for it. You can't help but hope that all the hard work your teen has put into getting great grades is going to pay off.

So how do you find out?

I'm going to take you through the 4 methods, starting with the ones that will give you best information to those you use when nothing else is available.

As you start applying these methods to the colleges you're actually interested in, you're going to want to have a way to keep track of the total cost of attendance for each school. This is the full sticker price which includes tuition, room and board, and any fees. Too often, college search websites list only tuition. You need to know this so you have some idea of how valuable the merit scholarships actually are.

I'm a spreadsheet kind of person so I suggest Excel or Google sheets. You can look up the actual price on the college website but it's not always easy to find. I suggest picking a college search website that is easy to use to get the number such as CollegeNavigator. Or better yet, use my spreadsheet where all the information is already entered for you.

One thing to keep in mind as we go through the methods is the difference between in-state and out-of-state costs at public universities. Make sure to pay attention to colleges that will give students in-state tuition if they are awarded specific scholarships or just have certain academic qualifications.

So to get started, do the following:

  • Decide how you're going to keep track of the information.
  • Decide on a website to look up the cost information.

 Method 1: Estimating Merit Scholarships with Net Price Calculators

 Method 2: Estimating Merit Scholarships with Scholarship Grids

 Method 3: Estimating Merit Scholarships using the Common Data Set

 Method 4: Estimating Merit Scholarships using the College Search Websites

Click HERE for the FREE list of "Colleges Most Likely to Meet Financial Need

Listing of colleges most likely to meet financial need