The Holy Grail of Scholarships: Full Ride Free for You

By Patricia Gorden Neill - May 20th, 2013

This is the scholarship everyone dreams of getting, a full ride, everything paid for trip to college for the entire four years. As you might guess, there’s not a lot of these rare offerings, but there are some. Full tuition scholarships also exist, but they too are not thick on the ground. Still, if you’re smart, take advanced placement or honors classes in high school, have kept up your grades to an outstanding GPA and scored high on the SAT and ACT, then you’ve got a decent chance at a full ride or full tuition scholarship. If you’re a top of the line athlete or musician, you also stand a chance at a full ride scholarship. Many colleges and universities offer these scholarships to undergraduates, as do corporations and community foundations. Since every college age kid in the nation wants one of these, the competition is fierce.

Some of these top level scholarships have a needs based component, some don’t. Some require that you be a National Merit Scholar, others do not. Some are even offered automatically if you’ve got the stats, the GPA, class rank and test scores. Others are highly competitive as mentioned previously. You can find at least a few of these full ride, full tuition scholarships in every state, if not at every school. It’s something you should look for when you’re picking out colleges for your short list. If a school in your state offers a full ride scholarship based on the numbers, and you qualify, the problem of how to pay for college is solved. Why would you go anywhere else? At least, you can certainly expect that question from your parents.

Where to Find Full Ride/Full Tuition Scholarship

FinAid

The FinAid financial blog has a listing of 24 colleges and universities that offer full ride/full tuition scholarships. Each college usually has a number of these scholarships available, from one or two to 100, 200 and more. Some colleges and universities have different scholarship levels, usually based on SAT/ACT scores and GPA. While the selection criteria varies among the schools, these are competitive academic scholarships, and some are quite demanding. Some of these scholarships might be for in state students, so read the fine print.

Scholarships.com

The Scholarships.com Web site lists hundreds of scholarships at all levels, some of them full ride or full tuition. There’s also a scholarship search function that helps students look for scholarships based on their own grades and scores. While there’s other scholarship databases that you should also check out, take a look at Scholarship.com’s listings. From $100 scholarship contests or sweepstakes to full ride nationally known prestigious scholarships, Scholarship.com has information on a large variety of scholarships in just about every category. The site also lists full ride/full tuition scholarships from colleges and universities, corporations and community foundations, so be sure and take a look.

FastWeb

You could consider FastWeb the one-stop shop site for finding scholarships in particular and financial aid information in general. With over 1.5 million scholarships in its database worth over $3.4 billion, FastWeb should be able to help you find some money for college. It lists featured and full ride/full tuition scholarships as well as zillions of scholarships at lesser amounts. With paying skyrocketing college costs, however, every little bit counts. FastWeb holds multiple scholarship contests, making the process fun and lively as well as potentially lucrative. FastWeb’s search function has you fill out a complete profile and search for scholarships that fit from there.

College Confidential

College Confidential is the college bound forum, where educators, students and everyone else involved in higher education gets together and discusses every college topic under the sun. There’s excellent and informative threads on competitive full ride/full tuition scholarships and another on automatic full ride/full tuition scholarships based on an incoming student’s numbers. Both of these threads lists schools offering these highly competitive or automatic if you’ve got the numbers scholarships, which can help you find the right school with the right scholarship for you.

About the Author

Patricia Gorden NeillPatricia Gorden Neill edited medical and scholarly journals for over 20 years in the ivy-covered halls of the University of Rochester. She is a freelance writer, often covering higher education and the concerns of college age students, and is regularly published on a variety of websites.