Top 10 Merit-Based Scholarships in the USA

Pursuing higher education in the United States is a dream for many students worldwide. However, the rising costs of tuition fees can often act as a barrier.

Fortunately, there are numerous merit-based scholarships available to support deserving students in their academic endeavors.

In this article, we present the top 10 merit-based scholarships in the USA, along with their requirements. Read on to discover these prestigious opportunities that can help you unlock your full potential.

1. Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most renowned and prestigious international scholarships available to students worldwide.

It allows recipients to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford.

To be eligible, candidates must demonstrate exceptional academic achievements, leadership qualities, and a commitment to making a positive impact in the world.

Applicants should be between the ages of 19 and 25 and have completed their undergraduate degree.

Fulbright Scholarship

Administered by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Scholarship is a highly competitive program that provides funding for international students to pursue graduate study or research in the United States.

The scholarship seeks to promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding between countries. Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership potential, and a strong commitment to community engagement.

3. Gates Millennium Scholars Program

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to provide opportunities for outstanding minority students to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies.

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To be eligible, candidates must be from an underrepresented minority group, have a minimum GPA of 3.3, and demonstrate leadership qualities and community involvement.

Selected scholars receive a comprehensive financial aid package to cover their educational expenses.

4. National Merit Scholarship Program

The National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes and rewards exceptional high school students across the country.

Scholarships are awarded based on students’ performance on the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test).

Semifinalists and finalists are chosen from the pool of test takers, and winners receive scholarships from various sponsoring organizations.

5. Coca-Cola Scholars Program

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program is open to high school seniors who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership skills, and a commitment to community service.

Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The program awards scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 to selected students.

6. Intel Science Talent Search

The Intel Science Talent Search (now known as the Regeneron Science Talent Search) is a prestigious competition that recognizes outstanding high school seniors in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Finalists receive scholarships, and the top winner is awarded $250,000. The application process involves submitting a research project and showcasing scientific aptitude and innovation.

7. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship is designed to support high-achieving high school seniors with financial need.

Eligible candidates must have a minimum GPA of 3.5, demonstrate significant academic accomplishments, and show unmet financial need.

The scholarship provides comprehensive financial support for undergraduate studies, including tuition, books, and living expenses.

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8. National Hispanic Scholars Program

The National Hispanic Scholars Program recognizes outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students who score well on the PSAT/NMSQT.

To be eligible, students must achieve a specific PSAT score and identify as Hispanic/Latino on the test. Selected scholars receive scholarships and opportunities for educational enrichment.

9. Davidson Fellows Scholarship

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship is awarded to students who have completed a significant piece of work in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, music, literature, or philosophy. The program seeks to recognize and support exceptional young talent. Applicants must be 18 years old or younger and must demonstrate extraordinary accomplishments in their chosen field.

10. Ron Brown Scholar Program

The Ron Brown Scholar Program provides scholarships to academically talented African American high school seniors who demonstrate leadership potential and a commitment to public service.

Applicants must excel academically, exhibit leadership in their communities, and demonstrate financial need. Selected scholars receive renewable scholarships to support their undergraduate education.


Can international students apply for these merit-based scholarships?

Yes, some scholarships, such as the Rhodes Scholarship and the Fulbright Scholarship, are open to international students. However, each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria, so it’s important to review the requirements carefully.

How can I increase my chances of receiving a merit-based scholarship?

To increase your chances of receiving a merit-based scholarship, focus on academic excellence, engage in extracurricular activities, demonstrate leadership skills, and actively participate in your community.

Additionally, start researching and applying for scholarships well in advance and submit a compelling application that highlights your achievements and goals.

Are there scholarships available for graduate or postgraduate studies?

Yes, many of the scholarships mentioned in this list, such as the Rhodes Scholarship, Fulbright Scholarship, and Gates Millennium Scholars Program, provide funding for graduate or postgraduate studies.

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However, it’s important to check the specific requirements and eligibility criteria for each scholarship.

Are there any scholarships specifically for students pursuing careers in STEM fields?

Yes, several scholarships, such as the Intel Science Talent Search and Davidson Fellows Scholarship, are specifically geared towards students interested in STEM fields.

These scholarships recognize and support exceptional achievements in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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