Scholarships are not strictly reserved for the financially needy. Even a rich girl who happens to be brilliant, talented, and dedicated, may be eligible for an academic or merit-based scholarship. These types of scholarships are not dependent upon your family’s financial need, but upon qualifications that make you especially desirable to a college, including academic excellence, athletic ability, artistic talent, or some form of community service.
The academic or merit-based scholarships recognize talent, potential, or accomplishment, rather than financial need. For example, if you scored very highly on your college entrance exams, have outstanding grades in school, and are in the top five to ten percent of your class, your chances of receiving an academic scholarship are excellent. Similarly, your chances of receiving a merit-based scholarship improve greatly if you display outstanding athletic ability, artistic excellence, or are heavily involved in extracurricular activities.
In order to attract and entice the best possible students, colleges or universities will not only offer academic scholarships to students who are at the top of their class, but will also offer merit-based scholarships to students who have demonstrated athletic excellence by becoming the star quarterback or the captain of the basketball or gymnastics team, or who have demonstrated artistic excellence through singing, dancing, acting, or playing a musical instrument. Merit-based scholarships are also often offered to those who demonstrate excellence through outstanding dedication to community involvement, perhaps starting a community outreach program for the less fortunate.
Colleges offer academic and merit-based scholarships to students they believe will one day become alumni and be able to contribute to the school in some way, either through monetary contributions or through reputation. The top schools are eager to attract students who have exceptional artistic, athletic, or academic talent, because these students enhance the reputation of the school thus increasing the likelihood of future enrollment of other top quality students.
In addition to colleges and universities, various community organizations, businesses, religious and advocacy groups, and other membership organizations often award academic or merit-based scholarships that recognize outstanding community service and involvement, or demonstration of leadership potential in school, as captain of a sports team or as student class president, for example. These community, business, and other organizations are interested in bankrolling the education of future leaders, students who excel in school and will likely go on to become very successful and be in a position to give back to the community.