Where to Find Full Ride Scholarships?

Full Ride Scholarships – The Definition

I was talking to my colleague and he was talking to me about the insane cost of tuition. He proceeded to say that his daughter has $100,000 of student loan debt and how there was a basically a small return on investment for her degrees.

My jaw dropped and heart was pounding so fast that I thought I was going to Afib. I quickly thought about my two daughters, my cousins children, and my friends children and said “my god how on earth are we going to pay for this and if we can’t how can we do our best as parents not to allow our children to be in a massive amount of debt.”

With that said I think it’s time we talk about Full Ride Scholarships.

Boring Definition time!!! However, this definition to me is not boring because of the opportunity it presents. A full ride scholarships covers all expenses related to college.

The Unicorn of Scholarships

Prep Scholar coins this as the Unicorn of scholarships (cute). Fewer than 20,000 students per year manage to get one of these. So that’s gulp….less than 1% attending college. One thing we haven’t talked about is the expense of room and board, travel, books. That’s a whole other beast.

To get one of these scholarships, you need to be in the top 10% and have super high test scores. Character is also an important factor so leadership skills and community involvement is essential. Pretty much you have to be the perfect student and I don’t say that to discourage anyone from applying. I’m just trying to put things in perspective.

Colleges that offer Full Ride Scholarships

College Vine has the 50 College with Full-Ride Scholarships. When I look at this list I see the best of the best:

  • Duke University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Virginia Tech
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Emory University
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Virginia
  • Wake Forest University
  • The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • UNC (University of North Carolina) Chapel Hill
  • Michigan State University
  • Purdue University
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Houston
  • The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)
  • Boston College
  • The Ohio State University
  • Clemson University
  • College of William and Mary
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (George Tech)
  • Boston University
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Buffalo
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • University of Georgia
  • The University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of Mississippi
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Texas Christian University
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Wisconsin
  • American University
  • Providence Scholarship
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Oberlin College
  • Mercer University
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisville
  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • University of Richmond
  • University of Hawaii
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Drake University
  • Elizabethtown College
  • Rollins College

Full Ride vs Full Tuition Scholarships

I’d like to discuss the difference between a Full-Ride Scholarship and a scholarship that covers full-tuition

Full Ride Scholarships

  • Covers the entire cost of college
  • Includes tuition, room, board, text books, any other materials
  • Living costs and study abroad fees
  • Can be awarded by the federal government, colleges, or private companies
  • They are highly sought-after and highly competitive
  • Only given out to a small amount of students (0.1% to be exact)

Full Tuition Scholarships

  • Covers the full tuition of the college or university
  • Not intended to cover the other costs (but some do)
  • Awarded by government, colleges, or private companies
  • Extremely hard to come by

My Thoughts on Full Ride Scholarships (Same Issue I Have with the Lottery)

These Full-Ride Scholarships are intense with regards to their competition. Everyone is going to be setting their sights on that big prize. They will be putting all of their eggs into one basket. Kind of like the lottery. There are people I know that put all their faith into the lottery drawing in an effort to get an insane amount of money.

However, as we see based on the small percentage of students that get awarded Full-Ride Scholarships is 0.1%. Probably same odds as you winning the lottery. If we are supposed to be creative and think “outside the box.’ Then although it would be amazing to receive the Full-Ride Scholarships but the competition is enormous. So maybe it’s also best to find those “hidden gems” like those Weird Scholarships that we discussed previously. If one were to obtain a few them, it would add up nicely and allow you to ice pick away at the tuition. I’m mostly thinking out loud here but something to ponder for sure.

How to Increase Your Chances of Earning a Full Ride Tuition?

College Raptor highlights how one can increase their chances of earning a full-ride scholarship. These may be common sense but here we go:

  • Start Preparing Early – How early you ask? Start today! Today is now! If you are a freshman in High School then start! If you’re a 7th grader then are interested…..then start!
  • Strive for Academic Excellence – It may not seem important. I mean getting an “A” in your geography course may not seem important. However, for the bigger picture it is important.
  • Choose Challenging Courses – It’s more impressive that have taken on challenging courses and did well on them. AP classes should be on your radar.
  • Develop your leadership skills – This is important! It’s all about academics. There is a social aspect to your character and who you are. Can you affect people in a positive way? Are you able to communicate effectively and thoughtfully while remaining diplomatic?
  • Participate in extracurricular activities – Juggling is not just something you see at the circus. Participating in interests outside of the classroom show who you are. Now it’s important not to over exert yourself as you don’t want to get burnt out. Choosing one or two activities’ that really interest you is a good way to go.
  • Get involved in your community – Family, faith, and community. It’s important to some and shows again one’s character.
  • Build relationships with your mentors (highly recommended) – Networking! You hear it all the time. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Building relationships with your mentors will give you a sounding board and a different perspective on situations. They are about able to help you with a letter of recommendation.
  • Set your expectations (you must have an aim) – Be realistic but you MUST have an AIM.
  • Don’t overlook smaller scholarships – It’s what we talked about previously. Putting your eggs in one basket could potentially set you up for disappointment.

Different Types of Full Ride Scholarships

The site Learn U also has information on Full-Ride Scholarships. This list is divided into the following:

Competitive Full Rude Scholarships

  • Full Tuition/Full Ride
  • No requirement based on state residence, ethnicity, and race
  • No need-based factors taken into account
  • For public or non-profit private schools

Automatic Full Ride Scholarships (Ha I wish it was automatic that you would receive them).

  • These are automatically based on ACT/SAT, GPA
  • Full Tuition/Full Ride
  • No requirement based on state residency, ethnicity, and race
  • No need-based factors
  • For public or non-profit private schools

National Merit Scholarships

  • Full Tuition/Full Ride
  • No requirement based on state residency, ethnicity, and race
  • Automatically awarded
  • For public or non-profit private schools

Other Places to Find Full Ride Scholarships

In addition to an actual college or universities award the scholarships, there are also quite a few other places/companies that offer Full-Ride Scholarships and their requirements.


  • Have at least a 2.5 high school GPA 
  • Have a high school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Earn a minimum 1000 on the SAT or 19 on the ACT
  • Meet all physical standards


  • Have at least a 3.0 high school GPA 
  • Currently enrolled in an undergraduate program
  • Must be studying a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field

Air Force ROTC

  • Plan to study an approved major
  • Have at least a 3.0 high school GPA
  • Have a high school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Earn a minimum 1240 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT
  • Meet all physical standards

The Gates Millennium Scholars

  • Students must be African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American
  • Have at least a 3.3 high school GPA
  • Must meet Federal Pell Grant Eligibility


  • Study an approved major
  • Have a minimum 1200 SAT score (at least 540 on SAT Math and 550 on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) or a minimum 47 combined ACT Math and English score (at least 21 on ACT Math and 22 on English)
  • Meet all physical standards

SMART (Science, Mathematics & Research for Transformation)

  • Be a US, Australian, New Zealand, or UK citizen who’s at least 18 years old
  • Be an enrolled undergraduate or (admitted or enrolled) graduate student (high school students are ineligible for this scholarship)
  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA
  • Major in an accepted discipline
  • Pass security clearance
  • Be able to participate in DoD internships and work for the DoD after graduation 

Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship

  • High school juniors and seniors can be nominated
  • Must have at least a B average
  • Will be required to take the ACT and SAT
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Display great character and leadership

Must also choose to attend one of the following schools:

  • University of Colorado
  • University of Illinois
  • Indiana University
  • University of Kansas
  • Marquette University
  • Miami University
  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Missouri
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Oregon
  • Penn State University
  • Purdue University
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin

JPMorgan – Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start Program

  • Awarded to high school seniors across New York City
  • Must be planning to attend the following colleges/universities:
    • Barnard College
    • Baruch College
    • Brooklyn College
    • City College
    • Columbia University
    • Fordham University (Lincoln Center campus, Rosehill campus)
    • Long Island University (Brooklyn campus)
    • New York University
    • Pace University (Manhattan campus)
    • Polytechnic Institute of New York University
    • St. Francis College
    • St. John’s University

You must also plan on pursing the following degree programs

  • Business
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Liberal Arts
  • Social Science

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship

  • May pursue any major or field of study
  • Received personal advising about choosing a career and navigating financial aid
  • Have a GPA of 3.5 or above
  • SAT score of 1,200 or above
  • ACT score of 26 and above
  • Must demonstrate financial need

Regeneron Science Talent Search

  • Must of conducted individual research pertaining to a scientific or math field
  • Research must be for six months or more
  • Will need to submit research report with application
  • Work submitted will be presented in Washington DC in a week-long event
  • Research fields can consist of the following STEAM areas:
    • Biochemistry
    • Bio-engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Environmental Science
    • Genomics
    • Mathematics
    • Planetary science

Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway

  • Must write a short essay describe how you will change the world
  • Will need to be between the ages of 18 and 24
  • Create and upload a short video to explain your goal further

Flinn Foundation Scholarship

  • Must have minimum GPA of 3.5 unweighted
  • Be in the top 5% of class
  • ACT score of 29 or above
  • SAT score of 1340 or above
  • Have had participated in extracurricular and leadership activities
  • Must provide information on familiar, employment, and answer two short essay questions
  • Answer three longer essays
  • Will need to provide two teacher recommendations

Academic and Sport Full Ride Scholarships

So last thoughts. So how does one really get a Full-Ride Scholarship? There is at bare minimum a foundation that a candidate should at least have.Let’s break it down between academics and sports.

For Academic Full-Ride Scholarships:

  • Keep your GPA as high as possible – Minimum is typically 3.5 for most full-ride scholarships. However you should aim for a 4.0 J.
  • Do well on the ACT and SAT
  • Be a well-round student

For Sport Full-Ride Scholarships:

  • Well that may not be so easy as everyone says
  • Basketball and Football are super competitive
  • Must be special like Olympic level
  • Have a strong network of coaches and mentors

So there you have it the ins and outs of the full-ride scholarship. I can honestly say that there is passion with this episode especially hearing a co-worker tell me about his daughter and her debt. My heart goes out to the parents and the kids as it’s a difficult ride when you’re starting behind the eight ball.

Well that is why we are here folks. You’re not alone. We are all in this together to let’s continue to think of creative ways to battle the cost of tuition.

Tuition Drop Podcast

If you are on the run and would like to listen to our Tuition Drop Podcast on Full-Ride Scholarships, check out our episode below!

Tuition Drop Podcast – Full Ride Scholarships
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: