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Do colleges tell you you get a full ride in the acceptance letter? My Chances?

jpgarcia6jpgarcia6 Posts: 293Registered User Junior Member
I have heard stories of people getting full rides to colleges. My question is- how do I know I get a full ride? And how hard is it to get one? I have looked into some colleges I was wishing to go to and I am above average of what their general acceptance rates are. But what would be my chances of having a full ride?
Post edited by jpgarcia6 on

Replies to: Do colleges tell you you get a full ride in the acceptance letter? My Chances?

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 60,709Registered User Senior Member
    Only some colleges give full rides. Typically, a student who is given a full ride has stats that aren't just "above average" because waaaaaaayyyy too many kids would qualify. Obviously, a school isn't going to give free rides to the top 1/4 of a school If a school gives full rides, it's generally to the top few % of the school.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 60,709Registered User Senior Member
    What schools will you be applying to?

    What are your stats?
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,657Registered User Senior Member
    OP is a jr who hasn't tested yet.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 35,901Registered User Senior Member
    jpgarcia, getting a full ride...tuition/room/board/fees is not something that many students receive. As mentioned, you would need to be at the tippy top of the applicant pool at a school to even be considered for these types of awards. This means TOP SAT/ACT scores AND outstanding grades AND outstanding references and essays. And many schools do not give free rides to anyone. Some have limited free rides. Some have free ride awards that require a separate application. Some have this type of award based on your application.

    When the time comes, you need to read EACH college website's financial aid/scholarship section. Make sure you understand what is automatic, and what takes an application. Also adhere VERY strictly to the deadlines for any additional applications. Some schools will require you to apply by an early date to be considered for significant merit scholarships (not ED or EA...just an application deadline that is early).
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Posts: 5,746Registered User Senior Member
    Also, please be aware that many kids use the term "full ride" rather loosely...they may mean anything from full tuition merit scholarship to 100% of costs paid through need-based aid! As others said, true full rides based on merit alone are fairly scarce and are simply not offered at all by many schools.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 32,846Registered User Senior Member
    Also, please be aware that many kids use the term "full ride" rather loosely...they may mean anything from full tuition merit scholarship to 100% of costs paid through need-based aid! As others said, true full rides based on merit alone are fairly scarce and are simply not offered at all by many schools.

    Bears repeating.

    One friend was very proud of her brother who got a " full ride" to Princeton.
    Yes- she had a right to be proud, but as just being accepted to Princeton assumes you are of top academic caliber, the aid they offer is need based only.

    My daughter attended a school that met 100% of need.
    Some students might consider that a full ride, our EFC was just about what room & board would be.

    Instead of trying to identify what schools have more merit money than others- discuss with your family what amount of college expenses you can handle, looking at contributions from current income, savings & future income, & scholarships that may be offered by their workplaces or other local community organizations.
    Often the most money is found close to home, not on scholarships that are nationally advertised.
  • jpgarcia6jpgarcia6 Posts: 293Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks guys. For me, full ride means all of college is paid for. Obviouslly I won't get one but I would like to know if colleges tell you "Oh, if you choose us we will give you so and so money".
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 35,901Registered User Senior Member
    "Oh, if you choose us we will give you so and so money".

    That's not how it usually happens. If the college chooses to award you aid, they will tell you so. It's up to you to decide if you want to attend that college. You don't choose first and then get the awards. The college bases it's awards on what you bring to the application process (for merit awards), not your desire to accept their offer of admission.
  • jpgarcia6jpgarcia6 Posts: 293Registered User Junior Member
    @thumper1: Well that's what I meant. I wanted to know if the college will tell you how much aid you will get awarded if you decide to go.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 60,709Registered User Senior Member
    jpgarcia....

    Some schools give "assured scholarships" for stats. Some schools have scholarship grids on their websites and if your stats are within the requirements and the schools give them to all students who meet the requirements (and apply on time), then those students will "for sure" get those scholarships if they apply and get accepted.

    Only some schools do this. There is a thread that lists assured scholarships for stats.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/848226-important-links-automatic-guaranteed-merit-scholarships.html
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 35,901Registered User Senior Member
    JP...you don't seem to be understanding what I am saying. The college will award you aid if they choose to do so. YOU then decide if you want to accept their aid offer and offer of acceptance.

    They do not award you aid "if you decide to go".
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 60,709Registered User Senior Member
    thumper is right....

    If you decide to go to a school and they decide to give you aid or scholarships, then you'll get accepted, and then you'll get an award package which lists what you'll get. THEN, you can decide whether to accept.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 35,901Registered User Senior Member
    If you decide to go to a school and they decide to give you aid or scholarships, then you'll get accepted, and then you'll get an award package which lists what you'll get.

    Sort of..."if you decide to go to a school" does not guarantee that they will decide to give you aid or scholarships.

    The school will review your application for admission. They will decide whether to accept you (or not). They will award you an aid package (if they decide to do so). You will get both in the mail in sufficient time for YOU to decide if you want to accept both the offer of admission AND the financial aid they offer you.
  • juilletjuillet Posts: 5,724Registered User Senior Member
    Some colleges have guaranteed scholarships if you meet certain GPA and SAT/ACT cutoffs. Alabama is an example that's used around here all the time. If you apply and you meet those requirements, you're getting the full ride.

    Other colleges have merit scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance, but they are usually limited in number (they might even tell you how many) and are competitive. Even if you are the top applicant in the class according to stats, you still might not get the scholarship because they are competitive for the holistic package. Some colleges consider you for these scholarships along with admissions and you'd find out about them at about the same time as you find out you're admitted (they might be in the same letter, or they may be in separate letters). At other colleges, you have to compete for these scholarships separately - including, in some cases, attending a scholars' weekend at which you would get an interview along with other things - and then you find out some time after that. You'll always find out before the enrollment deadline of May 1 though.

    Your chances of getting a full ride vary by school. Depending on how many scholarships the school has, they may give full ride merit scholarships to the top 1-5% of the class, and then some other percentage of students may get partial scholarships that cover varying amounts of the rest of the cost. The best way to up your chances of getting a full ride true merit scholarship is to apply to schools at which you are in the top ~5% of applicants. If you are a tip-top student who has a chance at being admitted to places like the Ivies and Stanford, finding these schools usually isn't hard (they're towards the bottom of tier 1 and in tier 2 of the U.S. News rankings, or put another way, they're usually ranked around #40 and down. Perhaps higher depending on how good your stats are). If you are an above-average student but not the most spectacular, it'll be more difficult because the scope of schools in which you are in the top 5% is smaller.

    It also seems that in these lean times full ride merit scholarships are less widely available and more competitive. When I was applying in 2003 with a 3.6 weighted GPA and a 1460, plus above-average but not spectacular extracurriculars, I was getting invited to scholar weekends and was offered three full rides and one full-tuition scholarships, plus told I was eligible for more at places I didn't apply to. Nowadays I don't think I'd get jack with those stats, lol.
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