First gen student confused about full-ride scholarships

I posted another topic on a different forum detailing my accomplishments, but I wanted to get on here and ask about the process of receiving full rides from colleges.

How does it work exactly? I heard that a college can offer money after admitting you, but can they offer you a full ride without you applying for it? If so, would the full ride scholarship only cover tuition, or do I have chance to be given money for other expenses like room and board?

I know a girl who got a full ride at A&M through the Brockman Foundation scholarship program after getting very little “automatic” scholarship aid but I’ve also heard some senior classmates last year bragging about how schools were just “offering” them thousands of dollars to attend.

My problem is that I am looking at about 7 schools right now, and I’m wondering if I need to be applying to ALL of their programs directly. Some schools don’t even offer full ride scholarships through the university directly, so does that mean I won’t be able to get a full ride from them unless I apply for external scholarships?

Please help a very confused student out! I’ve tried googling this question in so many different ways but still haven’t gotten an answer.

Unfortunately there is no universal answer as it depends on the school. Some schools will automatically consider you for merit scholarships. Others require supplemental essays and an application.

Note that many schools do not allow “stacking” of scholarships so if you are awarded external scholarships, you are required to report those to the FA office and they may reduce your need based award.

If you share the names of the schools on your list, there may be some posters here that will have more detailed information.

I’m looking at all the Texas public and private institutions for a chance at some merit-based aid. Texas A&M is at the top of my list. I’m also considering UT Austin, UT Dallas, SMU, Baylor, Texas Tech, and Rice (doubt I will get any aid there though).

Are you saying you won’t qualify for need based aid? Have you run Rice’s net price calculator? What can/will your family per year of college?

Full ride = full COA (tuition, fees, room and board, books). Full tuition awards still leave the rest of the costs to be paid for.

My parents have about $100,000 in savings but are pressuring me to get a full ride to a college. I doubt I will get too much need based aid so I’m not relying on it.

Are you low income? The full rides (all merit) at those schools (offered only at UT, SMU, and UTD) are extremely competitive and require separate application. TAMU no longer has Brockman. Both TAMU and UT have need-based full rides as well but they are still extremely competitive (separate application). Texas Tech only offers a full ride to National Merit finalists. How competitive of an applicant are you?

You have to run some of the schools’ net price calculators and tell us what the cost estimates are before we can help you. If you can’t afford your EFC, all of the meet full need schools may have to come off your list.

Did you take the PSAT? If so, any chance to be a national merit scholar?

Can’t emphasize it enough run the NPC for schools you are looking at that meet full need. Then think about it, and I wouldn’t bother listening to friends and how much they got unless they are trying to steer you toward some scholarship money.

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Here is a Texas school that offers full rides: University Scholarships - Financial Aid

PVAMU is an HBCU, and a fine school, but may or may not appeal to OP.

I can’t find your other thread where you list your stats. Are you National Merit?

No. Sucked at the PSAT. Didn’t realize why until I took the ACT and got a 35 on my first try. Guess they were right about most people being good at just one of the two tests