Institutional scholarships are the most direct pathway to a full college scholarship. The pathway may be with merit-based scholarships or need-based scholarships and grants:

Kimberly Hadaway, a second-year at Williams College, the top ranked liberal arts college in the United States, received a need-based scholarship, common among the most selective private nonprofit institutions in the country. Kimberly was also offered full need-based scholarships to Amherst, Vanderbilt, Duke, and Princeton, and was offered a full merit-based scholarship to Washington & Lee.

Kristen Starks, a first-year at the University of Richmond, was offered full merit-based scholarships to Tuskegee, Wake Forest, and the University of Richmond, and generous need-based financial aid packages to Williams, Duke, and Swarthmore.

Otis Burns, a first generation and first-year at Northeastern University, was offered full need-based scholarships to Northeastern University and to Emory and Henry.

Damian Lee, a first generation and first-year Northeastern University, was offered full need-based scholarships to Northeastern University and to Bates College, in addition to a $25,000 SallieMae Bridging the Dream Scholarship, which he was able to defer for graduate school.

Brenna Kaplan, applied Early Decision to Amherst College, because she knew that the college and their need-based financial aid policy (resulting in a full scholarship) was the right match.

While each of these students, applied for, and received private scholarships, private scholarships made up less than 1 percent of their total scholarship funds.

Lesson: Research. Since largest amount of financial aid will come from institutional scholarships and grants, unquestionably, the most important part of the college planning process is to match your student profile to the college to which you qualify for the greatest amount of financial aid.

  • As you work through this unit, add any institutional scholarships for which you qualify to the table on the ‘Module 9 – Narrative: Institutional Scholarship Research’ page of your narrative document.