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What GPA Do You Need to Get a Full Scholarship?

What grade point average (GPA) qualifies you for a full ride scholarship to college?

Shawna Newman

July 08, 2020

What's the magic GPA number you need to land a full-ride scholarship?
What GPA Do You Need to Get a Full Scholarship?
Who would want to pay for school when you can potentially get a full ride scholarship instead? These highly coveted opportunities can make it possible for a student to have a successful college career who otherwise could not afford to attend. So, naturally, students often want to know the magic number: What grade point average (GPA) or GPA for college qualifies you for a full ride scholarship to college?

What GPA Do You Need to Get a Full Scholarship?

If we could provide that answer, we would. But, unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that. There’s more to scholarships than a good GPA and, even those based on a cumulative GPA aren’t all the same.
There isn’t a magic number, but the better your grades are, the more likely you are to meet eligibility criteria. It’s common for scholarship providers to set up grade point average eligibility criteria to narrow the pool of scholarship applicants. There will be a minimum GPA level specified in the scholarship eligibility criteria if that is a factor in the provider’s qualification process.

GPA Isn’t Everything, But It Helps

It’s important to note that you don’t need a 4.0 GPA (grade point average) to get scholarships (though it would certainly be beneficial)! Scholarships are awarded to all types of students for all sorts of reasons.
It’s up to a scholarship provider what the qualification criteria is for each scholarship. One of the most common grade point average requirements is a 3.0 average. (Again, every scholarship provider is different and it’s up to them to set their eligibility criteria, not us.) While some scholarships are based on a student’s GPA, most scholarship aren’t only about a student’s GPA. Rather, providers use grade point averages as a piece of scholarship qualification criteria (For example, the details may note, “Students must have a 3.0 GPA or above to apply.”)

Types of Scholarships

There are different types of scholarships, which explains why some scholarships may be awarded to a student based on their grades and another may be awarded to a student for an achievement or an entirely different reason all together.
Three main types of scholarships include, but are not limited to: Academic or Merit-based scholarships: Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students based on their student resume, which can include grade point average, extracurricular activity participation, clubs, awards, etc. Need-based scholarships: Need-based scholarships are awarded based on a student’s financial needs. Race, Ethnicity or Gender scholarships: Race, ethnicity or gender are also common attributes scholarships are awarded for. While these are some common types of scholarships, it’s important to note that scholarships are not only limited to these examples. Scholarships can, and are, awarded for just about anything you can imagine! Check out Fastweb’s Scholarship Directory to learn about more types of scholarships available on Fastweb.

5 Steps to Help You Get on the Path to a Full-Ride Scholarship

1. Begin your college search early in your high school career.
2. Research and decide which colleges you’d like to apply to.
3. Boost your chances – Cast a wide net by applying to five or more colleges.
4. Keep your grades up - A lot of scholarships require a certain grade point average (GPA) to qualify.
5. Build a robust student resume - Get involved in student volunteer and extracurricular activities throughout your high school career.

Common Places to Find Full-Ride Scholarships

• Colleges & Universities
• In-State Programs
• Field of Study/Major-based Programs
• Large Scholarship Programs
• Military Branches
Learn more about places you can find full-ride scholarships here.

Not Just GPA: 4 Other Important Things You Can Focus On

Increasing your cumulative GPA quickly is no easy task. There are other areas you can focus on that may make college more affordable for you in the long run:
  1. Develop your leadership skills.
  2. One item that stands out on a scholarship application is leadership. High school students can develop and sharpen their leadership skills by running for office in student council, becoming a tutor, mentoring incoming high school freshmen and by playing on a sports team.
  3. Serve your local community.
  4. A great leader gives back, and you'll feel so much happier in general if you're involved in your community. Your worthy cause may even get you noticed. It will certainly amplify any college application or scholarship application you submit. Strive to spend time volunteering for at least an hour each week or a couple times each month. While you're volunteering don't forget to network!
  5. Find a mentor.
  6. Connecting with others is always a good idea, especially if he/she has the drive you seek. Find a person or two that make you want to be a better person and develop that relationship. This person should be able to provide professional, academic and personal feedback. Building rapport with your mentor is important; you can go to this person when you need a strong letter of recommendation.
  7. Apply to the smaller scholarships.
  8. In the perfect world you'd land a full-ride scholarship to your dream college. While this is quite possible, you don't want to find yourself a high school senior that has overlooked applying for the smaller scholarships, with no full-ride scholarship offer. Don't overlook applying for the smaller scholarships. They can add up quickly! Also, they tend to get overlooked so your odds at winning a smaller scholarship are higher than they would be for the huge scholarships. Fastweb will do the work for you by finding scholarships that fit you; all you have to do is create a profile. Make it a goal to apply for one scholarship a week!
Have more scholarship questions? Check out these frequently asked scholarship questions:
How Can I Qualify for a Scholarship?
Can You Use Scholarship Money for Anything?
What are the Requirements for a Scholarship?
Can I Get a Scholarship for Being Hispanic?

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