Apply For Best Merit Scholarships In California 2024

If you want to know about Best Merit Scholarships In California, you’re on the right page.

The Merit Based Scholarship California is only awarded to students who are eligible and who reside in California at the time of application. A US citizen is also required to qualify for the scholarship. However, California students have to conduct research on their high school in order to receive a scholarship.

Additionally, local businesses, non-profit organizations, and state aid programs offer financial assistance. This is the right place to find the Best Merit Scholarship in California.

So what are you waiting for? Read the article and see what you think.

Table of Contents

What Is A Merit Based Scholarship?

An academic merit scholarship provides money for college to applicants with high academic achievement and accolades. There may be merit awards available to students who top their class in grade point average (GPA), standardized test scores, extracurricular achievements, athletic performance, leadership involvement, or community involvement.

A need-based scholarship requires proof of financial need in order to qualify. You can apply for many scholarships based only on your academic and extracurricular achievements with merit-based awards. A merit-based scholarship isn’t repaid, like other scholarships.

Types of Merit Scholarships In California

Types of Merit Scholarships In California

There are various types of merit-based scholarships and merit-based aid that students can apply for. A student’s academic performance, athletic performance, extracurricular activities, and artistic skills all contribute to scholarship offers. There are scholarships for students from specific backgrounds. A number of major scholarship categories are listed here.

National Merit

In the National Merit Scholarship Competition, students are awarded financial aid based on their PSAT scores. The test must be taken by the junior year of high school to qualify. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation then selects a scholarship recipient based on their test scores and other academic credentials.


The purpose of academic merit-based scholarships is to reward excellence in the classroom. The scholarships usually require a minimum GPA as well as other academic qualifications. Academics is one part of a student’s application, but most scholarship providers consider it just one part.


The athletic merit-based scholarships take into account students’ athletic abilities. A high level of athletic competition is offered by NCAA Division I, and applicants face intense competition. A college may offer scholarships to recruit skilled athletes. Athletes can contact coaches to demonstrate their abilities.

Special Interest

A special interest scholarship is awarded to students with specific backgrounds or academic and professional interests. There are different criteria for different scholarships. There are some programs that serve applicants of different races or ethnicities. There are also programs for those seeking specific degrees or careers. Additionally, these scholarships typically have specific academic requirements.


An artistic scholarship is awarded to students who show exceptional creativity or proficiency in the arts. The most common artistic disciplines awarded are visual arts, music, writing, and performing arts. There are some scholarships that serve specific subdisciplines and others that serve art students in general. An application for an arts scholarship requires the applicant to submit a sample of their work.

Top Best Merit Scholarships In California

Top Best Merit Scholarships In California

Best Merit Scholarships In California are highly sought after by students since they offer the highest amount of money. Additionally, there are prestigious grants like the Rhodes Scholarship, Truman Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship, and Churchill Scholarship.

The following are some of the best scholarships for undergraduates who are interested in studying in the United States.

Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

Udall Undergraduate Scholarship was established to honor Morris K. Udall and Steward L. Udall, both Arizona representatives. The foundation offers three types of scholarships to students in their second and third years.

Alaska Natives or Native Americans interested in health care or tribal politics can apply for the second scholarship. Thirdly, there is a scholarship available for second-year and junior students interested in conserving the environment. The scholarship offers a maximum of $7000, and 55 recipients are selected.

Barry Goldwater Scholarship

In 1964, Goldwater ran for the Republican nomination for president and served as a senator from Arizona. The scholarship was established in memory of him and to honor his commitment to public service. The award is primarily for sophomores and juniors who wish to pursue careers in math, engineering, and natural sciences. Up to $7500 in scholarships are available to about 400 students.

National Scholarship Program

National Merit Scholarships are mainly awarded based on NMSQT and PSAT scores. There are approximately 16,000 semifinalists who have the highest scores in 50 states. The scholarship application package will be given to these students, but they need to meet the academic requirements in order to proceed.

The winners are mostly selected based on their skills and accomplishments. Generally, there are three types of scholarships offered:

  • Company-sponsored awards (for the children of current or former employees)
  • University-sponsored awards (for students of a particular institution)
  • National merit awards

The scholarship amount varies and is usually $2,500. The number of recipients is approximately 7,600.

Foot Locker Scholarship

The Foot Locker Scholarship Program offers a four-year scholarship to athletes with a high GPA. Nevertheless, the scholarship is offered for $20,000 and is divided over four years. As a result, you don’t have to renew it every year.

Those selected for this scholarship will receive an additional $5,000. However, the price is only available to high school students who plan to attend a four-year university. They offer a financial award of $20,000 that is split into $5,000 each year. A total of 20 recipients will benefit from the scholarship.

Dell Researchers

Dell Scholars also offer a tuition fee reimbursement program. Furthermore, you can also receive a free laptop from the brand and purchase textbooks with money offered by the brand. A wide network of resources is also available to assist with completing college challenges.

However, every applicant must be eligible for a Pell Grant, a federal grant for undergraduates. Your family’s household income determines the Pell Grant. A financial reward of $20,000 is being offered.  A maximum of 500 recipients can receive benefits.

Gates Millennium Scholarship Program

Bill and Melinda Gates founded the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program. This program was designed for exceptional minority students with financial needs. Usually, the scholarships are offered to students in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

They will receive scholarships to complete higher education. The price is renewable and may vary based on the individual’s needs. A total of 1,000 recipients can benefit from the program.

Coca-Cola Fellowship Foundation

A Coca-Cola scholarship is offered to students who have done volunteer work and are good academically. In addition, all applicants must attend a college or university that is accredited in the United States. All applications will be divided into semi-finalists and finalists, and then 2,000 will be selected.

Despite this, the interview process is quite intensive before the names of 150 winners are announced. There will be $1,000 scholarships for the remaining finalists. Their financial reward is $20,000, and 150 people are eligible to receive it.

Buick Achievers Scholarship

Buick Achievers scholarships are created by the General Motors Foundation. The scholarship, supported by California ADU Grants and Loan Programs, provides renewable grants to students studying technology, engineering, and other related fields. Nevertheless, merit-based scholarships require academic excellence and leadership potential. The financial requirements are also taken into account. A total of 50 people will receive financial rewards of up to $25,000 each.

Best Merit Scholarships In California In Private National Universities

University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)

The University of Rochester is a private research university based in Rochester, New York, United States. There are over 12,000 students enrolled there. A new campus was built next to the Genesee River in 1955 after being founded in 1850. The University of Rochester offers merit scholarships for many of its students.

University of Miami (Miami, Florida)

In 1925, Merrick founded Coral Gables and gave the University 160 acres and nearly $5 million. The University of Miami is one of the country’s top research universities, and it is located in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and dynamic cities. The University of Miami offers several merit scholarships, including the Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship and the Isaac Bashevis Singer Scholarship.

University of Chicago ( Chicago, Illinois)

The University of Chicago, founded in 1890, is located in Chicago, Illinois. The main campus is on Chicago’s South Side, and there are seven international campuses and centers around the world. The university offers 53 undergraduate majors and 47 minors, as well as four divisions and seven professional schools. Most of the University of Chicago’s merit scholarships are designed to assist first-generation students.

Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas)

The Southern Methodist University is a private research university with a satellite campus in Taos County, New Mexico. It was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, now part of the United Methodist Church, in partnership with Dallas civic leaders on April 17, 1911. There is a merit scholarship offered by Southern Methodist University that covers full tuition, board, and room. Scholarships are also offered for students looking to explore specific fields such as STEM, arts, and engineering.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ( New York, NY)

A school such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute dates back to 1824 when Stephen Van Rensselaer founded it. As a result, the school became Rensselaer Institute in 1833 and became a polytechnic institute in the 1850s. The name was changed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1861. RPI is a top private university located in Troy, New York, USA. The Rensselaer Medal Scholarship is a four-year merit scholarship that offers a minimum of $15,000 per year.

How To Find Best Merit Scholarships In California?

How To Find Best Merit Scholarships In California

When you apply for admission or return for a second, third, or fourth year, check your college’s merit scholarship program. 

New Students

The admissions or financial aid websites of many colleges list merit scholarship opportunities for incoming students. According to Kenyon College’s financial aid page, all merit scholarships are listed for incoming freshmen. 

Current Students

If you are a current student seeking merit scholarships, talk to your academic advisor and/or department head. There are many departments that award scholarships to current students at the end of the semester or the end of the year. There are some programs that require applications, while others may consider students automatically.

Don’t forget to check with your financial aid office as well! Their scholarship program may offer its scholarships or can point you in the right direction if they don’t. Additionally, consider exploring Online Colleges That Offer Financial Aid for more opportunities.

How To Apply For Best Merit Scholarships In California?

The process of applying for Best Merit Scholarships In California requires careful planning, attention to detail, and highlighting your best qualities. You should follow these steps:

The Research

You should begin by researching the different scholarships available that suit your profile, interests, and academic goals. Several scholarships are targeted at specific fields of study, demographics, or regions, so be sure to narrow your search accordingly. It is important to be aware of eligibility requirements, deadlines, and any supporting documentation that may be needed.

Make sure you don’t limit yourself to only online resources when conducting your research. The guidance counselor at your school can provide valuable insight and recommendations. Additionally, you can ask scholarship providers direct questions at scholarship fairs and information sessions. You may find hidden gems that perfectly suit your goals when you do your research extra mile.

Prepare Your Application

As soon as you’ve identified scholarships that resonate with you, begin collecting the necessary documents for your application. A scholarship provider may require you to submit academic transcripts, standard test scores, letters of recommendation, personal statements or essays, as well as other documentation.

Make sure your application materials are accurate when preparing them. It is important that your transcripts reflect your academic achievements accurately and are up-to-date. Let your recommenders know well in advance so they can write thoughtful and compelling letters.

Develop a personal statement or essay that showcases your unique experiences, motivations, and goals. Your chances of standing out among the competition increase the more effort you put into your application materials.

Make Your Application Stand Out

Once you have your application materials ready, it’s time to make it stand out. Your statement or essay should be tailored to each scholarship application, highlighting your achievements, goals, and how the scholarship will help you reach your full potential. Your passion, dedication, and leadership skills should be evident in a compelling and authentic manner.

A good way to showcase your extracurricular involvement is in your application. Your leadership roles, community service initiatives, and projects should be highlighted. Scholarship providers often look for well-rounded individuals who have excelled academically and contributed positively to their communities.

There is a high level of competition for merit-based scholarships, so ensure that every aspect of your application exudes excellence. Ensure that your application is free of errors and inconsistencies by proofreading it.

Mentors, teachers, or family members who can offer fresh perspectives on your application may be able to assist. The more you refine and improve your application, the more likely you are to win the scholarship that will help you achieve your educational goals.

Tips To Apply For Best Merit Scholarships In California

Tips To Apply For Best Merit Scholarships In California

There are four tips and tricks you can use to help you with the Best Merit Scholarships In California application process.

Meeting Deadlines

Some colleges keep very strict deadlines, so students should apply for Best Merit Scholarships In California before the deadline. However, be aware that deadlines may vary from one college to another.

Find Specific Scholarship

The merit scholarship varies from college to college. Occasionally, all admitted students are automatically eligible for merit scholarships at some schools.

Students must write an application, essay, or interview to qualify for scholarship applications. Some colleges also offer merit-based scholarships to students with specific talents in theater, music, art, etc.

Remember To Apply for Financial Assistance

You can apply for Best Merit Scholarships In California as well as financial aid if necessary. However, you must complete the FAFSA and other financial documents within the deadline. If you apply through this method, you will surely be considered for a scholarship that can be merit-based or need-based.

College Selection

The majority of students make the biggest mistake when choosing a college. Many colleges do not emphasize merit scholarships. The students must identify colleges that will offer them the best merit-based and need-based scholarships. The college may offer merit-based scholarships to 25 percent of the applicants, but you must be in the top 25 percent to qualify. Therefore, when choosing the right college, you should be very wise.

How To Negotiate Best Merit Scholarships In California

If you are offered Best Merit Scholarships In California for only a portion of your college costs, you might not think twice about accepting it. In reality, some merit-based scholarships can be negotiated.

As an example, your top school might offer you a 50% merit scholarship, while your backup school may grant you a full-ride scholarship. If you are applying to multiple schools, you have an advantage when negotiating your scholarship award.

Here are a few tips for negotiating your scholarship:

  • Send a letter to the school’s admissions office. In the first instance, express your interest in attending their school and your gratitude for the offer. Then, inquire about additional scholarship opportunities that will make the cost more affordable. Explain why you’re interested in attending their school, but note that the cost of attendance, despite the scholarship, is still a challenge.
  • It is important to be transparent about competing merit scholarship awards. College admissions officers understand how important cost is to your decision. If other schools have offered a higher award package, don’t be afraid to mention them, along with their award amounts. The negotiation process will likely require you to provide proof of these offers anyway.
  • Be polite and positive at all times. Your scholarship award can be increased at the school’s discretion. Nevertheless, being respectful and responsive to your request can go a long way toward getting it considered.

How Many Merit Scholarships In California Can I Get?

How Many Merit Scholarships In California Can I Get

The possibility of students earning unlimited scholarships exists, but significant merit-based assistance could affect other financial aid offers. The process of colleges reducing aid offers to students is known as financial aid displacement.

There are some private scholarship programs that work with recipients to reduce financial aid displacement, but not all schools do this. College financial aid offices should inform students whether they displace full or partial awards.

FAQs About Best Merit Scholarships In California

What Are Merit Scholarships In California?

A merit-based scholarship is a form of financial aid for students who excel in a specific field, such as athletics or academics. Merit awards may also be awarded to students who play an instrument or take part in leadership activities.

Are There Merit Scholarships For High School Students?

The merit scholarship program is available to high school students as well as college students. Scholarships for high school seniors who play music include the Robert H. Wagner Jr. “Memorial Music Scholarship.” The higher your education level, the more scholarships you can find for high school students. Additionally, programs like the South Carolina Education Lottery Second Chance can provide unique opportunities for funding your education.

Do I Have To Attend School In California To Apply For Merit Scholarships In California?

The majority of California colleges are located in California or require students to live or attend there. It may be necessary for some to live there during high school and attend a California college or university.

Do California Scholarships Only Apply To Undergraduate Degrees?

California scholarships have very different eligibility requirements, and many are available to students attending community colleges, vocational schools, and graduate programs. The most common undergraduate scholarships are for four-year programs, but they are not the only ones available.
It won’t matter what kind of school you’re enrolled in, you’ll likely find California scholarships relevant to your studies. The only caveat is attending an unaccredited school. The search for awards may be more difficult than if you attended an accredited school.

What Is A Good GPA For Merit Scholarships In California?

It’s important to note that merit-based scholarships come in many different types, and some require higher GPAs than others. There are even some schools that take test scores, extracurriculars, and essays into account more heavily than GPAs. It is best to play to your strengths when sending out applications. A 4.0 GPA or close to it is a good indicator that you should apply to companies that emphasize GPA. Try applying to scholarships that value your achievements in other fields.

Do Merit Scholarships Take Into Account Financial Need?

There are some merit scholarships that do not take financial need into account, but many also consider a combination of both criteria. Typically, scholarships are awarded to students who have a significant financial need as well as a strong academic/extracurricular profile. On the other hand, many opportunities on this list aren’t even considered necessary.

Should I Renew My Merit Scholarship?

This list contains some merit scholarships that are one-time awards, meaning you will only receive one lump sum. As long as the recipient continues to meet the scholarship requirements, others automatically renew each year. There are some programs that require students to apply for renewal as well. You should ensure that you meet all requirements for renewing a merit scholarship once you receive it.

How Can I Increase My Chances of Winning A California Scholarship?

Students can use the uniqueness of California to increase their chances of winning California scholarships. These factors should be aligned with their personal interests, passions, and career goals. Additionally, you will have a greater chance of winning a California scholarship if you research and apply for multiple scholarships, make sure you meet all eligibility criteria and submit a strong application.

Are There Any Merit Scholarships In California?

You can find many merit-based scholarships in California offered by schools, colleges, universities, nonprofits, and other businesses. Remember that each college has its own eligibility requirements and deadlines. It is, therefore, necessary to research the scholarship before applying.

What Type of Organizations Generally offer Merit Scholarships In California?

Merit-based scholarships are offered primarily by four types of institutions:
Public colleges and universities
Private national universities
Small liberal arts colleges
Private merit scholarships

Do I Qualify For Merit Scholarships In California?

You need to check the eligibility requirements of the university where you plan to receive the scholarship in order to determine your eligibility. Those who are in financial need are offered scholarships. Therefore, it would be best for you to check the eligibility requirements on the university’s website.


The state of California offers a wide variety of scholarships to students. There may be even more scholarship opportunities available to you if you are part of the California Scholarship Federation.

Scholarship applications usually require a FAFSA application or demonstration of financial need. Scholarships, including those provided by the California Dream For All Program, also consider a student’s academic achievement, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.