Can freshman get scholarships?

Can freshman get scholarships

As high school seniors prepare to embark on their college journey, one question that often arises is whether or not they can secure scholarships as incoming freshmen. Scholarships can significantly alleviate the financial burden of higher education, making it an important consideration for many students and their families. In this article, we will explore the possibilities and opportunities available for freshmen to obtain scholarships, backed by research, examples, and statistics.

1. Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students based on their academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, leadership skills, and other notable accomplishments. These scholarships are often available to incoming freshmen, providing an excellent opportunity for students to secure financial aid right from the start of their college journey.

According to a study conducted by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), approximately 43% of private colleges and universities offer merit-based scholarships to incoming freshmen. These scholarships can range from a few thousand dollars to full tuition coverage, depending on the institution and the student’s qualifications.

For example, Stanford University offers the Stanford Foundational Scholarship, which is awarded to approximately 1% of incoming freshmen. This scholarship covers full tuition and is based on academic excellence, intellectual vitality, and personal qualities. Similarly, Duke University offers the Robertson Scholars Program, which provides full tuition, room, and board for four years to exceptional students.

Read:Are scholarships loans?

It is important for incoming freshmen to research and identify colleges and universities that offer merit-based scholarships. Many institutions have specific scholarship programs that are only available to freshmen, making it a great opportunity to secure financial aid right at the beginning of their college journey.

2. Need-Based Scholarships

While merit-based scholarships focus on academic achievements and extracurricular involvement, need-based scholarships take into account a student’s financial situation. These scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need, often determined through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or other financial aid applications.

According to a report by the College Board, approximately 82% of need-based scholarships are awarded to freshmen. This indicates that many colleges and universities prioritize providing financial aid to incoming students who require assistance to afford their education.

For example, Harvard University has a generous financial aid program that meets 100% of demonstrated need for all admitted students. This includes incoming freshmen who demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA and other required documentation. Similarly, Yale University offers need-based scholarships to all admitted students, ensuring that financial circumstances do not hinder a student’s ability to attend.

It is crucial for incoming freshmen to complete the necessary financial aid applications, such as the FAFSA, to be considered for need-based scholarships. By providing accurate and comprehensive financial information, students increase their chances of receiving financial aid to support their college education.

Read:why Are scholarships important?

3. Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships are another avenue for incoming freshmen to secure financial aid. These scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel in their respective sports and demonstrate the potential to contribute to the college’s athletic program.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), approximately 2% of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships to compete at the college level. While the competition for athletic scholarships is fierce, incoming freshmen who have demonstrated exceptional athletic abilities can explore this option to fund their education.

For example, the University of Alabama offers numerous athletic scholarships to incoming freshmen who excel in sports such as football, basketball, and swimming. These scholarships cover tuition, room, board, and other expenses, providing a significant financial benefit to student-athletes.

It is important for incoming freshmen who aspire to compete at the college level to reach out to college coaches, showcase their athletic abilities, and inquire about potential athletic scholarships. By actively engaging with college athletic programs, students increase their chances of securing financial aid through their athletic talents.

4. External Scholarships

In addition to scholarships offered by colleges and universities, there are numerous external scholarships available to incoming freshmen. These scholarships are provided by organizations, foundations, corporations, and other entities that aim to support students in their pursuit of higher education.

Read:Can you get a scholarship for being a twin?

According to a survey conducted by the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA), approximately 45% of external scholarships are awarded to incoming freshmen. This indicates that there are ample opportunities for freshmen to secure scholarships from external sources.

For example, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation offers scholarships to high school seniors, including incoming freshmen, who demonstrate leadership, academic excellence, and community involvement. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program also provides scholarships to outstanding minority students, including incoming freshmen, who have demonstrated leadership abilities and academic achievement.

It is essential for incoming freshmen to actively search for external scholarships and apply to those that align with their qualifications and interests. Many scholarship search engines and websites, such as Fastweb and, provide comprehensive databases of external scholarships that students can explore.


While the process of securing scholarships as incoming freshmen may seem daunting, it is indeed possible. Merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships, athletic scholarships, and external scholarships all provide opportunities for freshmen to obtain financial aid for their college education.

By researching and identifying colleges and universities that offer merit-based scholarships, completing financial aid applications to be considered for need-based scholarships, engaging with college athletic programs for potential athletic scholarships, and actively searching for external scholarships, incoming freshmen can increase their chances of securing financial aid.

It is important for students to start the scholarship search process early, as many scholarships have specific deadlines and requirements. By taking proactive steps and leveraging available resources, incoming freshmen can alleviate the financial burden of higher education and focus on their academic and personal growth during their college journey.

Previous post
Can freshman apply for scholarships?
Next post
Can gap year students apply for scholarships?

Leave a Reply