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TOEFL Tip #167: Guest Post — 4 Important Tips For International Students Looking To Get Merit Aid

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on September 3, 2012

Today’s post is another installment in our series on scholarships for international students, featuring advice from International College Counselors.

Some of the ideas here reflect a central core of advice that echoes the same points in our previous post on financial aid for international students, particularly regarding the need to do your research to find colleges that offer scholarships for international students, and to assess your own talents accurately.

In addition, International College Counselors makes a key point that merit aid is not limited to your academic achievement. Their view on your ability to negotiate if you have multiple admissions letters is also a valuable insight.

Read on for more details:

Merit Aid is non-need-based aid. Colleges offer this financial help to students based on academic or athletic achievements, special talents such as music, or other characteristics, rather than financial need. In other words, merit aid is not awarded based on the student’s economic situation.

Almost every traditional four-year college, public or private, offers some form of merit aid. However, not all aid is equally distributed between domestic and international students.

If you are an international student looking for merit aid, here are tips that can improve your chances of receiving merit aid.

1. Do research and find the schools that offer merit aid to international students. While not all schools offer aid to international students, there are a number that do. Some include: University of Miami, University of Richmond, Washington and Lee University, Oberlin College and St. Lawrence University.

2. Choose colleges where you’d be at the top. If your grades and tests scores put you in the top 25 percent of the student body, there is a very good chance a school will try to woo you with merit aid.

3. Take stock of your abilities. Merit aid can also be attainable for athletic achievements and special talents. If you are skilled in sports, music, etc., merit aid and scholarships designed to attract these abilities are worth looking into.

4. Negotiate. If you have received admission letters from two or more schools of equivalent standards, don’t be afraid to ‘bargain.’ Some schools may be willing to match a merit grant offered by another school.

In 2012, the college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 200 students from around the world to find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college advisors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their parents with the often daunting and complex college application process. For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please call 954 414-9986 or visit

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1 comment so far. Leave a comment.

  1. Annette Burkhalter

    wrote on September 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    The Merit aid program is a good way to screen talented and intelligent students from around the world who wished to study at a certain University of choice. This is a kind of scholarship program that needs to be earned rather than granted automatically to a student of low economic status. Because this has been known to become sort of like a screening method, a certain level of competition has emerged between schools.

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