Top 10 Merit Based Scholarships for International Students 2024

Happiness Oyiza
Happiness Oyiza  - Education Blogger
9 Min Read
Top 10 Merit Based Scholarships for International Students 2024

Are you an international student looking to study in the US or other countries? The costs of higher education in America can be steep, especially for those coming from abroad. But don’t lose hope! There are opportunities out there in the form of merit-based scholarships specifically targeted at international students. These scholarships are awarded based on your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, community service, and other accomplishments—not on your financial need or nationality.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 merit scholarships for international students in 2024 to help you achieve your dream of earning a degree from a top US university. Read on to find programs that match your talents, skills, and future goals. With hard work and perseverance, you can win funding to cover a significant portion of your college costs in America.

What are Merit-Based Scholarships?

Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on a student’s achievements and skills, not on financial need. They recognize your hard work and talent. To qualify, you’ll need to meet certain criteria like having a high GPA, strong test scores, exceptional extracurricular activities or a particular talent.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Fully Funded Masters Scholarships in Canada for 2024

Top 10 Merit-Based Scholarships for International Students 2024

Top 10 Merit Based Scholarships for International Students 2024

The following scholarships are offered by universities and organizations based primarily on a student’s academic achievements and potential. They are very competitive but also very rewarding. To be considered, you must have an outstanding academic record and meet all eligibility criteria.

1. Rhodes Scholarships

These prestigious scholarships provide funding for up to 3 years of study at the University of Oxford in England. They are awarded to students who demonstrate outstanding intellectual achievement, integrity of character, and leadership potential.


2. Marshall Scholarships

The Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. They are awarded to intellectually distinguished young Americans with strong academic achievement and leadership potential.

3. Gates Cambridge Scholarships

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship program was established in 2000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to enable outstanding graduate students from outside the UK to study at the University of Cambridge. The scholarships are awarded to students with an outstanding academic record who show significant promise for future leadership and contribution to their disciplines.


4. Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program provides funding for up to 3 years of graduate study at Stanford University. The scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate excellence of character, mind, and leadership potential. Applicants must be nominated by their undergraduate institution.

5. Clarendon Scholarships

The Clarendon Scholarship Fund is a prestigious graduate scholarship scheme offering funding for degree programs at the University of Oxford. The scholarships are awarded based on academic merit to students with outstanding academic records who show significant promise in their field of study.

6. Fulbright Foreign Student Program

For graduate students to study in the U.S., Awards cover tuition, travel, living expenses and health insurance. You’ll need excellent grades, English skills and a clear study plan.

7. Chevening Scholarships

For postgraduate study in the UK. Covers university fees, living expenses and travel. Requires at least a bachelor’s degree, 2+ years of work experience and leadership potential.

8. Erasmus+ Scholarship

For study at higher education institutions in Europe. Available at bachelor’s, master’s and PhD levels in all areas of study. No exact GPA requirement, but awards are competitive.

9. Korean Government Scholarship Program

For undergraduate and graduate study in South Korea. Covers round-trip airfare, tuition, accommodation, monthly allowance, and medical insurance. Requires above-average grades and Korean language skills.

10. Singapore International Graduate Award

For PhD study at top universities in Singapore. Covers tuition and living expenses for up to 4 years. Requires an excellent academic record, research experience and study plan.

To be considered for these highly competitive merit-based scholarships, international students will need outstanding grades, strong letters of recommendation, a compelling personal statement, and a desire to make a difference in the world. The rewards of winning a prestigious scholarship like this are great, but the competition is even greater. If selected, you will join an elite group of world-changing leaders and innovators. The opportunities are life-changing.

READ ALSO: Best Civil Engineering PhD Scholarships for International Students in 2024


Do I need to take an English language test?

For many merit-based scholarships, proficiency in English is required. This is often demonstrated through standardized tests like the TOEFL or IELTS. Check the eligibility criteria for your target scholarships to see if an English test is needed and what minimum scores are required. If so, make sure to take the test well in advance of the scholarship deadline.

What GPA or grades do I need?

Merit-based scholarships reward academic excellence. A minimum 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) is common, but higher GPAs of 3.5 or above are more competitive. Some scholarships may require you to be in the top 10-15% of your class. Review your transcripts and grades to ensure you meet or exceed the minimum GPA requirements before you apply.

Do I need recommendation letters?

Many merit-based scholarships require one or more letters of recommendation from your teachers, professors or mentors. These letters should highlight your academic achievements, intellectual abilities, and potential for success. Ask your recommenders at least a month before the scholarship deadline to allow them enough time to write a thoughtful letter. Provide them details about the scholarship and your application to help them in their letter.

What else is considered?

In addition to grades, standardized test scores and recommendations, merit-based scholarships also consider:

  • Extracurricular activities: Participation in clubs, sports, volunteer work, internships, etc. These demonstrate your potential for leadership and community impact.
  • Essays: Most applications will require one or more essays. This is your chance to showcase your personality, goals, and passion for your studies. Spend time crafting compelling essays that make an impact.
  • Honours and awards: Any academic honours, distinctions or awards you’ve received will strengthen your application. Be prepared to provide details on these achievements.
  • Future goals: Your intended field of study and career goals may also be considered. Explain your dreams and how the scholarship can help make them possible.

By understanding the selection criteria, preparing thoroughly, and demonstrating your merit and potential, you’ll maximize your chances of winning one of these generous scholarships. Best of luck!


You’ve seen some of the top merit-based scholarships available for international students in 2024. These opportunities can open doors to an education at some of the best universities in the world. While the application process may seem daunting, don’t be deterred. If you have the grades, test scores, and ambition to pursue your dreams, these scholarships want to support you. Think of the opportunities ahead – a chance to study in a new country, experience different cultures, and challenge yourself in new ways. You have so much potential, and some people and organizations want to invest in your success. Believe in yourself and start working on those applications. A life-changing opportunity could be waiting for you. Now get to work and go after it! The future is yours to shape.

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By Happiness Oyiza Education Blogger
I am Happiness Oyiza, a UnicrossBlog author dedicated to empowering you through education, scholarships, job tips, and career success.
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