11 Basic Scholarship Requirements You Must Have

In John Wick, Winston (Ian McShane) made a bold statement that I believe is true for all lives, he said “Rules… without them, we live with the animals,” and this applies to scholarships too. There are just basic scholarship requirements you can’t do without whether you are seeking financial aid for lefties, or for poor students, you just have to obey some rules.

Moreover, you should know that the basic requirements we listed here do not mean specific scholarship providers can’t demand more.

basic scholarship requirements
basic scholarship requirements

Basic Scholarship Requirements

1. Academic Achievement

I believe this is one of the most important scholarship requirements because most scholarships are channeled to students that have good grades. Grade requirements from most schools and organizations is a minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

There are also scholarships that don’t consider your grade, which brings us to the next basic scholarship requirement.

2. Financial Need

Some scholarships are interested in your financial situation, or your family’s financial statement, these kinds of scholarships are mostly referred to as need-based scholarships. And, those considered for this kind of scholarship are students from low-income earning homes.

But, that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing they consider, some might still insist on an academic result, except for Need-based federal scholarships that mostly focus only on students’ financial needs.

3. Citizenship or residency

Lots of schools or organizations consider their citizens and permanent residents first, before international students for scholarships unless when the scholarship is specifically for international students.

4. Language Proficiency Result

If you’re applying as an international student to study abroad, most of these schools will require you to provide language proficiency results. If you’re applying for an English-speaking school you’re likely going to provide one of these results; 

  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE), mostly for universities in the United Kingdom.
  • Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE), also used in universities in the UK
  • Duolingo English Test
  • The CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program)


5. Field of study

Some organizations and colleges award scholarships based on a certain field of study. For instance, if you’re applying for scholarships from one of the big tech companies like the Google Lime Scholarship or Microsoft Disability Scholarship you should expect one of their basic scholarship requirements to be students furthering their education in tech.

6. Essay or Personal Statement

Most scholarships demand essays or personal statements. One of the reasons for this is to know personally know who you’re and why you’re applying for the scholarship through writing.

So, the scholarship committee might not see you face to face, which other better way can they understand your intent and commitment to your goal if not through a personal statement? You might say transcript, but it doesn’t say enough of what an essay can.

Believe me, a well-written essay can increase your chances of winning any scholarship. That brings us to our next basic scholarship requirement.

7. Copies of Transcripts

Almost all scholarships require you to submit transcripts of previous schools or colleges you graduated. If you’re applying for bachelor’s scholarships you will need to submit high school transcripts, and if you’re applying for master’s scholarships you might need to submit bachelor’s degree transcripts from one or all colleges you attended.

This transcript contains grades and credits for all the courses you did.

8. Letters of Recommendation

Most scholarships demand just one letter of recommendation, but in some cases, they demand 2 letters of recommendation. A letter of recommendation is a simple 1 or 1.5-page letter where a third party describes who he/she is, how they know you, and why they think you’re worthy of a particular scholarship.

Your supervisor, professor, boss, or even co-workers can assist you here, it doesn’t necessarily need to be an authority like your Dean of Study.

9. Test scores

Because most students that apply for scholarships have high GPAs, in fact, there has been a high increase in average GPAs among high school students recently. So most schools add test scores as one of their basic scholarship requirements.

So, you’ll be seeing ACT, SAT, GRE, GPA, and other test scores depending on the university and country.

10. Interview

Once you meet all criteria, some scholarships still require you to have a face-to-face interview before awarding you the funds.

11. Early Application

Early application is one of the most important scholarship requirements because it gives you an edge over other applicants. Here’s how it works, there is already massive competition in colleges, so if you’re among those students that applied early, you’ll be able to get your Decision letter by December or perhaps early spring. 

So this will also help you to know schools that admitted you, which gives you the advantage of applying for scholarships early too. This is in contrast to students that applied a few weeks prior to the deadline, they are likely to get their decision letter in March or April, which just gives them a few weeks or a month to the decision deadline.

Moreover, some scholarships are provided on a “first come first served,” so immediately you hear of a scholarship don’t hesitate to apply, even if you have the best grade.


Just like the name, these are just basic scholarship requirements, there are other scholarships that have some additional requirements based on the providers, school, country, and field of study. Some scholarships might even require a medical report, your parent(s) tax report, work experience, etc.

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