Requirements for Scholarships in USA for International Students

 Scholarships in USA The USA is one of the most desirable destinations to study abroad. However, it is also the most expensive. As a result, getting scholarships to study in the USA can be extremely beneficial.  A scholarship offered by US universities covers tuition fees, living expenses, visa fees, health insurance, book expenses, travel expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses. The scholarships offered can be need-based/merit-based. Keep reading to know more about the general eligibility requirements for scholarships in the USA for International students.

General Requirements for Scholarships in USA for International Students

Every scholarship is distinct and has its own eligibility criteria. However, there are certain requirements that are common in all types of scholarship. Here is the list of these general requirements for scholarships in the USA for international students. Students who meet these eligibility criteria can apply for scholarships in the USA.

Marks Acquired in High School/University

One of the main criteria for granting a scholarship is the marks the student has acquired in high school or university. Meritorious students are always preferred for scholarships. Hence, the grade a student has acquired during their 10th, 12th, 11th, and 12th class plays a significant role in getting admission for Bachelor’s courses.

For postgraduate courses, the undergraduate marks will be considered.  Do note that the most recent achievement will matter more than the others. Universities place a significant emphasis on the GPA. For example, even if a student has performed poorly in GRE/GMAT but has a high GPA score he/she will still have the chance to get the scholarship.

GRE/GMAT and English Proficiency Scores 

The difference between the GRE and GMAT is that GRE scores are used for entrance into business schools. The GMAT exams are held for entry into various graduate programs. Students who perform well on GRE/GMAT exams have a higher chance of getting a scholarship. It is one of the requirements for scholarships in the USA for international students.

The IELTS/.PTE/TOEFL are English proficiency tests. Scoring well on these exams is also beneficial. Students who don’t score well on these exams but have a great GPA also have a shot at scholarships. For this, the score of the student has to be decent.

Demonstrated Leadership Skills or Volunteering Experience

Another requirement for scholarship in the USA for international students is demonstrated leadership skills. To develop leadership skills students can learn how to manage projects, budgets, and people. A leadership skill can be serving the executive board of a social or academic organization. It can also be serving the president of a company/country.

To gain volunteering experience students can aim to help others. For example, they can join an NGO, and raise awareness of social issues in school such as drug abuse, online privacy, and adolescent health, among others. The volunteering experience demonstrates the student’s dedication to a cause. Presenting leadership skills or volunteering experience can make a student stand out from other applicants for scholarships.

Awards and Recognitions 

Publications, awards, and achievements of a candidate are seen before granting the scholarship. Oftentimes, it is one of the requirements for scholarships in the USA for international students. From academic achievements to sports achievements all matter. However, documentation has to be provided as proof of these achievements. Students who have received numerous awards are preferred for scholarships.

Demonstrated Financial Need 

Several scholarships offered by universities in the USA are for students who have the financial need for the same. A demonstrated financial need would mean that a person’s income is not enough to pay the fees of the university. A need-based scholarship can be in the form of loans, grants, work-study, etc. Students who have faced unforeseen circumstances are also eligible for need-based scholarships.

Scholarship Essay

A scholarship essay or a statement of purpose is usually one of the requirements for scholarships in USA for international students.  A scholarship essay helps the organization understand the student’s home and life circumstances. It helps them analyze the needs of the student for the scholarship. Moreover, the organization can estimate how the scholarship will benefit the student. In this case, writing a great statement of purpose or scholarship essay is the key. Do not copy-paste. Instead, the student should focus on explaining the reason why he/she deserves the scholarship and how the scholarship can benefit him/her.

Letter of Recommendation

letter of recommendation is a recommendation letter written by a processor, boss, coach, etc. A letter of recommendation is written to recommend the student to a particular university/scholarship. The LOR should highlight the strengths of the scholarship applicant. For example, academic skills, leadership skills, and sports contributions, among others. A university can demand one or more letters of recommendation from a scholarship applicant. Hence, it is one of the requirements for scholarships in the USA for international students.

Students From a Developing Country

Specific scholarships are granted to students from developing countries. These scholarships are targeted to students from a particular region. Supposedly, if a scholarship is for Indian students no other international student is eligible to apply for such scholarship. For region-specific scholarships, it is mandatory that a student is from that particular region.

Tips to get a Scholarship to Study in USA

Here we have stated some of the tips to consider while applying for a scholarship to study in the USA:

  • Excel Academically: Maintain a high GPA and academic performance to meet the stringent criteria of many scholarship programs.
  • Enhance English Proficiency: Improve your English language skills through courses, practice, and standardized tests like TOEFL or IELTS to meet language requirements.
  • Thoroughly Research Scholarships: Explore various scholarship options, including government programs like Fulbright or private initiatives. Understand eligibility criteria and requirements for each.
  • Highlight Goals and Interests: Emphasize your academic and extracurricular achievements, aligning them with your goals. Demonstrate a clear plan for your studies in the USA.
  • Network Effectively: Attend events, conferences, and seminars to connect with professors and scholars in your field. Build relationships that may lead to scholarship insights or recommendation letters.
  • Craft Strong Application Documents: Develop compelling application materials, including transcripts, recommendation letters, a well-crafted statement of purpose, and essays that align with scholarship goals.
  • Apply Early and Meet Deadlines: Submit your applications well in advance to avoid missing deadlines. Many scholarships have early application periods, so staying organized is crucial.


What are the requirements for USA scholarships?

Scholarship requirements in the USA typically include high academic achievement, strong standardized test scores (SAT/ACT), proficiency in English (TOEFL/IELTS), recommendation letters, and a compelling personal statement aligning with the scholarship’s objectives.

How to get a 100% scholarship in the USA?

Achieving a 100% scholarship involves excelling academically, scoring exceptionally well on standardized tests, demonstrating leadership, community involvement, and applying for merit-based scholarships that cover full tuition and living expenses.

How much GPA needed for scholarship in USA for international students?

The minimum GPA requirement is between 2.0-3.75 for scholarships for international students. Do note that the requirement can even be higher.

Does US give full scholarships to international students?

Yes, fully funded scholarships are available for international students in USA. For example, Fully-Funded Rotary Peace Fellowships 2024 and Fulbright Foreign Student Program in USA.

Does IELTS score matter for scholarship?

Yes. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required for admission to US universities. It is also a requirement for scholarships in USA.

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