How to Get into UT Dallas with a Full Ride

Ivy League or UT Dallas?

Believe it or not, a lot of students ask themselves if they should pursue a prestigious education at an Ivy League university or be more practical and attend a state school. Usually the decision comes down to money. But how much money are we actually talking about?

A full ride’s worth--and more.

UT Dallas, a university that has made it a priority to raise its profile over recent years, boasts strong programs in computer science and business, and as a way to get quality students to attend, it has been alluring prospective freshmen with scholarship money.

In fact, there are actually multiple scholarships that give you a full ride to UT Dallas:

  • Academic Excellence Scholarship Program

  • Eugene McDermott Scholars Program

  • National Merit Scholars Program

  • Terry Foundation Scholarship

What is required to get one of these scholarships?

Full rides to UT Dallas don’t come without plenty of strings attached. And those strings are high SAT/ACT/PSAT scores, good grades, proven leadership, and a slew of other qualities that make for strong college applicants.

But that’s just it. If you are already doing everything possible to have a strong college application, then it's a no-brainer that you apply for these scholarships. Sure, you will have to write more essays and go through more application hoops, but the rewards are well worth it.

Full. Ride. Remember?

What do you need to do for the Academic Excellence Scholarship (AES) Program?

The AES Program is a rather simple application. As long as you apply to UT Dallas, you are considered for the scholarship that gives you a full ride for four years of attendance.

AES has three different levels of awards. "Distinction" and "Honors" (the full-ride levels) are the best options:

UT Dallas uses these factors to determine which award level you receive (if any):

What do you need to do for the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program?

The McDermott Scholars requires a separate application; UT Dallas and McDermott Scholars do not share documents. This program is for a prestigious group of students and not only offers a full ride to UT Dallas but also offers additional stipends and developmental programs, such as funding for study abroad and tickets for attending cultural events in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The McDermott Scholars has more specific minimum requirements for consideration:

There is definitely more work involved with this application--you basically are submitting two whole college applications--but the financial, cultural, and personal rewards make it hard to pass up the chance at becoming part of this cohort of students.

What do you need to do for the National Merit Scholars Program?

The National Merit Scholarship is more common among colleges across the United States. You qualify for this scholarship first by scoring well on the PSAT during your junior year, which will allow you to become a National Merit Semifinalist. From there, you have to do well on the SAT and get good grades, among a few other things.

UT Dallas offers generous benefits for National Merit Scholars:

What do you need to do for the Terry Foundation Scholarship?

The Terry Foundation is a program that not only funds students with a full ride but also provides them additional money for different cultural programs. The application process includes a 30-minute panel interview as well as essay responses (as well as other requirements). Note: This scholarship is limited to students whose families have a net worth of $100,000 or less.

Other than covering the cost of tuition, the Terry Foundation offers these benefits:

What's the takeaway for all of these UT Dallas full-ride scholarships?

As always, it is so important to take your high school career seriously. The return on investment could be an amount close to $100,000. While it may not seem like a big deal, or the path may seem like it is too challenging, you will be happy to invest that money in your personal growth instead of, say, giving it to banks to pay off student loans.

Depending on which grade you are in, you have different ways to still improve your competitiveness for these scholarships.

If you are a freshman or sophomore, you need to ...

  • get good grades in advanced courses (AP/IB) and contribute in class

  • commit meaningful time to extracurriculars and improve your school

  • start practicing for PSAT/SAT/ACT

If you are a junior, you need to...

  • do well on standardized tests (SAT/ACT/PSAT/AP/IB)

  • continue getting good grades in advanced classes

  • take on more leadership roles in your extracurriculars

  • develop relationships with teachers, counselors, and school staff

If you are a senior, you need to...

  • write strong admission and scholarship essays

  • gather appropriate application materials, especially good recommendations

  • finalize your resume and make it tell a compelling story

Final thoughts

Getting into UT Dallas with a full ride doesn’t have to be a distant dream. With persistence and patience, you can set yourself up for a great four years of college while also saving tons of money. The Ivy League is awesome for name recognition and of course for its programs and contacts, but a little bit of pragmatism can yield a similar educational experience at an incredible discount.

Feeling overwhelmed? B2A can help you be best prepared for applying to these scholarships. If you still need to get a high SAT/ACT/PSAT score, consider our test-prep classes and tutoring. If you are just starting your applications, see how we can help you draft college admissions and scholarship essays. We’re FULL of ways to ensure you attain that full ride to UT Dallas.

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