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Welcome to Merit Scholarship List!

As of Fall 2021, we are now part of College Aid Pro! Existing subscribers will be able to finish out their subscriptions on this site, but we will look to transfer everyone over to an applicable College Aid Pro product.

I am thrilled to join College Aid Pro as we look to forward our joint mission of finding an affordable path to college for all families! Check us out here.



The Beginning


My name is Wendy Nelson. Much like you (or your clients)  probably are right now, I was once a frustrated, overwhelmed parent trying to navigate the college selection process for my oldest daughter. Between test scores, campus size, campus location, essays, college visits, and tuition costs, finding the best school for my daughter to attend was a massive undertaking. We soon realized we would need to rely on merit-based college scholarships to make her education affordable. While we didn’t qualify for financial aid, we couldn’t pay the sticker tuition price for four years out-of-pocket.


There were plenty of expensive schools my daughter liked, but we didn’t want her to fall in love with a school we could not afford. As a project manager and business analyst by trade, my first instinct was to gather and organize data about schools my daughter liked into a spreadsheet. I created a college search spreadsheet for our own use and shared it with a few friends who were also going through the college selection process. To my surprise, I started getting more and more requests for the college search spreadsheet from others who heard about it. This led me to start to share my spreadsheet template and blog about our college search experience.


A Passion for Helping Families Find Merit Scholarships


As I helped my daughter find schools that fit what she was looking for academically and also offered great merit scholarships she would qualify for, I developed a passion for helping other families find merit scholarships to make college more affordable. I started compiling all the top merit scholarships I was finding into a spreadsheet and I offered it on my website. The response from families and independent college counselors was overwhelming. I wanted to help other families going through the colleges search process who, like us, were “caught in the middle” with little to no need-based aid, but not enough savings for 4 years at full college sticker price. After all, with 45 million borrowers in 1.6 trillion dollars of student loan debt, plenty of families struggle to find affordable education. There was a need for a tool that would help families like mine identify the colleges that would offer the best merit scholarships.


A Merit Scholarship Search Tool


That’s when I started, a college scholarship resource where I can help families find the best affordable colleges for their students. Through this merit scholarship search tool, you will be able to:


  • Search colleges and merit scholarships by many different factors
  • Find the top colleges for 22 different majors and narrow in on the merit scholarships they offer
  • Find colleges where your student will qualify for the best merit scholarships
  • Take the lead in identifying affordable college options before your student falls in love with a school that is not affordable
  • Assess the ranking and attributes of a school against its cost to determine the school’s value for your stdent
  • Set your student up for long-term success with a school that fites their needs for a price that doesn’t burden them with unmanageable debt


Merit-based college scholarships are, by far, the best way for families who are “caught in the middle” to afford higher education. And, very often, the best opportunities and value for your student come from schools you have never considered. After all, with more than 4,000 universities to choose from in the United States alone, finding the best merit aid is impossible without a tool to do the heavy lifting. 


I have been helping families through the college search process since 2014 with my “upside down” college search process, where we start with knowing what you can afford for college and find schools that fit the budget. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than hearing success stories from families who used my merit scholarship search tool at the end of each application season. If you have specific questions about the tool or success stories to share, please email me at I would love to talk!