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What type of private school scholarships are out there?

What type of private school scholarships are out there?

You might be suprised!

The biggest misconception about scholarships is that they are only available to students who achieve high academic or sporting results.

This is not the case. There are socio-economic scholarships for families not in a position to afford private education, language scholarships for children proficient in certain languages, religious scholarships and community citizenship scholarships.

The truth is there are many scholarships available for families looking to make private education more accessible, and as a parent or carer, you just have to know where and when to look. With applications opening up right now for thousands of scholarships across Australia, there’s no better time to start looking.

Typically, when thinking of a scholarship, you might think of merit scholarships. In order to qualify for a merit scholarship you must demonstrate a high degree of excellence in a certain area, be it sports, academia, the arts, or music. Students who excel in their chosen subject are awarded either a full or partial scholarship by the school.

These are highly sort after scholarships and awarded for achievement rather than need. However it is important to remember that no two scholarships are the same, every program will have different criteria depending on the school and field of expertise being considered. Some scholarships will take on board a family’s financial situation as well as the student’s record of academic achievement.

Let’s take a look at the different types of scholarships


Scholarships are open to all students; however the most likely recipients are generally those who excel and demonstrate academic merit. If you think your child fits into this category by consistently achieving excellent grades, then this might be the scholarship for your child. The student may also have to meet selection criteria such as currently enrolled at the school, practising a particular faith or even be the relation of a former student. All schools are different, and you will often find out where the school’s values lie when applying for a scholarship program.


The arts offer a unique range of scholarships to students who excel in painting, photography, design, performing arts and music. Many art scholarships differ from school to school, however most require a certain grade achieved in music exams and/or an audition process. Students awarded the scholarship are expected to carry their chosen art through to Year 12 and participate in concerts, performances and extra-curricular activities. The School Places Scholarship Finder is a great starting point to find out what scholarship your child might be eligible for and what is required of them.

General Excellence

A general excellence scholarship is aimed at students who display outstanding characteristics such as selflessness, service, leadership and commitment within their school and wider community. The student might have outstanding all-round potential in a broad range of areas like academics, the arts and sport and show overall leadership potential or excellence.


Lots of parents dream about their child benefiting from a scholarship in sporting excellence. A sports scholarship is awarded to a student that shows outstanding ability to play his or her sport, and has the potential to reach elite levels. Competition for this type of scholarship is fierce, and only the most gifted will be successful. Traditionally, the most popular sports for scholarships are soccer, tennis, golf, swimming, track and field, rowing and volleyball. Scholarships and sports vary from one school to another, so it is best to do your research with your chosen school. Alternatively, on the Scholarship Finder you can filter all available scholarship options by ‘Sport’ and from there decide which ones to apply for.


If school fees have kept you from considering a private school, scholarships are an economical way of paying for your child’s education. So it comes as no surprise that parents seek out scholarships, other than the common academic or sports scholarships, to apply for. Most private schools have their own internal scholarships or financial programs in place, and considering other options would be beneficial and certainly worth a try. They include:

  • Religious scholarships
  • Charity foundation scholarships
  • Boarding/remote living scholarships
  • Principal’s scholarships


There are also some unique and unusual scholarships available with some schools bucking the trend of academic and sporting achievements and offering scholarships based on talent, creativity or unorthodox interests to the downright bizarre.

  • Highland Dancing Scholarship
  • Scholarship for the Left Handed (Juniata College, US)
  • The Zolp Scholarship, restricted to students whose last name is Zolp (Loyola University, US)

Scholarship programs vary from school to school. The benefits range from cash bursaries to equipment subsidies or payment of tuition fees for a given period.