Merit is a fun way to help you improve your college and scholarship applications, get into your dream school, and pay for it. In addition, you are required to earn 75 Merit to be considered for Prompt's $2,000 Monthly Prize and $10,000 Grand Prize. You earn Merit by completing tasks such as getting a free essay review, trying out a free trial of a service we love, getting recommendations, and sharing with your friends (see the full list below).
We created Merit for several reasons. First, we want you to succeed, and earning Merit helps you rock your applications. Second, Merit tasks such as recommendations help us understand your pull across your personal network. Third, we get tens of thousands of applications and unfortunately our founders, Brad, Jordan, and John, don't have enough time to read every essay since they're busy helping everyone kick butt on their applications.
Below are all of the ways you can earn Merit. Click on one for more details and to start earning Merit today, and be on the lookout for new Merit opportunities in the future. If you have any questions, just click on the green circle below to chat with us. Let's do this!
List of Merit granting activities
Click an activity to get more information about it.
Get a free review of your essay (10 Merit)
Get one essay reviewed for free by one of Prompt's admissions experts. You'll get your chances of getting into your dream school plus feedback on the two best ways to improve your essay. You can request feedback when you upload your essay.
Give our essay Outline Creator a whirl (5 Merit)
Writing is hard. Thankfully, we've developed a fun, simple tool to help you create outlines for all of your college admissions essays. Use it for free and even chat with admissions experts for free while you're writing your outlines.
Try free college search, application help, and scholarship services we love (5 Merit each)
We've convinced many other amazingly awesome and useful services to provide you with free stuff for applying to Prompt's $20,000 Scholarship. View successful applications with AdmitSee, automatically apply for scholarships with ScholarshipOwl, and manage your entire college search and application process with Guided Path Edge. Plus, we'll be adding many other great services throughout the fall. Just go to our free trials page and select an offer. You'll get 5 Merit for each one you try out.
Get recommendations (2 Merit each)
We love applicants who are loved. Have your friends, teachers, family, neighbors, and even the random, smelly person down the street recommend you. Recommendations take as little as 10 seconds each and prove to us that you are an upstanding individual worthy of our scholarship. Keep the one recommendation per person rule in mind, since we're pretty tech-savvy and know when someone tries submitting multiple recommendations!
How to do this: By being creative. Positive. And by reframing everything you’ve been involved in since graduating high school (even the tough stuff) as preparation for your big awesome future.
Some examples of making the best of your experience at a school you’re about to leave:
There was no formal Makeup Department, so guess what. I STARTED ONE. WE’VE GOT 16 MEMBERS. BOOM.
My classes were so much bigger than I thought they’d be AND there were no formal study groups set up, so guess what. I ORGANIZED ONE. AND I EVEN BAKED BROWNIES. #glutenfree
There were no legit dance studios on campus OR in the dorms open after 7pm, so guess what. I PETITIONED TO LIVE OFF-CAMPUS AS A FRESHMAN, FOUND A TINY APARTMENT WITH A BASEMENT THAT OUR TEAM COULD REHEARSE IN, AND WE GOT TO WORK. #werrrrk
You get the idea. How did you make the best of a just-okay situation while you were waiting (or before you decided) to fill out your transfer application? If you’re thinking that the part-time job you took, the decision to quit school, or even the Netflix shows you binge-watched wasn’t ultimately preparing you for your big awesome future, you’re just not thinking creatively enough—yet. Ask yourself: could it be that I was gaining other skills and values along the way? Could it be that I was doing more than just earning money (hint: learned organizational skills, or discipline, or collaboration), more than just quitting school (hint: learned to put your health first), more than just binge-watching Netflix (hint: learned how much you value productivity by being totally unproductive for three weeks straight).
Here’s a list to get you thinking.
And if you’re like, “Um, well, I didn’t do anything,” chances are that either a) you didn’t really think carefully or creatively enough yet, or that b) YOU DON’T DESERVE TO TRANSFER.
I’m kidding about that last one. Kinda’. Keep thinking. This part’s important.
Paragraph 5: What do you want to do/be/study? (aka: What’s your dream?)
What you’re trying to do here: Paint the Big Picture—the vision for your life, or a dream job. Don’t have one? Uh-oh. Quit now. (I’m kidding.)
How to do this: By dreaming. Ask yourself, What would a dream job be--even if it isn’t your only dream job, and even if you aren’t 100% certain that this is what you’d like to do--and use it as a placeholder, like these students did...
I’m particularly concerned about beauty waste because I am morally disturbed by the fact that my personal grooming is damaging the environment for everyone. The problem is that cosmetics are often objects of desire--we want to be pampered and we crave a luxurious experience--and packaging reflects these consumer instincts. My dream is to rally college communities nation-wide in a drive to reduce packaging waste. As a community of passionate learners and intellectuals we can spread the message to student groups in colleges that protecting the environment trumps our desire for the most wrapped-up, elaborate, expensive packaging.
My dream is to become a special effects makeup artist with a specialty in fantasy-based creature makeup. Through an extensive process that includes concept design, face, cowl, and body sculpting in clay, molding the pieces using liquid latex or silicon, applying the products to the human model, hand-painting and airbrushing, and fabricate addition components if necessary, I will create original characters that will be featured in movies and television shows.
I know, that’s pretty specific. But again, these were written by students who weren’t 100% certain that they wanted to do this--they picked something they loved and built an argument (read: essay) around it.
If it’s hard for you to think in terms of careers or dream jobs, try asking one of these questions instead:
“What’s one Big Problem I’d like to try and solve in the world?”
“Why do I want to go to this other school anyway?” Have you ever stopped to really articulate that? Have a friend ask you this and see what you say. And it can’t be simply because it’s more prestigious, or because you like living by the beach, or because you just really (like really) want to live in a big city. You need more specifics and more specific specifics. (That’s not a typo.)
A Really Good Tip for This Paragraph: Think of this as a set-up for a “Why us” essay, in particular the part where you’re talking about YOU… your hopes, dreams, goals, etc. Because if you can pick something specific--and even if it’s a placeholder (like the examples above)--this can lead directly into the next paragraph. How? Because, once you pick a Thing you’d like to do/study/be, then you can ask yourself, “Okay, what skills/resources/classes will I need in order to do/study/become that Thing?”
For more “Why us” resources:Click here for a three-part post on How to Write a “Why Us” Essay. Or click here for a Complete Guide to the “Why Us” Essay.
To recap: In Paragraph 5, you’re setting up the specifics that you’re seeking. Then...