To award merit-based scholarships to students, universities tend to identify exceptional individuals who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, leadership, community involvement, and special talents or skills. 

A fundamental criterion for many scholarships is academic performance, including high school or undergraduate GPA and standardized test scores. Students with strong academic records are often more competitive for these scholarships. 

Extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and community service involvement also play a significant role in scholarship consideration. These activities illustrate a student's engagement, well-roundedness, and commitment to making a positive impact. In some cases, scholarships are specifically tailored to students with unique talents or skills, such as those excelling in music, art, athletics, or research. Additionally, personal statements, recommendation letters, and interviews are used to assess a student's character, aspirations, and potential to contribute to the university community. 

Some merit-based scholarships target diversity and inclusion, aiming to create a more diverse and representative campus environment. 

It's crucial for prospective scholarship applicants to carefully review scholarship guidelines, meet application deadlines, and tailor their applications to highlight their qualifications and alignment with the specific scholarship's criteria.