When it comes to college, one of the most important factors for many students is cost. Many students have to rely on scholarships and financial aid to help them pay for college. However, unfortunately, there are many scholarships myths out there that stop students from applying. Luckily, many of the scholarship myths are untrue. These scholarship myths should not stop you from applying for scholarships. Below are 16 common scholarship myths debunked.
1. Students should start searching for scholarships senior year.
It is true that most scholarships are only open to high school seniors and current college students. However, there are scholarships for younger students. In addition, if you start applying earlier, you can start building your scholarship portfolio. By having a collection of scholarship essays already in your collection, you may be able to save time as you apply for scholarships later on.
2. I’m too young to apply for scholarships.
No one is too young to apply for scholarships. There are even scholarships that target elementary and middle school students. There are not as many scholarships available to younger students, but there are scholarships out there for all age groups.
3. There aren’t scholarships for older students.
Some scholarships have specific age requirements, but many scholarships are open to all students, no matter your age. In addition, there are scholarships out that are specifically for older students.
4. My grades aren’t good enough to win a scholarship.
Some scholarships may require a specific grade point average to be eligible. However, colleges also award scholarships based on financial need and talents. Many outside scholarships do not require a specific grade point average at all.
5. Only athletes win scholarships.
Colleges can award scholarships for anything, including athletic talents. Colleges also award scholarships based on academic merit, other talents, and financial need. In addition, there are many more outside scholarships available that do not require athletic participation.
6. Only great writers win scholarships.
What makes a great writer? Many times students think of great writers as individuals who do well writing their academic essays. However, the majority of scholarships are looking for personal essays that are not academic at all. Instead, scholarship providers are typically looking for your personality and/or your thoughts on a specific subject.
7. Small scholarships aren’t worth the time.
Any extra money you can win for school is worth it. Plus, think of it like this: If it takes you one hour to win a $500 scholarship, that’s a pretty good use of your time. You probably can’t find a part-time job that pays close to that much money per hour.
8. Only minority students win scholarships.
There are some scholarships open specifically to minority students. But, there are many more open to all students, no matter your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
9. I need a talent to win a scholarship.
Many scholarships do not require a talent. Some scholarships are as easy as filling out a short form and others may ask for an essay.
10. Scholarships go unawarded every year.
The majority of scholarships are awarded every year. Some scholarships may not be awarded because they have narrow eligibility requirements or the scholarship provider did not advertise the scholarship enough to get applicants. However, most scholarships get applicants every year and the scholarship provider wants to award the scholarship money.
11. Only low-income students qualify for scholarships.
Some scholarships are looking for students with financial need, but many scholarships do not even ask about income. Colleges also award scholarships based on academic merit and talent.
12. If I win a scholarship, I’ll lose my other financial aid.
It depends. If the college already met your full financial need, federal regulations say the college cannot over award financial aid. Many colleges may reduce the amount of loans you were offered. However, colleges award financial aid differently and some colleges may reduce gift aid when you are awarded an outside scholarship. Therefore, learn about the colleges you are considering (or attending) to learn about their procedures for outside scholarships to determine how it may affect your financial aid award.
13. Too many people apply for scholarships.
It depends. Some scholarships get thousands of applicants, while others get only a handful of applicants. Scholarships with less work typically have a lot more applicants than a scholarship that requires a little work, such as an essay. In addition, scholarships with smaller scholarship amounts typically get less students applying than the larger scholarships.
14. It takes too long to apply for scholarships.
The time spent applying for scholarships can vary based on the scholarship. Some scholarships require items that may require a lot of time, while others may only take five minutes. As you continue applying for scholarships, you may be able to start recycling and reusing your scholarship essays, saving you a lot of time.
15. Great students don’t need to apply for scholarships.
A very common misconception is that the top academic students will receive a lot of financial aid. It depends. Some colleges are able to meet full financial need, while many more cannot. Most students will have to pay some of their college costs out-of-pocket.
16. I should only apply for the big scholarships.
Scholarships with large scholarship amounts can be attractive. However, larger scholarships typically have a lot of competition. Smaller scholarships may have less competition and a few smaller scholarships can start to add up.
Scholarships can really help you pay for college. Don’t let these common scholarship myths stop you from applying.