There are a lot of myths floating around out there regarding college scholarships. “They’re only for high school seniors.” “It’s hard to get scholarships.” “Just go to one website.” For every scholarship myth you believe, you’re costing yourself money—maybe even tens of thousands of dollars! So today, I’m going to blow apart three of the most common scholarship myths I see students believing—complete nonsense that is costing them a lot of free money for college.
Myth #1: Scholarships are just for high schoolers
Wrong! Did you know there are scholarships out there for students in elementary school? And just as many scholarships for college undergrads as there are for high school seniors? This means you could theoretically start winning scholarships years before high school and continue all the way until your senior year of college. Imagine how much money you could earn! This is great news for those of you already in college, because it means even if you didn’t quite get all the scholarships you wanted in high school, you can make up for it now. That's exactly what I did—I won most of my $100,000 in scholarships when I was already in college.
Related: 3 FAQs About Timing in Your Scholarship Search Process
Myth #2: Just use one website to find scholarships
This is one of the most prevalent misunderstandings I come across and why most students are completely burned out on applying for scholarships. One of the keys to winning scholarships is finding scholarships nobody knows about, which means there will be fewer applicants for them. However, everybody and their brother’s sister’s cousin’s mailman knows about the big ones like Fastweb. This means there may be hundreds if not thousands of applicants for every single scholarship. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a whole lot of competition! In all my years of applying for scholarships, I didn’t win a single scholarship I found on Fastweb. That isn’t to say you can’t win them there, and it really is a great scholarship search tool, but you’ll need to find other resources as well. (You can use the CollegeXpress Scholarship Search tool, a scholarship database through your potential college, or even just plain ol’ Google!)
Myth #3: Really good grades are a necessity to win scholarships
Good grades definitely help, but many scholarship providers are looking for things besides grades: community activity, writing ability, life goals and dreams, obstacles overcome, sports, and so much more. Many scholarships are “topic related,” meaning they have nothing to do with academics at all—they might be asking about politics, archery, world peace, or even irrigation techniques for soybean farming! Some scholarships are even specifically for students with low grade point averages, and anyone who has too high of a GPA can’t apply. Show your passion and dedication, and don’t let a number stop you from applying and winning that money!
Related: 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Scholarship Search Strategy
Remember that one of the keys to funding college through scholarships is to not believe all the scholarship myths out there. Then you just need to do your research and work hard. Now that you know you shouldn't listen to these myths, you’re well on your way to earning thousands of dollars in scholarship money!
There really are scholarships for everything. Don't believe us? Check out Some of the Weirdest College Scholarship Opportunities!