Last Updated: Jan 6, 2014
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—and costing them money.
Myth #1: Just go to one website
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, 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, a scholarship database through your potential college, or even just plain ol’ Google!)
Myth #2: 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 in college. That is exactly what I did—I won most of my $100,000 in scholarships when I was already in college.
Myth #3: Really good grades are a necessity
Good grades definitely help, but many scholarship providers are looking for 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!
Remember 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 three of the top myths, you’re well on your way to earning thousands of dollars in scholarship money!