The Top 5 Scholarship Myths Debunked

By Alicia Geigel on October 14, 2017

As college students, one of our biggest goals is to be awarded scholarships to help fund our college education and lessen the financial burden of our tuition. In an age controlled by the internet, college scholarships are literally everywhere, with a multitude of websites and sources all pulling us in a different direction.

Because there is so much information about scholarships out there, it is sometimes incredibly hard to determine which scholarships are worth applying for, which ones are bad/scams and just a waste of time, or if you even should apply for scholarships. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation when it comes to scholarships, which can not only turn students away from applying, but it can also make funding their education even harder in the long run.

Are you a prospective or current college student who is unsure about your chance at obtaining a scholarship? Have you lost faith that there’s no way you could get one based on your grades, ethnicity, etc.? Fear not, you are not alone in your thoughts! Check out the top five scholarship myths I debunk below!

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1. Scholarships are only awarded to those with the best grades

It is unfortunate that while in high school and college we are convinced that only the best students get scholarships, and if you have mediocre grades, you’re out of luck. While this is perhaps the greatest and most circulated scholarship myth out there, it is completely untrue! There are a multitude of scholarships that do not even consider your grades.

These do consider GPA, however, which most of the time is a minimum of a 2.5 instead of a 4.0, leaving more room for students to apply and obtain scholarships, according to scholarships.com. Additionally, Mark Kantrowitz of FastWeb.com affirms this by stating, “Less than 10 percent of private scholarships are based on academic performance.”

So if you don’t have straight A’s and a 4.0 don’t worry, there are scholarships out there for you!

2. Scholarship essays have to be well written, by the best writers

Yep, again not true! While, of course, it does not hurt to write well on your scholarship essays, you do not have to be some sort of Hemmingway to get a scholarship. Most scholarships are concerned with the content of your essay rather than how well it is written (i.e. grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, etc.).

Scholarships.com notes that “Whether you follow the instructions and address the essay question is often more crucial to your success than how eloquently you write.”

3. Scholarships are really only for high school students

Though this seems silly, believe it or not, this is a popular myth that many students believe! Due to the fact that scholarships are heavily encouraged during high school and not so much in college, many students believe that once they are in college, they are left with either taking out loans, working, or receiving help from their parents to fund their education.

Sites like unigo.com and collegescholarships.org offer a bunch of scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. To my friends in college, there is still plenty out there for you!

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4. Most scholarships are for minority students

While there are many scholarships out there exclusively for students of a specific race or ethnicity, that does not mean that they all are nor does it mean that you do not have a chance at being rewarded a scholarship for this reason.

In fact, according to Kantrowitz, white students win more than their fair share of scholarships, with white students having a 14.4 percent chance of winning scholarships in comparison to 11.2 percent of minority students.

Why is this? Kantrowitz points to many reasons, such as geography and varied interests and values.

5. Applying for scholarships is too competitive

This myth is rooted in some truth only in that, yes, if you are applying for a scholarship that does not have extensive criteria (i.e. you fill out contact information and your school), there is the chance that you are applying with hundreds of thousands of other students. Scholarships like these are definitely competitive because of the amount of time and the content it requires to fill out the form.

However, not all scholarships are this competitive; instead, consider more value/interest/location specific scholarship applications when searching.

According to Jessica Zdunek of U.S. News, considering local scholarships may be your best bet when applying. She said one reason for this is “your zip code, city, or county could mean you’re eligible for awards most people can’t apply for. And the more specific these programs get — for example, requiring a certain GPA, extracurricular involvement, or volunteer hours — the better your chances of winning, given you meet the criteria listed.”

Are you convinced you can win a scholarship, yet? I know that while it stinks that you’ve bought into all these myths for some time, it is never too late to begin applying and reaping the rewards that you deserve. So take some time out of your day to evaluate what your interests are, if you are a minority, what your local town offers, etc. to fuel your search for scholarships! And remember, there is something for you!

Image via Pexels

By Alicia Geigel

Uloop Writer
social justice advocate, avid lover of 90s fashion, the proud mama of a yorkie named "nugget", feminist, body positive, weight trainer in progress, classic rock fanatic, and reality TV addict! if you want to learn more about me, visit my profile and check out my articles!

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