7 Common Scholarship Myths

Scholarship Anatomy

Every myth dispelled could mean a scholarship won

Quality education is not cheap. Luckily, there are hundreds of thousands of scholarships available to students across the world. Despite this great abundance, many students hesitate to apply for scholarships because of several commonly-believed myths.

We've put together this article to help dispel some of the most harmful of these myths. Knowing the truth will help applicants see they have a far better chance at winning a scholarship than they'd previously thought.

MYTH #1: "I won't get a scholarship because I don't have perfect grades."

TRUTH: Academic standing is not always the top, or even an exclusive, consideration for awarding a scholarship.

While many scholarships do take grade point averages into account, most only use them to determine if an applicant's grades are above a minimum cut-off point. Sometimes these cut-off points are as low as 2.5.

Some scholarships may not even consider grade point averages, focusing more on a student’s interests and skill sets. Some examples of alternate considerations for scholarships include: politics, community service, school leadership, artistic ability and many others. These are only a few of the many skills that could influence scholarship awards beyond GPA.

There are scholarship providers out there that weigh more heavily on GPA. For these situations, applicants should keep in mind that GPA is usually only one part of an overall application. A student's essay, accomplishments, talents and interests will also frequently play an important role in the decision to award the scholarship.

MYTH #2: "I won't get a scholarship because my family is too well-off."

TRUTH: Financial capacity, or the lack thereof, does not always play a major role in scholarship consideration.

Applicants with documented financial need are not always the sole recipients of scholarship awards. In fact, there are countless programs that do not require any financial information from applicants. Scholarship providers realize that most students, regardless of their parents' annual income, are still in need of scholarships.

MYTH #3: "I won't get a scholarship because I’m not a minority"

TRUTH: There are scholarships available to every student. It's just a matter of finding the right one.

There are plenty of scholarships that do not take into account one's ethnic background. Whether an applicant is a minority or not, he or she may still apply for non culture-specific scholarships. Whatever a student's heritage may be, there is a scholarship available for him or her. The key is finding the scholarship that best matches the applicant's abilities, citizenship and ethnicity.

MYTH #4: "I won’t get a scholarship because I’m not a high school senior."

TRUTH: Scholarships are offered to high school, undergraduate, post-graduate and even doctoral students.

Seniors in high school aren't the only students who can qualify for a scholarship. A range of scholarships exists at every level of secondary and college education.

Another important concept to remember is that age is not a restricting factor for education level specific scholarships. While many college seniors are in their 20's, a college senior in their 50’s would be just as eligible to receive a scholarship award based on the same educational level.

MYTH #5: "Scholarship money can only be used on tuition."

TRUTH: Depending on the scholarship policy, awarded money can sometimes be used on indirect costs.

Generally speaking, scholarship providers expect the awarded amount to cover tuition and miscellaneous fees, but it can sometimes also be used for other expenses, depending on the scholarship policy. For instance, spending scholarship money on a computer that will be used during school is generally not a violation of policy. Students can apply for and win multiple scholarships each year, giving them enough money to cover tuition, living costs, a computer and even transportation. Know each scholarship’s policy, however, before spending any of your award.

MYTH #6: "Winning a scholarship will restrict my academic choices"

TRUTH: Most scholarship programs do not restrict academic decisions.

Students should be aware of each scholarship's policy on changing majors. Sometimes changing a major will have an effect on an awarded scholarship, but others may be fine with a major change.

If a scholarship is awarded and the student decides not to attend school for a semester or two, many scholarships can even be deferred.

MYTH #7: "I won’t get a scholarship because I missed a deadline"

TRUTH: Scholarships have varied submission deadlines; and many reopen annually.

Not all scholarships have the same deadline. Pay attention to each individual scholarship’s deadline. Deadlines give both the scholarship committee and the applicant enough time to make necessary preparations, deliberations and adjustments before school begins. Scholarship committees frequently go through a time-consuming process in picking winners: conducting interviews, reviewing essays, assessing backgrounds and many other steps. Most colleges begin in early August, so April makes for an ideal deadline. Just remember that this isn’t always the deadline.

If a student fails to submit an application on time, he or she can apply when the scholarship reopens, usually in another semester or year.

Don't let any of these common myths stop you from applying for a scholarship. Scholarships vary immensely and there are enough out there that any student can find one that fits their qualifications. Remember to check out Scholar Box for more helpful tips.

Contact us with any comments or questions about this article.

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