Footing the bill for college can be costly, but your college education does not have to be paid for completely out-of-pocket. Although many students take advantage of financial aid and student loan opportunities, scholarships are often an untapped resource for those looking to forward their education. The underutilization of scholarships is caused, in part, by common myths that prevent students from taking advantage of this potential funding.
In a recent article featured on MYNorthwest.com, Doug Breithaupt, the director of the College Planning Network, says “In this country, 90 percent of students getting ready for college are eligible for help, but only 60 percent bother to apply. There’s this huge gap of students and families who self-eliminate, thinking they won’t qualify.” The following are some of the more common scholarship misconceptions:
Myth: My grades aren’t good enough.
A number of students believe that only those who are at the top of their class are eligible for scholarships, but this is not necessarily the case. Having achieved good grades is only one of the many criteria that different types of scholarships might be based on. Some scholarships consider the subjects students would like to study or the career they would like to pursue. Others take into account involvement in extracurricular activities, volunteer projects, an applicants’ heritage, and even unconventional traits, such as whether a student is a lefty or born with red hair. Essentially, if you look hard enough, there is something for everyone.
Myth: Scholarships are only available for high school students.
While it is recommend that those seeking tuition assistance start early, when it comes to applying for scholarships, many do not have an age limit, and there are even scholarship programs out there that specifically cater to adults who are going back to school. If you’re motivated enough to take on school along with your other responsibilities, don’t let your age be a deterrent when searching for scholarships.
Myth: It won’t be enough money.
There are certainly scholarships for small amounts of money available, which admittedly may not be enough to cover your full tuition, but scholarship money does add up. The best approach to take is to apply to as many scholarships as you can to increase your chances. Why say no to what is essentially free money, no matter the amount?
Myth: Good scholarships are too hard to find.
The Internet is your best friend when it comes to your scholarship search. There are ton of websites out there that provide a list of available scholarships that match your criteria, you merely need to know where to look. Below we have listed a few as a starting point:
Applying to scholarships may be a bit of work, but considering that many students are able to fund some or all of their education through scholarship awards, it might be worth the effort. For more information on paying for college, check out our article on financial aid for students.