Don’t believe everything you hear about college scholarships. While you may have heard a rumor or two that made you think scholarships aren’t worth applying for, many rumors about scholarships are fallacies. This blog will help debunk some of the most common college scholarship myths.
Myth #1: You have to be a high school senior to apply.
You’re never too old (or young!) to earn college scholarships. Did you know that children can start earning scholarships when they’re in kindergarten? While it’s true that most scholarships are targeted towards high school seniors, most don’t have age restrictions. There are also hundreds of scholarship programs designed specifically for non-traditional students, including scholarships designed specifically for parents, full-time employees, and students returning to school to finish their degree. Do you plan on getting a Master’s degree? There’s scholarships for graduate students too.
Myth #2: Applying for scholarships is too much work.
You’re juggling dozens of responsibilities every day; the last thing you want to do is spend your precious free time searching and applying for scholarships. But the time you spend applying could be worth its weight in gold. We are hoping to help you with a scholarship guide. It may be worthwhile even if it helps you pay for books each semester. Those costs add up as well!
Myth #3: The bigger, the better.
While this may be true about a lot of things (hugs, a raise, dessert, etc.) it’s not the case for scholarships. The larger the dollar amount of the prize, the more competitive the scholarship is likely to be. Competition doesn’t just stop at full-tuition college scholarships. Have you come across a few applications that need you to submit a short form and that’s it? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by applying for just those easy-to-apply scholarships. You’re better off going after smaller prize packages aimed towards a niche audience, like a scholarship for a particular hobby or being a single parent. At the end of the day, does it matter if you win an $1,000 scholarship or ten $100 awards?
Myth #4: You won’t get financial aid.
Earning scholarships won’t lessen your chance of getting financial aid, but depending on your school, your package from the school may decrease to make up for the scholarships you won. This is because you can’t have more financial aid than your college tuition. The way each school handles this issue is different, so be sure to contact your financial aid office with any questions. Sometimes they’ll decrease your school-awarded scholarship or the amount of loans you need to borrow from them. Either way you’ll still be paying a lot less for your education than you would be if you didn’t bother to apply for scholarships.
Myth #5: Scholarships are one and done.
When you first go back to school, scholarships and financial aid are at the top of your mind, but this dwindles as time goes by. Most students don’t apply for scholarships after their first year at school. Applying for scholarships is something you should do continuously throughout the year during your whole education process. Every scholarship has a different due date, so be sure to check every few months for something new. And if you want to increase your chances of being awarded a prize, don’t send the same application out over and over again. Companies can tell when your application is templated and it will hurt your chance of winning. You don’t have to be a phenomenal writer to score a cash prize, but you do need to inject a little passion in each.