College Myth: Only Students with a 4.0 GPA Get Scholarships

Only students with a 4.0 GPA get scholarships right? Wrong. You can have B's and still get plenty of scholarships

Flickr user duncan c

There is such a heavy emphasis placed on good grades and a high GPA–and for good reason, of course. GPAs can determine anything from college admissions to selective schools to qualify for scholarships or grants. What happens if you’ve got a few B’s thrown in there with the other A’s? Or what if you have a C? What if your grades are good, but not great, or are they just average? Many people think that only students with a 4.0 GPA get scholarships, but that’s far from the truth.

Diverse GPA Scholarship Opportunities

The thing about scholarships is: they’re as diverse as any student body. Different sponsors want to promote different things or help out different demographics. While there are many scholarships all about academic excellence that have qualifications like a minimum 3.5 GPA, there are just as many that have lower GPA requirements or don’t even take GPA into consideration at all.

Let’s walk through a few different examples. Say a theater company is interested in increasing diversity in the trade–they might provide a scholarship for Asian-American students who want to major in Theatre Arts. Or maybe a non-profit charity wants to provide an opportunity for a low-income student to get a college education–they may only require an essay about how the student overcame adversity and a 2.0 GPA or higher.


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Scholarship Search

Unigo–a scholarship search website–has an entire list of financial aid opportunities available to the average student. So do and Fastweb. Put in the effort to explore and you’ll find a bunch of scholarships out there.

Colleges and the federal government award most scholarships–not private sources. So if you’re looking for opportunities start with those two, as they are the most common providers.

Along the same vein as high GPAs, many people figure that only students with high ACT or SAT scores can earn scholarships. However, asking for a certain ACT / SAT score is way less common than asking for GPA. Even then– as we’ve already discussed–it remains a myth that students with lower ACT / SAT scores won’t earn any scholarships.

Important Elements

Yes, GPA and test scores are important factors for getting into (or rejected from) a college–but they are not the only thing that’s important. Schools are looking for well-rounded students, students that engage with their community or are involved in interested organizations or activities. They want to see leadership and teamwork, perseverance and dedication, and while these can sort of be reflected in a GPA, they mostly shine through in extracurriculars.

So even if you’re not a valedictorian, there’s no need to worry about a lack of scholarship opportunities. Again, it’s a huge myth that only students with a 4.0 GPA can get a scholarship. Pick up an application for a college scholarship today. There are many just waiting for your interest. Happy hunting!

Interested in seeing what sort of financial aid you can get from the colleges you’re interested in? Enter your information into College Raptor and take a look!