Myth: Only Top Athletes and 4.0 Students Get Scholarships

It's a myth that only top athletes and 4.0 students get scholarships

Flickr user Steve Allen

There is a pervading myth that you have to be the best of the best in order to win a scholarship. At a glance, scholarships can seem like they are only easily available to the elite. This means people with extremely high levels of skill in their field of choice–whether it be athletics or academics. Such a lofty requirement scare away some students from even trying to apply for scholarships. The fact is, while good grades and sports skills can earn someone scholarship money, they’re hardly the only traits awarded. It’s a complete myth that only top athletes and 4.0 students get scholarships. There are so many scholarships out there for anyone and everyone to apply to.

Scholarship Opportunities Galore

Scholarships are as diverse as the people who earn them. It is almost shocking to see the wide categories of choices students get to choose from.There are scholarships for planning to major in a certain field, scholarships for participating in a specific club, scholarships for entering creative contests, scholarships for being a racial minority, and more. There are even scholarships for being left-handed or speaking fluent Klingon! Furthermore, there are scholarships with eligibility within categories; for example, there are several scholarships tailored for minorities who want to pursue certain subjects, like music or art. This combines multiple levels of a person’s personality and interests.

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Merit-Based and Need-Based Scholarships

Those types of scholarships fall under the category of “merit-based“, meaning the award is given out based on who you are and what you do (and how well you do it). Sure, academics and sports can be one of many factors. But, there’s also volunteer hours, niche hobbies, essay contests, and so much more that qualify students for scholarships. Basically, this level of scholarship assumes a certain level of skill.

Most scholarships are actually “need-based” and are given out by either the federal government or the colleges themselves. Colleges will give prospective students a financial aid package, also known as an award letter, that outlines what kind of aid they can give to the student. (They want you to attend, after all, and you can’t do that if it’s too expensive). In summary, these scholarship aim to help students who need funds to attend the school of their choice.

The government also gives out a number of scholarships and grants. Some grants fund students to study or research abroad. Also, particular grants encourage students to pursue an independent project related to a certain subject. By filing the FAFSA, students can discover what federal aid they’re eligible for. Additionally, students earn some money from The Man in order to help fund their higher education.

So rest assured, even if you don’t fall in the top athletes or 4.0 students category. There are plenty of scholarship opportunities for you out there—just take the time to look! (And apply).

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