These Scholarship Misconceptions Could Cost You Money

Flickr user Sophia Louise

Getting a scholarship is like getting free money towards your education, and with college tuition getting more and more expensive every year a scholarship can come as a huge relief to students looking to pursue higher education. To some students it can mean the difference between going to the college of their dreams and settling for any college that is affordable. To other students who have what it takes but are in an impossibly tight financial situation, it makes a college education a possibility.

If you have started planning for college, exploring scholarship opportunities should be one of your top priorities. The earlier you start looking at scholarships, the higher the chances that you will find several that you are eligible for.

Unfortunately, many students miss out on scholarship opportunities simply because they believe in a few misconceptions. These are some of the most common scholarship conceptions that could cost you money.

Scholarships Are Only Granted To Straight-A Students And Sports Superstars

This is the number one myth that prevents many students from applying for scholarships, especially if they do not fit into either of these two categories. While being academically or athletically gifted may increase your chances of getting a higher scholarship, there are plenty of other scholarships that are awarded for reasons other than academics or sports.

A look through some of the scholarships offered by various colleges revealed some interesting opportunities. Some colleges take into consideration students’ participation in volunteer work. Others provide scholarships to children of families in the fence industry. And still others consider hobbies and skills that range from investigative journalism, photojournalism and artistic talent to bowling skills, zombie survival skills, Klingon speaking skills, and even the ability to put together the most creative sandwich.

Don’t give up the idea of applying for a scholarship just because your grades aren’t the greatest or because you couldn’t make it to any sports team. Look around and you are sure to find several scholarships that you are eligible to apply for.

The Competition For Scholarships Is Too High – Applying For One Would Be Just A Waste Of Time

Yes, the competition for scholarships is high but usually it is the most recognizable or lucrative scholarships that receive the highest number of applications, making them the most competitive.

When looking for scholarships, don’t just skim the headlines or the first page of your Google search. Dig deeper and look for those little-known opportunities that are not likely to be highly competitive.

Don’t stop at the internet. Check local sources too. Local businesses as well as individuals offer generous scholarships to encourage students in their community to pursue a college education. In this case, you will only be competing with other students within your community and more often than not, there is enough for everybody.

The Small Scholarships Are Not Worth Taking The Trouble To Apply For

The ‘all-or-nothing’ attitude could be your undoing when it comes to scholarships. When you are looking for free money for your college education every little counts. Every $100 that you get as scholarship money means having to take that much less as loan. It all adds up in the end and can make the difference in the amount of debt you graduate with.

There is no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply for or the number of scholarships you can accept, so why not apply to all that you are eligible for? All it will cost you is the time it takes to fill out the application forms, write out a personalized scholarship essay and submit the application. For what you are getting in return, it is totally worth it.

You Have To Pay To Apply And More Applications Means More Money To Spend On Application Fees

No legitimate scholarship program will ask you to pay to apply. All scholarship opportunities, whether they are offered by a college, a business or a private individual, are free to apply to. If you come across a scholarship opportunity that sounds very tempting but asks you to pay an application fee, that is a sure sign that it is a scam.

Writing One Essay Is Good Enough For All Scholarship Opportunities

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Sending the same essay with all your applications can cost you the award even if you meet all of the other criteria and are a strong contender for the award.

Different scholarships are awarded for different purposes. Each opportunity will have their own unique criteria, which is different from the others so you will have to write separate essays for each one. Every essay must be relevant to the scholarship you are applying for. Sending out mass applications with the same essay is not just a waste of your time but will also cause you to lose out on some fantastic scholarship opportunities.

While on the topic of scholarship essays, put in the same level of care when working on each one of them, regardless of big or small the award.

You Didn’t Apply Before The School Year Started so That’s A Lost Opportunity

While the majority of scholarships are awarded to students at the beginning of the school year, this is not a hard and fast rule. There are several scholarships that are available throughout the year. You can even apply for a scholarship in your second and third year of college so don’t give up all hopes just because you did not apply before school.

Spend a little time every week or every other week to research ongoing opportunities and if you are within the deadline, you must go ahead and submit your application if you meet the requirements. Not many students bother about these scholarships so the competition is likely to be low, increasing your odds tremendously.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!

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