5 Common Misconceptions About College Scholarships

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Most students are aware of the fact that there are myriad college scholarships that might help them to pay for higher education.  Some are offered through colleges while others are provided by private individuals or institutions.

What many students do not know, however, is just how many scholarships are out there and how many they are eligible for.  In fact, there are a number of common misconceptions that stop students from applying for the funding they need to reduce their college expenses.

If you’re looking for ways to make your college tuition, books, and related costs more affordable, as well as reduce student loan debt, you need to ignore the rumor mill and apply for all kinds of scholarships.  Here are just a few common misconceptions that could be holding you back.

  1. I’m Not Eligible

So you’re not an elite athlete.  You never served on student council.  You’re not first chair violin in the orchestra and you aren’t the valedictorian.

Just because you don’t fit the typical mold for scholarships doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for a variety of different funding opportunities.  You don’t have to be financially needy, fit into a minority group, or outstrip your peers academically or athletically to qualify for scholarships.

You simply need to seek out scholarships that apply to you, whether you’re a Daughter of the American Revolution, you participate in rodeos, you’re a vegetarian, you’re interested in entomology (the study of spiders), or you harbor some other unique background or interests.  There are even scholarships for redheads and unusually tall students.

You don’t necessarily have to fit the traditional scholarship criteria in order to find scholarship funds, but you do have to find opportunities and actually apply for them.

  1. It’s Too Early to Apply

If you’re a high school student, it’s not too soon to start applying for scholarships.  There seems to be a common misconception that you can’t start applying for scholarships until you’re a senior in high school.

This is untrue.  Scholarships may be awarded to students as young as freshman.  So if you’re waiting until your senior year, you might actually be a little late to the game.  Don’t forget, you can also continue to apply for scholarships after you’ve started college.

  1. I Don’t Need to Apply for Scholarships

There are a couple of reasons why you might think this is true.  Your parents may have the money to send you to college.  Or perhaps they earn such a small amount that you’re practically guaranteed student aid.

Maybe you think your grades, your athletic prowess, or other talents will net you a scholarship without even trying.  This is a dangerous game, though.

First, every student can use a scholarship, whether they have money or not.  Second, you have to apply if you want to be awarded a scholarship.  While a very select few may be offered scholarships, this is not the norm and you shouldn’t expect it, especially if you can’t hope to pay for school without help.

  1. Applying is Too Hard

If you think this is true, you don’t deserve a scholarship.  The level of difficulty associated with applying for scholarships is often based on the amount of money being awarded.

Whereas you might write a paragraph for a $500 scholarship, it’s only right that you should have to jump through more hoops for $50,000, for example.  If you want the money, expect to work for it.

  1. I Don’t Have a Chance

There can be a lot of competition for popular scholarships, which is why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Instead, apply for all sorts of scholarships, from those that are worth just a few hundred dollars to those that grant tens of thousands.

You’re going to have to pay for OU’s AACSB accredited online MBA one way or another, and every bit of money you’re awarded through scholarships can help.  Like Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  So apply for everything.