scholarshipThe following are the most common myths about obtaining a college scholarship followed by the facts:

  1. Only top students and gifted athletes get scholarships.

FACT: There are many scholarships that do not use grades or athletic ability to determine eligibility. Some that do use grades may even consider a student with a 2.5 GPA, not necessarily a 4.0 as other criteria are considered more important – is your teen left- handed or is your teen the first in your family to attend college?

FYI:  If your teen’s test scores are significantly above the average of accepted freshmen, your student will be offered a merit scholarship. Depending how high the scores are reinforced by a high GPA, the scholarship can be partial or a full ride.

  1. Searching for scholarships should begin during your teen’s senior year.

FACT: You have a better chance of getting a scholarship if you begin earlier, even as early as freshmen year, though mid semester junior year may be the optimum time. The sooner you begin, the better chance your teen has of scoring that funding!

  1. You must meet particular criteria for consideration.

FACT:  It is not uncommon for foundations to have trouble finding applicants who match all of their desired criteria, thereby allowing a seemingly imperfect candidate to be offered the grant.

  1. Scholarships are only offered to high school students.

FACT:  A student already enrolled in college can receive scholarships as well as those not enrolled in school at all. Graduate students are also eligible for scholarships.

  1. You need to be an exceptional essay writer to be considered.

FACT: This is not necessarily what is most important. What your teen writes about rather than how gifted a writer he or she is tends to be the primary criterion. It’s more important to follow directions and directly answer the essay question!

  1. The amount of most scholarships is quite small and therefore not worth applying for.

FACT:  Small is a relative term. Your teen could get a scholarship for $1000 or $3000 or $10,000!  How about if your teen got five or six $3000 scholarships! There is no limit to how many scholarships a student can apply for.

  1. Scholarships are geared toward those with financial need and/or minorities.

FACT:  There are so many different types of scholarships, including those for students with a unique hobby, artistic or musical gift. There are legacy, military, and writing scholarships. There are community service scholarships. The list is almost endless.

  1. The scholarship competition is too intense, so why bother?

FACT: Your teen is attempting to get free money, so it will involve some investment of time. If your student follows all of the directions – which typically aren’t complicated – the money can be gotten. Think about spending 60 hours searching and applying for and ultimately receiving several scholarships totaling $9000. That’s like getting paid $150 per hour! Not to dismiss the fact that this is $9000 less you would have to take from a savings account or borrow with interest. 

  1. It’s a laborious and time-consuming process to apply for any type of scholarship.

FACT: Have your teen go to a site such as scholarships.com, and in less then 30 minutes he can complete a profile and get started. He will be provided with descriptions of the scholarships and the contact for each provider. The key is to follow the instructions!

  1. Millions of dollars of scholarship money is not awarded.

FACT:  This could be one of the more common myths. There are tons of available scholarships, but certainly the majority are awarded to eligible candidates. This myth may be attributed to a scholarship scammer to lure you into using their service. Never pay to secure financial aid.

  1. A student can only apply for a scholarship once.

FACT: Students may check out available scholarships whenever as a high school student, college or graduate student. Just make sure the search is done before the first of January.

I hope this answers most of your questions and you and your teen are ready to begin your scholarship search. Keep me posted!

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