There are many myths surrounding college scholarships, and, unfortunately, many prospective college students buy into them, missing out on hundreds and even thousands of dollars in scholarship money. If you’re stressing out about how you’ll pay for college, there’s no time like the present to begin sorting it all out and learning the truth.
Keep in mind that you will also need money for room and board while in school. Be sure that you plan for these expenses. You may also face fees, book costs, and other unexpected expenses beyond your tuition and room and board.
Be creative when looking for grants, empowering women is a big issue these days, and there are specific scholarships that are reserved for women in college. Remember, the government is not your only option. By exploring all of your options, you can find a grant or scholarship such as the Nancy Etz scholarship to make up for some of the costs you will need for your schooling.
Myth #1: You need to secure all of your financial aid and scholarships while you’re in high school.
The Truth: Don’t think that once you’re in college, your scholarship search needs to end. There are plenty of scholarships available for students who are already in college. If you don’t receive as much scholarship money as you’d hoped for your freshman year, keep looking!
Myth #2: You need to wait until you’re a senior to start searching for scholarships.
The Truth: If you’re already thinking about scholarships, no matter your age, there’s no time like the present. If you’re a junior or even a sophomore, you already probably have some sense of your talents and interests. Try searching for scholarships related to those.
Myth #3: Scholarships are only awarded to the top students.
The Truth: Even if you don’t expect to be the valedictorian of your senior class, you’ll find that there are still plenty of scholarship opportunities out there for you. As we mentioned above, you can search for scholarships related to an interest or talent as well. For example, if you excel in the drama club, at horseback riding, or in the debate team, there’s probably scholarship money out there for you to claim.
Myth #4: Most scholarship awards are small and insignificant when compared to the cost of college.
The Truth: Don’t scoff at $1,000, $500, or even $100 scholarships. As the saying goes, “every little bit helps,” and that’s definitely the case where scholarships are concerned. A $100 scholarship represents $100 removed from your overall financial load. Those small amounts can quickly add up too. For example, if you won two $100 scholarships, one $500 scholarship, and two $2,000 scholarships, that’s $4,700 you won’t be paying in college expenses.
Myth #5: There’s a limit to how many scholarships you can win.
The Truth: You’re only limited by your own ambition and research. The only way to earn free money for college is to seek it out and apply, apply, apply! Nothing in life is free, but if you apply yourself to your scholarship search in the same way that you do your schoolwork, you can come out of it with a much lighter financial burden.
Myth #6: There’s too much competition for scholarships, so the chances of actually winning are slim.
The Truth: While there is undoubtedly competition for scholarships, it’s far from impossible to earn them. Try dividing your focus between high-profile scholarships and those that are smaller and more specialized. The bottom line: never give up!
At first glance, it may seem as though it’s impossible to secure the scholarship money you need, but if you work hard and never give up, you’ll most likely be pleasantly surprised.