Applying for scholarships is a competitive process, but one that is well worth the effort if you plan to continue your education at a college or university. Too many students miss out on scholarship opportunities because they don’t believe that they have what it takes to win. Many students think the pool of applicants is too large and their possibilities of winning are too low. But you never know exactly how your story will resonate with the selection committee. So forget what you’ve heard about scholarship applications; we’re here to debunk six of the most common scholarship myths.
Myth #1: Only geniuses can get scholarships.
Wrong! Most scholarships require applicants to have completed between 12-36 semester credit hours and have a 3.5 GPA or higher to be eligible to apply. They usually do not ask for your SAT or ACT score, even though it may be perfect.
Myth #2: You have to be financially needy to receive scholarships.
False! Everyone can use a little extra money to help pay for college. While there are many scholarships that are based on financial need, many other scholarships are not. Merit-based scholarships look at your record of accomplishment and ability to excel in academics, art, or athletics, not your financial information.
Myth #3: I’m too old (or young) to get a scholarship.
Not true! Age is only a number, and this number does not determine your eligibility for most scholarships. Your age neither increases nor decreases your odds of being selected as a scholarship recipient. Apply for the scholarship based on the strength of your application, not your age.
Myth #4: I don’t have a compelling story.
Nonsense! Everyone has a story. You cannot base your chances of winning on someone else’s story, so concentrate on your own personal statement. Make sure your scholarship essay conveys your true educational journey – including your background, your interests, your experiences, your ambitions, your accomplishments, and your personality. Keep it clear, to the point, and positive in tone. Don’t ramble on or include unnecessary details. Be honest— don’t be afraid to expose your goals and aspirations. This is your opportunity to make a strong and lasting impression, to set yourself apart from the other applicants. You never know how impactful your story may be.
Myth #5: Applying for scholarships is too time-consuming.
Incorrect! If you could maximize your time and provide a way to pay for college, would you do it? Make it easy by compiling a detailed list of your academic and personal accomplishments broken down into manageable sections. Filling out a Scholarship Resume in advance gives you time to carefully think about each question, while having all of your information on hand when applying for scholarships. Write up a personal essay and then set it aside for a day, a week, or however long you can afford. Reviewing it with fresh eyes will give you new insight into how it can be made better. The same basic essay can be tweaked as needed to fit different scholarships. That’s a serious return on your time investment!
Myth #6: I’m not a great essay writer.
It doesn’t matter! You don’t have to be an English major to fill out a scholarship form. However, the quality of your submission is a reflection of your ability to put forth your best effort. The application is basically a non-physical interview for a potential scholarship, so just like a real interview you want to be seen as presentable and professional. Remember that not following the rules or leaving questions unanswered is the quickest way to weed out entries. Proofread your application, and make sure you have answered all the questions. Then have someone else proofread it and provide feedback on ways to strengthen it.
GoodCall is a site that connects students with scholarships of all types. You don’t have to be a great essayist – quite a few scholarships will let you submit a video, web design, art, blog, infographic, poem, or other creative entry. There are some scholarships that simply have you fill out surveys, or enter random drawings and sweepstakes! Search by ethnicity, gender, grade level, difficulty level, competition level, application method, major, and location. GoodCall covers them all!