Scholarship Myths Busted

Kristina Kraus
Greater Nevada Credit Union
Many students want to further their education, though they think they can’t afford it or that they won’t qualify for a scholarship. Often the thought that you have to be super smart, a great athlete, or one of many other myths, makes people give up from the start.

The reality about scholarships is that there’s plenty of money to go around. According to the Debt.org, $46 billion in scholarship money and grants is awarded each year by the Department of Education and another $35 million is available through private companies. With that much being awarded each year, there’s a good chance you can get a piece of it.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common scholarship myths and how you can bust them.

You Have to be an Honor Student or Athlete

Guess what? You don’t need to be a 4.0 student or captain of the football team to get a scholarship.  In fact, many scholarships are awarded on other attributes, such as creativity (like the Duck Tape Prom Date Scholarship) or work experience or community service. Check out this list on Forbes of 10 scholarships that don’t require you to be scholarly or athletically inclined. 

Too Much Competition

Yes, a lot of people apply for scholarships; however many overlook certain things in the process. Smaller scholarships, such as $500, are often ignored because people don’t think it will help. Though if you apply for eight or nine $500 scholarships and get awarded for five of them, that’s $2,500.

GNCU has been awarding scholarship money for many years and knows that some people simply overlook the directions for applying.  Be sure you read scholarship application directions carefully before submitting to increase your chances of being awarded money.

Only High School Students Can Apply

Yes, the majority of scholarship applicants are high school students, though the fact is students of all ages and stages can apply.  Whether you’re a high school junior, third year college student or want to attend a trade or vocational school, there are scholarships you can apply for.  In fact, for some scholarships you can be as young as 6 years old!

You Have to be a Good Writer

The essay is often the scariest piece of the application process for most people, though many scholarships don’t even require you to write an essay at all. Check out a list of these applications that don’t require an essay or simply search “No Essay Scholarships”. Plus, scholarships that do have a written component often only ask for one or two pages, or an experience you’ve had rather than purely judging your writing skills.

The bottom line is that scholarships are available to those who really want to further their education. Just find the scholarships that are in line with your interests and skills and apply for several instead of only one or two. And don’t rule out other resources, such as student loans. The fact is that if you are determined to pursue your education, there’s nothing stopping you.
3/30/15