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Debunking Scholarship Myths

Written by Fiza Usman
Updated: January 12, 2023
5 min read
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Without a doubt, scholarship money is the most sought-after form of gift aid there is. The free form of financial support alleviates the burden of college costs for students all over the world. It gives students the liberty to predominantly focus on their education without the additional stressors of having to pay back tremendous amounts of student loans or working full-time.

Due to the high demand, the truth about scholarships can sometimes be lost in translation as students struggle to differentiate between right and wrong. This article will be the ultimate guide by providing more insight into false scholarship myths to help you through your scholarship application journey.

Carefully read through these clarifications to gain a better perspective of what to expect during your scholarship search.

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Myth 1: Earning a full scholarship in college means I will not have to pay anything out-of-pocket.

Scholarships come in a variety of different forms, and rarely cover an adequate amount of expenses to be completely free for you. While they are primarily opportunities to get further support, it does not mean there aren’t other costs expected of you.

Earning a full-ride scholarship to college typically means a scholarship covering tuition. A full tuition scholarship is a wonderful financial aid tool for your college but it is certainly not inclusive. College students with a full scholarship will still need to budget for housing, living expenses, books, fees, and parking.

However, students can apply for many scholarships which will hopefully minimize costs in other areas as well.

Myth: You need a 4.0 GPA to earn a scholarship.

The idea that scholarships are exclusive for those obtaining a certain GPA or test score requirement discourages many from applying for free money each year. Every scholarship has its own criteria, and not all award applicants based on quantitative factors.

Sponsors are offering these college scholarships because they want to see you succeed and get to know you beyond your scores. Almost all scholarships at incorporate an essay so students can talk about their lived experiences to advocate for themselves and how this money might help their future.

The reality is that anyone can receive a scholarship award. While academics are often an important criterion used by scholarship sponsors, it is not the only factor. Colleges and private organizations extend scholarships emphasizing community involvement, ethnic background, religious affiliation, athletic ability, college major, and special talents.

However, if it is a merit scholarship, which is a scholarship based on academic performance, you will be a more competitive applicant the higher your GPA is. Sponsors might emphasize a strict GPA range, so ensure to double check yours fits within that window prior to applying.

Merit scholarships only consist of a handful of opportunities, as a wide array intended for students from all different backgrounds and talents. Do not be discouraged if you do not have a 4.0 GPA. Administrators understand that students are more than their numbers.

Myth: I cannot apply for scholarships until I have been accepted into college.

Not true! You can create an account with and begin your scholarship search as soon as you turn 14. In fact, it is best to apply for scholarships as soon as you can. The earlier your search is, the more opportunities that will be available.

Take advantage of every opportunity because accumulating these financial resources give you more liberty in college. It opens the door to making more colleges and universities accessible to your financial means by the time you begin applying during your senior year.

While federal loans are granted on a first-come, first-served basis, scholarships are not. It makes sense for most students to run parallel tracks for their college search and scholarship quest. As you winnow down your list of prospective colleges, you can perform a similar activity for scholarships of interest. Be prepared to send out a number of scholarship applications as your college applications are being completed.

Myth: Scholarships are available only if I receive federal aid.

Financial aid for college students comes from various sources, including the federal government. Although they all collectively work towards a common goal, they are completely separate. There are no contingencies requiring one to receive a scholarship.

Federal aid often comes in the form of a grant or loan. Eligibility is usually assessed based on the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA), an application that only your university's financial aid office will evaluate.

Regardless of how much federal aid you receive, you will still qualify for other forms of financial aid, even if it is a small amount. The most important thing to understand is that the federal financial aid system operates independently of colleges, universities, and private scholarship programs.

Begin your scholarship research in conjunction with applying for federal aid to help offset your higher education's overall cost. Particularly for scholarships, is an incredible source that constantly uploads new scholarships daily so that every student can have access to pursuing their dreams.

Myth: Private Colleges offer more scholarship money to help offset higher tuition.

When comparing tuition rates, the rates at private institutions are indeed significantly higher than at public universities. Specifically, private colleges are around 282.4% more expensive, with tuition exceeding tens of thousands of dollars each academic year.

Due to this high difference in tuition, more families are financially discouraged from supporting their children to apply to or attend those schools. As students opt for more affordable institutions, there is a decrease in undergraduate enrollment rates at private colleges across the country.

As more vacant seats in pricey educational institutions persisted, private colleges provided more scholarships and financial aid to attract applicants from different socioeconomic backgrounds. So yes, there are more scholarship opportunities at private colleges, but that does not mean it is exponentially affordable.

That being said, the scholarships and financial aid package will need to be substantive to offset the higher tuition of a private college. Take the time to carefully review financial aid packages and the bottom line cost of attending any college or university.

It is also advised to begin applying for scholarships early so that more universities are financially accessible to you. Apply to scholarships today!

Top Scholarship Resources

  1. What is a Scholarship
  2. How Scholarships work
  3. Finding College Scholarships
  4. Full-Ride Scholarships
  5. When to Start Applying for Scholarships
  6. Where Scholarship Money Can Be Used
  7. How to Write Scholarship Essays
  8. How to Choose a College
  9. College Cost Guide

Do not let these common myths discourage you from applying to any. Scholarships are for everyone and are an excellent source of financial support for college.

For additional research, please visit’s scholarship blog. There, you will find an abundance of articles that are an educational guide for students to learn about scholarships, colleges, student loans, and much more. You will also find a diverse collection of scholarships that can be applied for today!

Fiza Usman
Content Writer

About Fiza

Fiza is a dedicated writer and researcher with expertise in internships, scholarships, career opportunities, and financial aid. Her skills enable her to craft engaging and insightful content that guides students through the complex processes of applying for financial aid and pursuing career opportunities.

She graduated from Boston College, majoring in Applied Psychology and Human Development and Computer Science.


Fiza has experience in writing blog posts, SEO content, and creative storytelling. On her personal blog, she shares engaging narratives through personal anecdotes. Her international experiences have given her a global perspective, enabling her to connect with a diverse audience. Fiza is committed to making a meaningful impact through her writing, always considering the perspectives and experiences of others.

Since joining the team in 2022, Fiza has channeled her passion for guiding students through pivotal stages of their academic journeys. She understands the challenges associated with college life and is dedicated to helping students adjust to their degree programs and manage their finances. Motivated by her own experiences, Fiza is passionate about empowering students by providing guidance and support that she wished she had during her undergraduate years.

Quote from Fiza

“To educate is to empower.”

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