Common Myths About Scholarships

Myth – Scholarships are only for students with 4.0 GPAs.

Fact – Many scholarships are do not require any specific GPA, and are considering more carefully what you are doing, rather than what your GPA is. Having a high GPA opens more scholarship doors, but it is never the only factor taken into consideration.

Myth – Scholarships are only for students with financial need.

Fact – There are many scholarships that do specifically support students who have financial need, and there are many scholarships that do not take financial need into consideration at all and are based instead on merit, which includes all the elements described above. And scholarships are more than just the money. Simply going through the application process can help you to clarify your goals and receiving a scholarship is recognition of your potential, direction, commitment and hard work.

Myth – Scholarships are too competitive, so there’s no point in applying.

Fact – Scholarships are competitive, but that’s no reason not to apply for those that are a good fit for your interests and plans. If you don’t apply, you definitely won’t get selected to receive anything. It does take effort to search out those scholarships that are a good match and worth applying for. And taking advantage of the resources available to assist you through the application process to make sure you’re submitting an application that will best represent you to the selection committee is critical. Just going through the application process is a learning experience, which can help you to clarify your interests and goals. This is helpful for all future applications, whether they are for jobs, internships, graduate school, or other scholarships. So even if you apply for a scholarship and don’t get selected, you will come out of that experience more knowledgeable and in a better position for future applications than if you don’t apply at all.

Myth – There are no scholarships for me because I am… (insert any of these categories here: an out-of-state student; an international student; an undocumented student; older than a traditionally-aged college student; a woman; a transfer student; a first-generation college student; a minority student; a military veteran with GI benefits; LGTBQ; a white middle-class male; financially stable; any other category you might consider yourself in).

Fact – There are scholarships out there for everyone, it just takes careful searching to locate those for which you may be eligible and a good fit. There are scholarships that don’t require US citizenship, scholarships that don’t require Iowa residency, scholarships that don’t require a social security number, etc. Because many scholarships are based more on what you are doing and plan to do in the future, actively engaging in your education and gaining experiences beyond the classroom as described above are the best ways to broaden the scope of scholarships you might be eligible for. And scholarships are more than just the money. Simply going through the application process can help you to clarify your goals and receiving a scholarship is recognition of your potential, direction, commitment and hard work.