common scholarship myths and misconceptions

Posted : August 31, 2015
Last Updated : April 13, 2021

common scholarship myths and misconceptions

Because a variety of scholarship myths and misconceptions exist, you may miss out on receiving potential gift aid for which you could qualify. Learn the truth behind these myths and misconceptions so you will have a better understanding of the college scholarship process.

Myth: You should begin searching for scholarships during your senior year of high school.
The earlier you can start researching scholarships, the better prepared you will be when it's time for you to apply. If possible, you should start the process at least two years before you need the gift aid. Keep in mind that you will be applying for college scholarships about a year before you will actually receive the gift aid.

Myth: Only students with high GPAs and/or financial need win scholarships.
Not all scholarships specifically pertain to academics or financial need. If you have an obscure interest, talent, or physical attribute, you may be eligible for some interesting scholarships.

Myth: Billions of college scholarship dollars go unclaimed.
Although some scholarship money is never awarded due to highly restrictive eligibility requirements, the combined total is not in the billion dollar range. This myth is often used by companies participating in scholarship scams. Be wary of any scholarship search service companies making this claim.

Myth: You have to be involved in a lot of extracurricular activities in order to obtain a scholarship.
When it comes to extracurricular activities for scholarship applications, quality is more important than quantity. Avoid signing up for activities just to have a long list for your applications. In almost all situations, the depth of your experiences is more important than the number. Choose activities that are meaningful and important to you.

Myth: You have to be a high school student to win a scholarship.
An array of scholarships exists for undergraduate and graduate college students. Be sure to speak with someone in your academic department to find out if scholarships specific to your major are available. You should also contact your college's financial aid office. A financial aid advisor will be able to help you learn whether you are eligible for any need-based scholarships or grants awarded directly from the school. Your college website can also be very helpful. Look for scholarship information on the admissions and financial aid sections of the website.

Myth: You are top in your class so you are guaranteed a scholarship.
Just because you are a top-performing student does not mean you are guaranteed a scholarship. You must put in the time and effort to research scholarships for which you are eligible and make sure that you submit superior applications and/or essays. Don't expect any gift aid if you don't put in the work.

Myth: You won't win a scholarship because the competition is too intense.
Yes, competition for scholarships is intense. However, if you fully research, stay organized, avoid application errors, submit good applications and essays, and apply to as many scholarships as possible, then you will increase your chances of obtaining a scholarship. Stay positive!

Myth: Applying for scholarships is a one-time process.
While some scholarships will renew for every semester or year of college, many scholarships are awarded on a one-time basis for one semester or one academic year. Therefore, you will want to keep researching and applying for scholarships throughout your undergraduate and graduate years.

As you can see, there are several misconceptions about obtaining a college scholarship, so don't believe everything you hear! For more information regarding college scholarships, check out the articles in the Scholarships & Grants section of this website.


forgot password?


Please enter the email address with which you registered. If the information you submit matches what we have recorded for you, a new password will be emailed to you.

Be sure to add "" to your trusted senders list.

Share with your friends an article from


common scholarship myths and misconceptions

characters left