There are a lot of reasons why college scholarship myths take hold, but unfortunately, those myths often keep students from applying for awards they could very well win. It's not true that scholarships are only for valedictorians or the very poor -- academic institutions offer vastly different award programs with a wide variety of eligibility requirements. Fortunately, many people who deal with undergraduate scholarships and financial aid go out of their way to address these myths.
Myth 1: Billions of college scholarship dollars go unclaimed
This myth has been around for quite some time now. We are not sure where it comes from, but it certainly has not come from College Financial Aid Officers. There might actually be billions of aid dollars that go unused, but it's not due to a lack of unclaimed scholarships. This common myth fails to mention that employer-paid education benefits are included in that total, and out of all those supposedly unclaimed scholarships, employee benefits account for about 85 percent. In reality, the number of unused scholarships is much, much smaller. However, although smaller, unused scholarships do exist.
Myth 2: I can't possibly get a college scholarship because of the competition
There are a lot of contests and potential awards that do exist. However, you have to seek them out or allow an agency, such as FreeCollegeFunding.net, to assist you with your search. First, you have to determine what you do well. Scholarship contests aren't just for valedictorians, but for people with particular interests and talents. The opportunities are quite diverse.
For instance, many churches or religious affiliations offer scholarships, as well as employers. As you search, you should be sure to look in your own community at churches, synagogues, or even the Daughters of the American Revolution. Your parents' employers might also sponsor college scholarships, and many of them don't require much more of each student than writing an essay or giving a speech.
Myth 3: Undergraduate scholarships go only to the best students
The top students are not the only ones that are recognized or awarded scholarships. For instance, State supported Universities and land grant institutions are not able to use tuition-and-fee revenue for University Scholarships…instead they must use the funds that come from individual donations. You will see more dependency on private donations and gifts, as well as government sponsored programs at State supported institutions.
Some students that apply for particular scholarships might not necessarily be the highest academic achievers, but they meet the criteria established by the donor. For instance, some scholarships are awarded to students with particular majors, for example the textile industry. A textile industry donor may want to set up a scholarship for textile students only. Therefore, the student that is awarded the scholarship may not be a high academic achiever, but awarded the scholarship simply because they have met the criteria that has been established by the donor.