With so many chances to fund your college career, you would be out of your mind not to find and apply for college scholarships, right? Well, thanks to some common (and false!) scholarship myths, thousands of students all over the United States pass up the chance to apply for scholarships every year. Let’s take a hard look at some of these scholarship myths and see what we can do to debunk them…

You Can Wait Until Your Senior Year to Start Your Scholarship Search

This is a hugely problematic myth for many students. Because they won’t be applying to college until their senior years, most students don’t think about looking for scholarships any earlier than filling out college applications.

Technically, yes, you can wait until the fall semester of your senior year of high school to look for scholarships, but this can put you at a disadvantage. Start looking for scholarships starting as early as your sophomore and junior years. If you do this, you’ll have the best scholarships picked out in plenty of time, and you’ll know what you’ll need to do to complete your applications. Then you can set a leisurely schedule to get everything done and turned in before deadline.

You Need Stellar Grades to Get a Scholarship

A lot of students don’t even try to apply for scholarships because they assume that all academic scholarships are based on their academic performance. However, a lot of scholarship foundations and corporations know that your excellence and potential in your field won’t necessarily be reflected in your grades in English and Algebra.

There are a lot of scholarships available for students with average grades. For example, the Dell Scholars Program awards funding based on overcoming challenges, and the Duck Tape Stuck at Prom® Scholarship gives its award based on how well you can make a prom dress or tuxedo out of Duck Tape® brand duct tape. If you look for them, you can find scholarships that fit you perfectly, even if your grades aren’t amazing.

You Have to Be Great at Writing Essays

Along the same lines, not all scholarships require you to write an essay. You can search online for scholarships that include projects or portfolios instead of essays, as well as scholarships that operate on a lottery system and require nothing more than luck.

We should also note that the best essays aren’t written in a bubble. You don’t have to be great at writing essays on your own if you get help from your parents, teachers, mentors, and even your friends. We’re not saying you should have someone else write your essay for you. Rather, get help with tricky wording, revisions, and proofreading. You might be surprised what you can create with some editing help.

You Need to Be a Minority or Have Documented Financial Need to Get a Scholarship

Yes, there are a lot of scholarships aimed at improving minority representation in certain fields, and there are a lot of need-based grants and scholarships out there, too. However, you’ll notice, when you do a bit of searching through sites like ScholarshipChart.com that these aren’t in the majority. In fact, with just a few minutes’ worth of searching scholarship databases, you’ll likely find more scholarships than you have time to apply for.

Scholarships Aren’t Worth the Trouble

Finally, we come to the worst of the scholarship myths – that they’re just not worth it. Basically, this myth comes from the fact that many scholarship foundations can only offer $1,000-5,000 each year. When you look at all of the costs associated with going to college, that really doesn’t seem like a lot, and it can seem like it’s just not worth the effort. However, that’s completely wrong.

Yes, many colleges and universities cost $15,000-30,000 per year in tuition alone, and a $1,000 scholarship may seem like a drop in the bucket for that amount. However, that scholarship could cover the cost of books for two semesters. It could cover a student’s meal plan, or it could take a chunk out of housing fees.

Furthermore, there is only one limit to the number of scholarships you can apply for, and that limit is your time and commitment. Let’s say you apply for five scholarships. Two of them offer $1,000 each, and three of them offer $5,000 each. You could potentially raise $17,000 for your college fund, just by applying for several small scholarships instead of a single large one.

And there’s nothing stopping you from continuing to seek out and apply for scholarships throughout your college career. If you begin the scholarship search during your junior year of high school and begin the application processes as soon as possible, you’ll have a good idea of the time management and scheduling necessary to get everything done. During your senior year of high school and freshman year of college, you can then continue to apply for more scholarships and potentially get even more funding.

Don’t let these scholarship myths discourage you – you can find funding for your college career!

Search and Apply for Scholarships on ScholarshipChart.com

ScholarshipChart.com helps students and parents search and apply for scholarships, grants, awards and other financial aid options to help pay for college. Whether you are a high school senior starting college or a single mom going back to school, you can find money for college through ScholarshipChart.com.