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Lesson 2: Scholarship Myths that Cost Families Thousands
Welcome to Lesson 2 in the Cut College Costs! Course for Parents. Gabrielle McCormick here and in this lesson we’re going to cover Scholarship Myths that Cost Families Thousands.
Before we go any further, I want to say thank you. Thank you on behalf of your student because not many parents make it this far.
Now, without further ado – let’s get into Myth #1.
Myth #1: Apply to Everything
In reality, you have to be very selective. Your family should not go after every scholarship. Some are honestly a complete waste of time.
While it may sound a little strange, it’s true.
For example, consider national scholarships. Most are very specific about the type of student they want to award their scholarships to or there’s so much competition that a student has a very low percentage of actually winning.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful they make these types of scholarships available to families, but it’s about marketing for some of them. The more exposure they receive, the higher the competition.
I heard a sports commentator say this during college football season and I like to think of large national scholarships this way as well: “Instead of taking candy from a baby, they’re trying to take a steak from a caveman.”
Applying for a lot of large national scholarships is like taking steak from a caveman.
I majored in accounting, so I’m not terrible at math. I know that the odds are more in my favor within my school, community, state, and region, as compared to the nation.
But let’s make sure we’re on the same page.
Yes, you can apply for large national scholarships, but don’t forget about those things in your student’s Sphere of Influence: Scholarships that are local, regional, and more specific to your student.
It’s about having a well-balanced mix of scholarships, instead of solely focusing on those that are $5,000 or more.
Myth #2: The “I Don’t Qualify” Myth
In reality, have your student apply anyway.
Again, I want to make sure we’re on the same page: I’m not saying that if they’re a music major, they should apply for a business scholarship. The only time this would be something I’d recommend is if a student desired to start a music-based business.
Here’s a personal example to clarify my advice for you even more: My ACT score was “too low” for the largest scholarship I was awarded in undergrad. But had I taken their qualifications for their ideal candidate verbatim, I never would’ve applied for or won the scholarship that allowed my BPA and MBA to be almost 100% covered.
Make sure that you and your student are reading the qualifications; if they are in close enough range – apply!
You never know if someone will pass your student’s information along or inform them of another scholarship opportunity.
Also, be on the look out for these golden words, “Or other related majors” in application information. This expands the applicant pool and should give you the confidence you need. Never count your family out.
Myth #3: The Rinse-and-Repeat Method
All too often I see experts, scholarship coaches, authors, counselors, and parents encouraging students to use the same scholarship essays over and over again.
This can create substantial issues in your scholarship process.
The best way for me to explain this is for you to think of a Mexican food restaurant.
When you look at the ingredients used in Mexican food, you customarily have a tortilla, ground or shredded meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and a sauce. But out of those ingredients, you can make tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, tostadas, and the list goes on.
Your student has to look at their scholarship essays like a Mexican restaurant. What are the parts or “ingredients” and how can they be broken up and rearranged to create something new.
Today’s Action Item
- Talk to your student about these concepts, the scholarships they’re applying for, and the methods they’re using in their applications.
In Lesson 3, I’ll be covering: 7 Things Your Student Needs In Their Scholarship Profile
Please leave me comments below. I want to make sure that you understand these concepts.
To your family’s scholarship success,