November 4, 2010 | Suzanne Shaffer | Leave a comment Everyone has his or her own opinion about college scholarships. But the real truth is that most of those opinions are incorrect. Don’t believe what you hear from skeptics. Here’s the real truth about scholarships: Skeptic 1 “Only low income families get help paying for college.” Absolutely FALSE! There are all sorts of reasons for scholarship awards: academics, special interests, talents, achievements, personal qualities, activities, skills, family heritage, geographical location, and the list goes on and on! Skeptic 2 “Most scholarships are for athletes or minority students.” Categorically FALSE! Minorities and athletes encompass only one small portion of the scholarship landscape. For instance, there are scholarships for surfers, filmmakers, horse-groomers, southpaws, and even descendants of Revolutionary War and Civil War vets, just to name a few. Additionally, don’t forget college-specific scholarships and those all-important local scholarships! Skeptic 3 “Only the smartest students win merit awards.” Completely FALSE! Many of the best scholarships are designed for students who devote time to music, performing arts, foreign languages, community service, web design, science projects, leadership, amateur radio, writing, photography, oratory, and even part time jobs. Skeptic 4 “Once you’ve graduated from high school, it’s too late to apply for a college scholarship.” WRONG! Even if you’re already in college there are still scholarships to apply for. They may be a bit harder to find, but they are out there. And don’t forget the college you are attendingâ€”check on scholarships that might be available for current students. Skeptic 5 “It’s best to just apply for a few awards because that maximizes your odds of winning.” Extremely FALSE! It’s a numbers game; apply for as many as you can. You never know which application will hit pay dirt. One last tip: Don’t be tricked into paying for scholarship lists or searches. There are numerous FREE scholarship search tools available. If a company “guarantees” that they will get you a scholarship, they are just trying to appeal to your desperation and take your money. These types of companies use the same tools you can use for free and charge a fee for it. Take the time to register on the scholarship search sites and fill out your personal information. You will receive scholarship matches immediately and via email. It’s up to you to follow up, read the guidelines and apply. Do you have any tips for finding scholarships? We would love to hear them! Feel free to leave them in the comments below.