Five Scholarship Myths That Are Costing You Money (And What You Can Do About It)
Find out how you could be missing out on free money!
For some reason, the image of the college student drowning in debt has become something society thinks we’ll all have to become one day. But it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to save cash throughout college, but really, the best way to stay afloat is through a scholarship or bursary.
Most of us have a very narrow view of what scholarships are, and how they’re given out. There’s a good deal of surprising information about them that students should know, because ignoring your options could cost you free money that’s sitting there, waiting to be claimed. How do we know that money’s there? Have a look at this:
1. Myth: Every scholarship goes to somebody
Here’s a shocking stat for you: millions of dollars in scholarships and bursaries go unclaimed yearly. I’ve personally heard a few numbers mentioned in a few places before, but according to ScholarshipsCanada last year, about one in 20 of the scholarships listed on their website are never applied for. And they have around $200 million dollars listed on their site, so you can do a bit of math to see how much money is just sitting there, simply because no one applied.
Contrary to popular belief, every scholarship or bursary doesn’t get handed out to someone by default. It’s entirely possible for no one to get a scholarship because no one thought to try. So, always make sure to apply, because you never know.
2. Myth: I need to check a scholarship website to find them
Check what your College offers first, because they’ll have plenty of in-school ones you can apply for! Centennial College has a broad and growing list of scholarships and bursaries for every program, based on both academic and financial criteria.
3. Myth: You have to do very, very well in school to get one, or have extreme financial need
Scholarships and bursaries are not always about high grades or needing money. Even if you don’t think you have some sort of special need or ability (which isn’t true, everyone has their thing), that doesn’t mean there isn’t one for you. Scholarships and bursaries frequently have nothing to do with either factor. ScholarshipsCanada also points out that scholarships can be focused on volunteer work, leadership, or even simply chosen at random from a pool of applicants.
And when it comes to Centennial College’s scholarships and bursaries, we offer them to applicants as diverse as French speakers, 2SLGTQQIA+ students, parents, students enrolled in part time programs, Indigenous students, and students enrolled in specific programs, among other things.
4. Myth: All I have to do is fill out a form to get one
Usually, you have to do more than just fill out a form for scholarships and bursaries, and being unprepared can cost you the award. We’ve talked about how every scholarship and bursary has different, diverse criteria, and while there are some that rely on a simple form application, many of them require essays, or some other extra submission.
Assume you’re going to have to work for each scholarship. Don’t think you can sit down one morning and send 10 applications out. Remember, there’s a chance you’ll be competing with a lot of other people, so you need to put time and effort into whatever application you have to do, otherwise you’ve got little chance of earning that free cash.
5. Myth: I wasn’t able to get any scholarships and bursaries in my first year, so my search is over
If you didn’t get a scholarship or bursary when you started school, it’s not over. While there are scholarships and bursaries that are given upon entrance to your program, others are available in any year of your learning. The important thing is not to give up because you didn’t earn any on your first try. It’s worth the saved money to dedicate a little time and effort to looking for them, and doing so can even give you some life experience towards looking and applying for jobs.
Coming to Centennial? Complete the Doorway to Dollars Questionnaire
To access Centennial College’s scholarships and bursaries, you need to complete and hand in a Doorway to Dollars Questionnaire, available through your myCentennial account.
If you don't complete the questionnaire, you're potentially losing out on free funding for your education. The questionnaire matches you with scholarships and bursaries for which you are eligible. Even if you don't think you qualify, fill it out anyway. There are still general bursaries you can receive, and if there’s something you can apply for, we'll let you know through your myCentennial email.
Don’t wait, it’s never too late
If you're a new college student, you have a lot to think about, like your timetable, picking courses and buying books. It's easy to forget about bursaries and scholarships in the shuffle. But the start of a new school semester is when you can use the cash most. So even if you have a million things on your mind, take time to fill out the questionnaire and watch your myCentennial email. It literally pays off.
Learn more about Centennial’s scholarships