Dis-spelling the myths around University Scholarships

Scholarships the truth

By the Scholarship Hub

Lots of students are unaware of the existence of University Scholarships or rule out their eligibility for receiving one, without reading up on whether they could actually qualify.

Here is some information aimed at dispelling some of the myths surrounding scholarships. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that there is in fact a scholarship out there that you could win.

Here are 10 commonly held beliefs around the subject of scholarships, which we would like to clarify:

1) Scholarships are only for people who are hard up

Wrong. Around 68% of the scholarships and grants listed on The Scholarship Hub database are awarded on the basis of something other than financial need. This could be academic merit, personal circumstances, sporting or musical achievement and a whole range of other eligibility criteria so don’t assume you will not be eligible.

2) My university will tell me if I am eligible so I don’t need to worry

True BUT only to a point. There are also lots of scholarships for which you do need to apply and you won’t automatically be entered for. Once you know which university you are going to, check out all the scholarships they offer and see if you need to actively apply.

3) All scholarships are listed on university websites

Wrong. Universities will list all scholarships on their website which are offered to students attending that particular university. However there are also many scholarships which are not tied to one particular university and are administered by other organisations such as companies or charitable foundations. These are usually open to all students or maybe those studying a particular subject, but either way you will definitely have to apply for these, otherwise how will they know about you!

4) So many people will apply I do not stand a chance

Wrong. Firstly you will definitely not stand a chance if you don’t apply and secondly there have been instances when some scholarships do not even get any applicants because either people do not know about it, or they think they won’t stand a chance so don’t apply! Do not be one of those people.

5) The amount of money I will receive is hardly going to make a difference overall

Wrong again! Some scholarships will pay all your tuition fees and there are also some out there which will pay your full costs of university including living expenses. However, even those that are worth a smaller amount, such as £500 could buy you those books you can’t afford but really need. Every penny will make a difference and at the end of your course you will be that amount less in debt. The average value of a scholarship is £1,500 – you would have to work for 200 hours or 5 full working weeks to earn that at £7.50/hour – so don’t think it’s not worth your time filling in an application form.

6) You have to be an A* student to get an academic scholarship

Wrong. Some universities offer academic scholarships to students who achieve As and Bs at A’ level and not just A*s. Some universities which don’t typically attract the A students will offer scholarships as an incentive to higher achieving students or as a reward for students who may not have expected to achieve those grades.

7) The weird scholarships are only available in America

Wrong. Yes there are some pretty weird scholarships available in America – left handed students or Trekkies – but there are also some grants and scholarships on offer in the UK for some quite unusual reasons. Check out the Vegetarian Charity which gives grants to vegetarians in financial need.

8) There are scholarships for the first person in the family to go to university

This is actually true, but they are generally offered by specific universities in order to support and encourage students from non- traditional university backgrounds to attend. If you are the first in your family, check with the university you will be attending whether they have any scholarships to help.

9) There are only scholarships for first year undergraduates

Wrong. Whichever year of your degree you are in, there could be funding opportunities available for you. There are also scholarships, grants and bursaries for postgraduates available, so don’t stop looking just because you’re not a fresher.

10) If you want a sports scholarship you have to go to America

What is true about this statement is that there are some very high paying scholarships for talented sports men and women who want to go and study in America. However, increasingly more and more UK universities are also trying to attract students with sporting prowess so that they can represent the university while they are studying. The main difference between the sports scholarships in the UK and America is that the amount you will be awarded is less here in the UK and it won’t be offered to you before you accept your place. The scholarships in America are used to entice sportsmen and women whereas in the UK they are usually awarded after you have already confirmed your offer of a place at the University.

So how do you go about finding funding?

If you know which university you will be going to, or you are already there, then check with the Student Funding Office first. They will be able to tell you about all the relevant scholarships, grants and bursaries that are on offer to their students.

If you don’t know where you will be studying yet, then you can start your search on The Scholarship Hub, a centralised database of all scholarships which are available to UK students. This also includes more general scholarships offered by companies and other organisations as well as some grants and bursaries from charities and trusts.

In addition there are thousands of smaller charities and trusts which offer educational grants for all sorts of reasons. You can research those you might be eligible for in a number of ways. The Guide to Educational Grants can be found in larger libraries or www.turn2us.org.uk has an online database.

The more letters you send off, the more you increase your chances of finding additional pots of money to support your studies.