Getting a higher education is expensive; so expensive that some prospective students unwittingly bar themselves from attending because of money. Bursaries can be the golden ticket to university for some students in that they offer an opportunity that may have been lost. No one should miss out on the chance to further their education just because of funds.
However, with that comes a lot of confusion. Many students skip out on applying for bursaries because of what they read online and hear about through the grape vine. There are tons of myths about bursaries out there that finally need to be debunked! Here are 7 of the most commonly spread bursary myths.
Myth 1: Bursaries are only granted to the top students
Yes, students with better grades are more likely to be granted bursaries, this is obvious. But that’s not to say that students with average grades will not be considered. There are plenty of bursary programs that do not take grades into primary consideration when reviewing applications. Many set a minimum GPA requirement as a way to filter out the extremely unqualified, and to offer a more fair and equal playing field. As long as you fit the criteria, you qualify.
Myth 2: Minorities win the bulk of the bursaries
While there are bursary programs specifically meant for individuals of a certain race, the majority does get their fair share of gifts. People love to assume that bursary programs prefer minority students because they want to prove that their program is diversified and non-discriminatory. This may prove accurate to a certain extent, but it is by no means true that students of the majority race are less likely to win just because they don’t fall into a smaller pool.
Myth 3: Small bursaries aren’t worth it
This is just plain silly! Bursaries are FREE MONEY. Even if the gift is a “measly” $1,000, it is $1,000 more than you started with. Applying for multiple small bursaries diversifies your financials and increases your chances of actually winning! Because so many people shy away from applying for small gifts, deeming them unworthy of their time and efforts, those who do have a greater chance of winning. Get a handful of $500-5,000 bursaries and you’re looking at a sizable chunk of money. The more help you get, the less you will have to take out in loans, and thus pay back post-graduation.
Myth 4: There’s too much competition, I have no chance
If we walked life with this attitude, how would we get anywhere? Would you not apply to your top choice university just because thousands of others are doing the same? Are you going to pass up the chance to land an interview with the company of your dreams, just because you think there are other candidates who may be more qualified?
There will absolutely be competition in the bursary world, but you are seeking to finance your higher education… so look past it! There will be countless applicants who don’t answer the essay questions correctly, who don’t follow application guidelines, and who don’t submit on time. It doesn’t matter if they are the picture-perfect candidate; if they make mistakes, their application will be plopped right into the “no” pile! Apply for whichever bursaries you are interested in and qualified for, be sure to read the rules and follow them closely, and you will increase your chances of being one of the winners.
Myth 5: You can wait until the last minute to find and apply for bursaries
Why would you do that? While you may be an efficient and deadline-driven worker, you would be doing yourself a disservice by delaying your search. Remember, the more you find, the better off you will be! Many programs have a mid-school year deadline (January) and that time will fly. It’s OK to start looking during your senior year, but bear in mind that you will also be submitting your college applications at this time. Don’t burden yourself with too much at once. Start looking during your junior year so that come application time, you know where you are going to apply and when it is due.
Myth 6: Millions of dollars’ worth of bursary money goes unclaimed each year
There must be some programs that don’t end up awarding all they have to offer in a given year, but millions? Some even say billions. This is an extremely common claim but it is often made by bursary scammers looking to get people to use their services. Scammers work to convince potential applicants that they have access to LOADS of funds that will end up unclaimed, so why not apply? The problem here is that they charge fees for their services, claiming to offer a hassle-free experience. They are trained to make you feel all-too-tempted to work with them, because who wouldn’t want the chance to dip into the millions of unclaimed dollars without having to do too much work to get there? The fact of the matter is that you should never pay for a monetary gift/financial aid. If you are searching for a bursary and come across an agent saying that they will take care of everything for you, for one small price… run away! For more information on bursary scams, check out our article here.
Myth 7: Athletes get all of the money
There are athlete-specific programs and there are non-athlete programs. Undergrads often make the mistake of not applying under the false assumption that bursaries are primarily made for the athletes destined for a promising career in college sports and beyond. The few with unbelievable talent sure to land a university team in the big leagues, should they accept the bursary and invitation. But this is not true. Bursaries are made for people of all shapes, sizes and talents. You don’t need to be the MVP on the high school basketball team to be qualified for a bursary program.
Don’t let rumors deter you from financing your education!