• Scholarship Smarts
  • Finding and Getting Scholarships

It's Not Just About Your GPA...

Male student presenting to his team

It's easy to assume that only super achievers get scholarships. While having a decent GPA is important, there are other ways to qualify.

If you don't have an awesome GPA, you should skip looking for scholarships, right? Wrong! Many scholarships don't specify a GPA at all. Even if a GPA is required, sometimes the minimum is only a C average.

Grades Might Not Enter the Picture

Many scholarships emphasize other requirements, such as your involvement in extracurricular activities, your residence in a particular city, or the employment of one of your parents by the scholarship's sponsor. This is not to say that these scholarships don't have any academic requirements; it's just that academics are not the primary basis for eligibility.

Grades Are Relative

While your GPA might not make you a candidate for Harvard, your grades might be attractive to less selective schools. These schools might offer scholarships and other aid to motivate students with your credentials to attend. Use tools such as College Match to look up the average GPAs and test score ranges of previously enrolled freshmen at the colleges that interest you. If your grades and scores compare favorably, you may qualify for a scholarship after all.

Don't Give Up

It is certainly possible to win a scholarship from less selective colleges or for reasons other than superior academic ability. So don't be deterred from looking for scholarships just because you're not in the top 5 percent of your high school senior class. The money's out there, waiting for someone like you to apply for it.

What's Next?

Start your search with CollegeData's Scholarship Finder!

What's your major? See Scholarships Where Your Major Matters.

Where do you live? See I'm Eligible If I Live Where?

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