If there’s nothing standing between you and your dream of being a teacher except money, you’re just part of the American majority. A whopping 83 percent of respondents in a recent Edward Jones survey said they can’t afford college.
But this belief may be mistaken: There are many scholarship opportunities from WGU to help pay for school. Maybe you just haven’t found them yet or assume you wouldn’t qualify.
Don’t let these myths hold you back: Hold onto that dream and consider applying now.
Myth 1: I need a stellar educational background to have a chance
Many people associate scholarships with the class valedictorian or the 4.0 student. But what if your most recent experience in school didn’t yield the most impressive academic record?
For adult learners and career changers looking at becoming teachers, thelandscape looks a little different, particularly at WGU.
“I think a lot of people believe they have to have this stellar educational background and accomplishments for an impressive scholarship application,” said Amanda Savage, Senior Manager of Scholarships for WGU. “But we’re not making decisions based solely on what someone did or didn’t do in their prior college experience. We’re also looking for their passion to get their degree.”
Myth 2: If I have a decent income, I won’t receive scholarship money.
“Eager students trying to get their degree shouldn’t assume they’ll only qualify for a financial boost if they have extreme financial hardship,” said Savage. “You don’t have to fit in this box of incredible need. At WGU, we’re adult learners, so we look at funding differently.”
In other words, you don’t have to be struggling to keep your head above water in order to qualify for a scholarship. Even households that make a modest income (or two incomes) may not be able to find room for school in the budget. That’s why there are plenty of scholarship opportunities for people in these circumstances as well.
Further reading: Applying to School to Become a Teacher
Myth 3: I was financially secure when I started school, but have since fallen on hard times. Now it’s too late to get assistance.
A while after starting her courses in elementary education at WGU, Mae Bates was diagnosed with cancer. In order to manage that and care for her kids, she had to quit her job, which meant she thought she’d have to say goodbye to her dream again.
“I told my mentor, well this is it. It’s done for me,” said Mae. “But she said, ‘Hold on, I think we might have a solution.’”
WGU students have assigned mentors that walk through the educational journey with them. Mae’s mentor contacted Savage about finding a solution so Mae could continue.
“We know you won’t always face the extreme hardship that you do now,” said Savage. “And a scholarship won’t take away all the hardship, but we hope it helps make continuing your education possible.”
With this assistance, Bates has been able to continue in her studies. So if you’re someone who has fallen on hard times, don’t assume that the ship has sailed on scholarship opportunities just because you’re already enrolled and working toward a degree.
Myth 4: Earning a scholarship means I will have to maintain a perfect GPA or will have to fulfill other burdensome demands.
“Some schools pro rate scholarship amounts based on income, or won’t award money if you haven’t maintained a certain GPA,” said Savage, “But remember that not every school will require the same standards to award you a scholarship.”
While it’s true that most scholarships come attached with some requirements, these can vary significantly. Many simply require that you stay on track to complete your degree within a reasonable timeframe.
This is another area where WGU scholarships may differ slightly from others: Students at WGU don’t receive traditional letter grades, so there’s no need to fret about GPA requirements. Instead, other requirements, like maintaining on-time progress toward your degree, will be emphasized instead.
Myth 5: I don’t have a unique story or anything special about me that could earn me a scholarship.
You don’t have to be Time’s Person of the Year to be considered for a scholarship. In many cases, a compelling essay about what you hope to do with your degree could be enough to earn one.
“Everyone has a story, and we really want to see yours,” said Savage. “So put your time into writing it for your application.”
Further Reading: What I Learned by Going Down a New Teaching Path
So, what are you waiting for? Check out WGU’s scholarships and see if there’s one that catches your interest. Take a look at the requirements and give it a shot, you might be surprised at the results.
“We go about awarding scholarships a little differently and different universities offer different kinds of scholarships,” said Savage. So don’t let your assumptions about what you know about scholarships stop you. You might not think you’re a candidate, when you are.”