College is quickly becoming more of a reality than a dream for most minorities. With the help of thousands of scholarships targeted toward specific minority groups, pursuing a college degree has become more attainable. Scholarships are not only awarded for merit, financial need or talent; they can also be awarded for the simple fact that the student is a minority. Of course, there are other factors to be taken into account, but the student is initially eligible based on the sole fact that he/she is a minority.
Who qualifies as a minority? Minority does not necessarily mean a specific race or ethnic background. A minority group is characterized by a distinct characteristic that makes up less than half of a total population. Different minority groups can include people who speak a different language, or are of a different nationality, religion, culture, or lifestyle. For example, for its scholarship program, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund requires that an eligible applicant be of Hispanic heritage. Another example includes the American Indian Education Foundation, which awards scholarships to students of Native American or Alaskan Native descent.
Women are considered a minority as well. Various scholarships are reserved specifically for women. The Association for Women in Science provides various scholarships to women who are studying undergraduate or graduate careers in the sciences. Such programs give women additional opportunities to receive scholarships for which only they are eligible.
Another common misconception is the belief that minority scholarships are only given to students who are financially needy or are awarded to those who have a high grade point average. Although financial need may be assessed and transcripts may be requested, the student may still have a good chance of being awarded the scholarship based on other factors. Scholarships are usually awarded to well-rounded students who possess a variety of qualities and are involved in various activities, such as Student Government, sports or community service.
Additionally, remember that minority scholarships are not solely awarded to students of a specific race or ethnicity. You may find scholarship providers and scholarship programs that consider you to be a minority based on your culture, religion or lifestyle. Frequently, students do not take these factors into account and they miss out on valuable scholarship opportunities. Next time you find a scholarship for minorities, don’t count yourself out. Carefully read the criteria for the scholarship before you determine whether or not you are eligible to apply.
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