Debunking Scholarship Myths: What You Really Need to Know

We break down common misconceptions about scholarships and financial aid.

Applying to college can feel complicated and overwhelming. Here at Red Kite, our goal is to simplify the process and streamline your access to financial aid.

Both students and parents alike have many understandable questions and concerns about scholarships. Here are just a few examples of widespread financial aid myths, and why your chances at college are much higher than you may realize.

Myth #1: You can’t afford college.

Many students don’t even apply to the university of their dreams because they know they won’t be able to afford the tuition. Additional fees also add up: living in the dorms, textbooks, meal plans… The average cost of college has more than doubled in the 21st century, with in-state tuition averaging at $9,678; out-of-state tuition averages $27,091.

Scholarships and financial aid help to alleviate this financial burden in a variety of ways. By offsetting college expenses, resources like Red Kite help students graduate with less or no debt. High levels of student loan debt can have long-term financial consequences, but small loans combined with scholarships mitigate these risks and help students start their post-graduation lives on stronger financial footing. Over 83% of full-time, first-time undergraduate students receive at least some form of financial aid to help make college more affordable.

Our Red Kite Search Engine provides instant access to the Red Kite Database, which complies over $25 billion in financial aid. These include no-essay scholarships, fun scholarships (like the Taylor Swift Fan Scholarship), and much more. Through financial aid, any college becomes more affordable, even if you don’t have the best GPA.

Myth #2: Scholarships are only for straight-A students.

While academic achievement can certainly help with your chances of receiving scholarships, many programs consider various factors beyond your grades. Extracurricular activities, community service, leadership roles, and unique talents or skills are all excellent advantages.

Scholarships are also intended to diversify the educational sphere and grant access to marginalized groups. There are plenty of targeted scholarships for underprivileged individuals, such as the Single Parent Household Scholarship, which targets exceptional students raised in a single-parent household, or students who are single parents themselves and pursuing a degree in education.

Kite Writer Jane Cooper had a 2.7 GPA at the beginning of her junior year of high school. By the end of her senior year, she had been offered a cumulative $406,000 in scholarships. A high GPA is far from the only route to scholarships and financial aid.

Myth #3: Scholarships are only for incoming freshmen.

While there are indeed many scholarships aimed at incoming freshmen, there are also scholarships available for current college students, graduate students, and even adult learners returning to school. It’s never too late to search for and apply to scholarships.

Myth #4: You have to be a U.S. citizen to receive financial aid.

While some federal financial aid programs require U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen status, many scholarships and state-funded financial aid programs are available to eligible noncitizen students, including DACA recipients and certain categories of undocumented immigrants. Additionally, some colleges offer institutional aid to international students.

Myth #5: Once you get a scholarship, you’re set for all four years of college.

Many scholarships are renewable, meaning you can receive them for multiple years, but they often come with conditions – such as maintaining a certain GPA or participating in specific activities. Additionally, some scholarships are one-time awards, so it’s essential to plan for funding for all four years of college.

Now that you have a more clear understanding of the financial aid process, be sure to check out myredkite.com to continue your college pursuit. We are here to help – and to debunk!

5 Fun College Summer Activities

By Jane Cooper

You made it through another semester at college! Now it’s time to kick back, relax, and take a break from your busy undergrad life.

Even if you’re stuck taking a summer semester, it’s important to make some time for yourself. If I didn’t treat myself to a $7 iced coffee every day of the hot season, I think I would literally collapse.

There’s a lot to prepare for the fall, and I’m sure you’re trying to get organized. Summer jobs and volunteering are also great ways to boost your resume, but if you’re wondering how to maximize your fun, ya girl is here with all my favorite ways to kick off the summer. And spoiler alert… they’re cheap!

 

1. Make a time capsule.

Four years from now, you’ll be looking back on this summer with a totally new perspective. When I was a freshman, I wrote a letter to senior Jane, and it was so interesting to see how much I had changed!

Write to your future self and ask questions. Tell yourself what your biggest hopes for college are, and be sure to refresh them on how your current life is going. Your best friends, your favorite hobbies, your go-to YouTuber… trust, your grad self will LOVE to look back on your time right now.

Some other things you can include in your time capsule are:

  1. Photographs (friends, family, pets).
  2. A mood board of what you think your life will look like in a few years.
  3. A current newspaper (or, ya know, the top Twitter headline).
  4. The last movie ticket you bought.
  5. The receipt from the last time you went shopping.

 

You can also list your favorite things, and then see if they’ve changed by the end of college. Here are a few ideas for lists you can include in your time capsule:

  1. Your favorite foods.
  2. Your favorite musicians.
  3. Your favorite movies.
  4. Your favorite memories.
  5. Your favorite teachers.
  6. Your favorite video games, board games, and card games.
  7. Your favorite restaurants/fast food places.
  8. The current funniest memes.
  9. Who you follow on social media right now.

And why not spice it up with some drama? Tell your future self what your biggest worries and problems are right now. Maybe later on, they’ll look a little less scary!

 

2. Have a presentation night with your friends.

One of my favorite things that my friends and I have ever done was a slideshow night. Each of us prepared a PowerPoint, then presented it in front of the group. Mine was book-themed… are we surprised?

There are so many different ideas for your presentation theme. A few of the funniest ones I’ve found:

  1. “A couple things from the twilight saga that gave me the ick”
  2. “If y’all were on The Bachelor, how you would leave”
  3. “Birds are fake”
  4. “Everyone as Shrek characters”
  5. “What type of cheese I think you all are”

There’s also a “poll” themed night, where the group is asked a question, and everyone votes their answers. They can be friend-related – like, “Who’s the grandma of the friend group?” – or just general, fun polls.

You can use Instagram to collect everybody’s answers. Otherwise, there are plenty of free-to-use poll apps and websites out there, like Pollie.

 

3. Movie binge.

We’ll get into the great outdoors in a moment, but for now, here are some classic film series to watch! Don’t forget your Beyonce Renaissance Tour Popcorn Bucket. (Just me? Okay…)

Big kaiju kinda girl.

 

  1. The Lord of the Rings (my personal favorite).
  2. All of the Studio Ghibli movies.
  3. Star Wars.
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean (I recently rewatched these, and… are you kidding? They’re SO good!)
  5. Harry Potter.
  6. The Hunger Games.
  7. The Dark Knight trilogy.
  8. The Despicable Me/Minions franchise (don’t judge… I’m obsessed with these).
  9. The Jurassic Park movies.
  10. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). (Skip over The Hulk…)
  11. The Godzilla franchise (see above).

 

4. Camping.

Camping is one of the best ways to bond with your friends. There are plenty of cheap (or even free) campsites all over the place, even if it’s a little bit of a drive.

During my senior summer, I went beach camping with my best friend, and waking up to the sound of the ocean is such a vibe. (Be sure to watch high tide, though…) One tip for beach camping with long hair is that my best friend braided hers, and mine ended up looking like a rat’s nest.

Sunrise at beach camping. (Not my RV. I wish, tho…)

Here are a few of the most essential items to pack for camping, but there are a lot of more comprehensive lists out there!

  1. Bug spray (trust me. This needs to be #1).
  2. Sunscreen.
  3. Extra clothes.
  4. Flashlights.
  5. Sleeping bags and pillows.

And make sure your tent is waterproof! You never know when it’s gonna rain…

 

5. Learn a new skill.

From skateboarding to knitting, there are so many fun skills you can spend your summer perfecting! As Brittany Broski says, “Never stop learning. Always be a student of life.”

I recently went down an art history rabbit hole. I never understood Vincent Van Gogh until I found this amazing YouTube channel: Great Art Explained!

1. Cooking.

You’ll probably have a meal plan at college, but it never hurts to have some quick and easy recipes on hand. We’ll be posting a blog post about fun recipes to make in your dorm, and we’ll update this article with the link.

2. Learn a new language.

Being multilingual is one of the most valuable skills a person can possess in this world. It makes it easier to connect with people, travel to new places, and learn about other cultures. One of my college roommates was Mexican, and I was always so jealous of her ability to speak Spanish with other people.

You’ll need a language credit during college anyway, so might as well get a head start!

3. Juggling.

This will drive the college kids wild, guaranteed… we’re very easily entertained.

4. Learn how to dance.

I would mention that there are a bazillion cheap and fun dance classes out there, but you’ve got one right in your house: social media!

Punch in a type of dance into the search bar of any social media platform, and enjoy the thousands of creators with dance tutorials posted to their profiles. TikTok dances are easy and short, but it might also be fun to try more traditional dance forms. I’m currently trying to teach myself how to salsa… there’s a reason why I’m a writer, and not a salsa queen. Yet.

5. Meditate.

That college stress is coming, so it’s always good to have a few mental health strategies in your toolkit! Meditating is an easy way to feel grounded in your body and self. And the best part: you can do it anywhere, at any time! (Maybe not while you’re driving, but you get what I mean.)

 

So, there you have it. Just a few fun and simple ways to spend your college summer. Leave us a comment with any other ideas y’all have! 

Scholarships for Black Americans

Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela

In celebration of Black History Month, we are highlighting eight scholarships specifically for Black Americans! We’ve included scholarships for students with a variety of backgrounds and interests. Your ethnicity, race, and heritage is part of what makes you unique, celebrate your individuality with with a scholarship! 

Continue reading Scholarships for Black Americans