Although there are not any scholarships that specifically target students with a low grade point average (GPA), there are plenty that don’t have a minimum GPA threshold and that do not take the GPA into heavy consideration.
Some examples of low GPA threshold scholarships include:
- The Coca-Cola Scholars Program http://www.coca-colascholars.org;
- Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation Intern Challenge http://www.cksf.org;
- Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship http://genkellyscholarship.com;
- CollegeNET Scholarship http://www.collegenet.com; and
- Dennis Schlosser Endowment http://www.esaintl.com/esaf.
If you have already been accepted to a university or you are already enrolled in a program, check that university’s financial aid office to learn more about opportunities that are unique to your institution. Many colleges and universities offer scholarships that only their students are eligible to apply for, which means that the competitive pool is much smaller than a national scholarship.
In addition, there are a number of scholarships that focus on niches that are generally consistent with future majors or career paths, such as the David Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship.
There are also essay scholarships, in which the winner is determined based on how well the essay submitted followed instructions and was received by the readers, like the ASFA National Scholarship Essay Contest and the Americanism Essay Contest.
If you have a low GPA because you went through a period in your schooling that was more difficult for circumstances beyond your control, part of your strategy should include telling that story and explaining your success in raising your GPA since.
This demonstrates commitment and drive to the scholarship committees. In the same way, if your GPA is low because you didn’t take school as seriously before, then make that evident in your application materials that you are very serious about your studies now.
In essence, make it easy for the scholarship committee to root for you. Even scholarships that don’t take GPA heavily into consideration don’t want to waste these valuable funds on someone whom they think will goof off in his or her classes.
Unless you don’t care for education, you likely have a good reason for your GPA woes, and it’s crucial that you differentiate your reasons from the first thing that people often suspect is the cause for low grades – laziness.