“Just because I’m (insert race/ethnicity/diversity criteria here), I’m going to get ALL OF COLLEGE paid for by scholarships!”

Sorry my friend. Diversity scholarships will not magically (nor automatically) fall into place like that. They, like any other scholarship opportunity, will require effort on your part.

If you are seriously considering applying for a scholarship that values diverse experiences or multicultural knowledge or involvement, below are some facts to know about how Diversity scholarships are awarded.

FACT: You still need to apply!

No matter if you’re a perfect shoe-in for the award or your college admissions counselor claims you meet all the requirements, you still need to complete the application by the deadline.

FACT: You must have demonstrated involvement with whatever diversity/multicultural criterion you self-identify as having.

How would you demonstrate this? Joining a diversity/multicultural club in your high school, participating in a community service project for that diverse community, attending educational programming that values those experiences or enhances your cultural knowledge (such as a conference or summit). These are all “tangible” ways to increase your chances of earning a diversity scholarship.

FACT: GPA is still a factor.

The bottom line is that if your cumulative GPA is low, that will hurt your chances of earning a diversity scholarship. As with scholarships in general, you don’t always need a perfect 4.0 GPA, but you do need to be solid in the classroom if you want to compete for one of these awards.

FACT: You still need to apply for other scholarships.

You will not receive every scholarship that you apply for, and the same is true for diversity scholarships. Maximize your output of scholarship applications with the goal of increasing your chances of earning enough scholarship money to pay for the cost of your college education.

FACT: If you are awarded a diversity scholarship that is renewable, you must continue to maintain it!

Keep your college GPA above the minimum requirement the scholarship has established.