Why You Should Apply for Scholarships
Why You Should Apply for Scholarships
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Scholarships are those amazing higher education safety nets that so many students deserve today. Provided by an institution, nonprofit, or individual, a scholarship is “free money” that a student can apply to their tuition. The scholarship can also come from the college at which they plan to complete their education, too.
Unlike a student loan, which needs to be paid back, a scholarship comes with no strings attached. Ironically, the concept of the scholarship was invented on none other than the campus of Harvard back in 1643, when the first scholarship was established. The scholarship was in the form of 100 pounds from Anne Radcliffe, the widow of Thomas Mowlson, the former Mayor of London. When Thomas died, Radcliffe received half his estate. She made an endowment to Harvard that not only established the first scholarship, but also made Radcliffe the first female donor of the college.
It’s no wonder that in 1894, the Society for the Collegiate Instruction of Women, the counterpart to the all-male Harvard of the time, became Radcliffe College. The two merged in 1999. By then, scholarships had become the norm in college tuition processes, and we can thank one jovial and generous British businesswoman for making it a normal occurrence around the world today.
Today, 370-years later, scholarships are huge part of paying for college. There are thousands of options at your fingertips, even including our options here at Honor Society Foundation scholarships. However, with all good things comes the potential for bad things, too, which is why you need to learn more about scholarship scams, how to spot them, and how to avoid them.
Here are some of the basics.
We have to be honest with you and admit that scholarships are often very hard to obtain. They are competitive and they are often awarded to the most deserving and proven students. If a scholarship was available for every single student in the country, we wouldn’t be writing this e-book. However, this shouldn’t deter you from still learning about your options, as well as how to access programs with a savvier mindset.
Scholarships come with specific qualifications, as well as particular deadlines and rules that you need to follow. So many students and families disqualify themselves from even receiving the scholarship by not taking the time to read the fine print. If you slow down and take your time with each scholarship, there is no reason why you can’t adhere to all rules and timelines. Set alerts in your calendar, write down deadlines, and so forth. You don’t want to impact your future by simply missing a due date!
At the end of the day, winning scholarships can close the gap between college savings and the educational expenses at your fingertips.
Why You or Your Child Should Apply
It goes without saying that scholarships are an amazing entity in our world today. They can change the course of your life forever. Have you ever stopped to think about why it’s absolutely with it to pursue the scholarship of your dreams? Here are a few reasons why you should invest all of your energy to make it happen:
1. Academic and Intellectual Advancement: When you receive a scholarship that makes higher education a possibility for yourself, you can finally rest as you know you’re going to be intellectually advancing yourself at a premier collegiate institution. Certain scholarships also help students to expand their knowledge and experience outside of the classroom, through apprenticeships, travel opportunities, or fellowships. One example, the Fulbright Scholar Program, provides winners with the ability to conduct research in 155 countries. Earning these scholarships also raises your visibility, possibly gains you press coverage, and provides you with a level of respect as you enter into the program.
2. Professional Investment: When it’s time to enter the workforce, listing the scholarships that you received to attend college with surely stand out. This will already tell your employer that you aren’t afraid to put in hard work and go above and beyond to make your dreams happen. If your scholarship allowed you to develop a particular school, or if it increased your work experience by helping you to complete an internship, then it will position you more favorably in the hiring fields. You can also apply for scholarships from certain companies, which will (sometimes) make it more likely that they will hire you when there are vacancies.
3. Financial Breaks: We could all use some financial breaks today, especially as coronavirus completely upends our economy. Student loan debt affects 44.2 million Americans every year, totaling to $1.48 trillion nationwide. The average person between the age of 20 and 30 is paying $351 per month on student loans. With scholarships, you can avoid this kind of financial burden and enjoy the benefits of your education immediately upon completion. With no debt, you can explore options, invest your money, and kick-start your career immediately.
4. A Future Full of Dreams: For so many students, their dreams aren’t possible without higher education. When you are able to go to school and receive a collegiate degree, there isn’t anything that you can’t do. It’s up to you and your education to make it happen. You don’t want to sideline your dreams so young – a scholarship could be the key to unlocking your future success.
5. Increased Frequency Means Better Chances: Did you know the more you apply for scholarships, the better your chances of receiving one? It’s not this kind of “one-and-done” process. Much like applying for the job of your dreams, you’re much more likely to secure employment if you apply to 15 companies as opposed to 2. That’s why right now is a great time to jump on the scholarship bandwagon and start increasing your chances of becoming a recipient.
6. Applying Can Change Your Perspectives: Not every scholarship requires a transcript and an application form. Some of them involve real-world experiences, like volunteering, or a special essay that talks about your dreams. When you make an effort to learn more about the scholarships at your disposal, you will start to live your life differently and see everything through a new lens. It might even encourage you to pick up a new hobby, travel, or start giving back in the interim.
7. Keep Your Eye on the Prize: Applying year round to the plethora of scholarships at your disposal will help you stay focused and determined to make your dreams happen. We can all use something from time to time that helps us refine our focus, and scholarships are certainly something that will help you really identify what it is you want out of life. For so many students, not knowing their passions can deter them from applying themselves at college. Exploring scholarships with a determination will help you learn more about yourself while enhancing your natural discipline.
As if paying for college out of pocket isn’t hard enough today, families need to beware of scholarship scams, as well. It makes sense since scammers are always looking for ways to siphon free money back into their pockets, which makes scholarships a lucrative target today.
How can you know if you are being scammed? Here are some red flags:
- Being told you must pay to qualify for aid. If a website wants you to input all of this information for the promise of aid, it’s possible that it is trying to scam you.
- States scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. The whole point of a scholarship is that they are selective and competitive, designed to reward the students that have worked the hardest. Therefore, not everyone is going to get one. Awarding them on a first come, first serve basis would make no sense – it would completely remove the process of selecting the students that work the hardest.
- Guarantees aid without any mention of competition. Scholarships don’t just “guarantee” anything. You need to be selected out of the body of applicants. If a site or program claims they are going to just pay you the scholarship, no questions asked, once you sign up, they are trying to scam you.
Are There Strategic Times to Apply for Scholarships?
It is stated that the fall semester is a less competitive time to secure a scholarship. Why? Students are focusing their efforts on admissions requirements, so they are spending less time hunting down scholarships. But, once we get closer to spring, more students are thinking up ways they can decrease their outstanding balance, which is where the scholarship search comes into the picture.
You Should NEVER Pay for a Scholarship
There are plenty of scammers today that claim you need to pay solely to apply for a scholarship. If you pay, you are more likely to be “chosen.” This is a scam! You should never have to pay to find a scholarship. Fee-based scholarship searches won’t enhance your chances. Honor Society members do pay dues to be members which allows access to benefits, recognition, members only events and much more. It’s important to point out that applying for scholarships through Honor Society never costs money.
It’s also important to separate out financial aid from scholarships in your process. If you are looking for financial aid, you should first go to FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to see if you qualify. Not all student loans are terrible either – you just need to go over the fine print so you understand the repayment schedule.
Be sure to keep student loan and scholarship concepts separate in your head. If you get confused, you can become more susceptible to these scammers looking for your personal information.
Difference Between a Grant and a Scholarship
Both grants and scholarships are known as gift aid, which means they require no repayment in return. Grants are awarded on the basis of financial need, like the Pell Grant for low income students. These grants can be awarded at the federal, state, or college level.
Scholarships are typically awarded on the basis of merit, whether it’s based on academics, talent, or an athletic ability.
Can Scholarships Offer More Than Money?
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the monetary benefits of scholarships. However, there are scholarships out there that offer more than money. There are $10,000 scholarships that can, of course, cover your room and board and textbooks, etc. when you go to college. However, there are scholarships that can offer research opportunities, travel abilities, and even hands-on internship-style arrangements that will prepare you for the real world. Be sure to spend time to looking up both kinds of scholarships.
Some final benefits that come with scholarship reception, or even simply completing the processes to receive the scholarship, include:
- Ongoing support: When you receive a scholarship, you are provided ongoing support from the donor or institution basically for the rest of your life. You become part of a select group of people that have gone on to do great things. You can not only connect with these people, but you can feel like part of something bigger, too.
- Networking opportunities: The first thing you should do is send out friend request to others who have received that scholarship. You can join certain groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and start making connections that could change the rest of your life.
- Real-world experiences: At a young age, it can be hard to know what you want out of life, simply because you haven’t lived that much of life yet. With a scholarship, you can gain access to experience and information that you never knew was out there. It can help you really hone in on your passions.
At this point, you know the benefits of a scholarship are innumerable. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be applying to the scholarship of your dreams, over and over again, every year. Don’t just stick with one scholarship, though; expand your horizons and consider all of your options.
In the following chapters, we will provide you with specific information on where to go to find some of these amazing scholarships. First, we are going to start with our scholarship opportunities right through our foundation.
For more tips on how to land a scholarship, read posts from our published book below:
Intro: Honor Society Foundation Guide: How to Find Your Scholarship.
#1: The State of Higher Education
#2: Why You Should Apply for Scholarships
#3: Honor Society Foundation Scholarships: How Does Our Program Work?
#4: How to Find a Scholarship & 10 Scholarship Websites You Should Know About
#5: Honor Society Foundation Scholarship Recipient Case Studies
#6: What is the Future of Higher Education & Scholarships?