Scholarships are intended to reward a student’s achievements and educational progression. Getting a scholarship opens up ways to various educational as well as employment opportunities. They help in mitigating the increasing cost of education and also self respect and confidence. One feels good and boosted up if he/she receives a scholarship with sincere efforts. Also, receiving a scholarship improves resume value for employment opportunities and attracts higher abroad education.
Scholarships and grants make up about 57% of all aid awarded each year. Scholarships are the most well known form of financial aid, but because they are well known, don’t mean they are well understood. Myths and misconceptions have sneaked their way into the picture and have muddled the truth about scholarships.
In this section we are trying to be the curtain raisers for a few of the commonly prevailing myths about scholarships.
Only students with good grades get scholarships
Reality – This probably is the biggest myth related to scholarships. Less than 10% of the private scholarships are based upon academic performance. A profile is what that counts. An excellent ACT or SAT scores might lead you to receiving higher scholarships than a student who has scored very high marks academically. Scholarships are divided into many categories. The ones with the criterion of high academic percentage will surely want good results, others focus on co-curricular aspects like social service, summer schools, financial condition and so on.
Only the scholarships that offer a lot of money should be applied for
Reality – Usually highly paying scholarships have a lot of competition as compared to the ones offering comparatively lesser financial aid. Let’s say a scholarship worth INR 10,000/- will have more students applying for it than a scholarship offering INR 1,500/-. No scholarship should be considered big or small, if it matches the student’s profile, it is worth applying for.
Long list of co-curricular activities is required
Reality – Co-curriculars are definitely needed for earning a scholarship but the focus is on quality and not alone on quantity. Having a national level certificate has more weightage as compared to 10 participation certificates. The focus should remain upon the quality of the activities being done.
Scholarships are just for minority/poor students
Though there are scholarships which help the weaker section of the society in their studies, the scholarships are not restricted to them alone. If you are a student who excels in something, you can definitely figure out relevant scholarships for yourself.
Only high-school seniors can apply for scholarships
Reality – Scholarships can be applied for at any level. Depending upon which scholarship is being applied to, the class level or the age level is determined. There are scholarships available for kindergarten students as well. As and when one comes across a scholarship, it should be applied without waiting for high school to get over.
Scholarship competitions receive applications from a number of deserving students each year. With a strong competition level, it is not always the best student who wins the scholarship, rather is the one who presents the application in the best possible way. Some things to keep in mind while applying for scholarships include the following:
- Apply for scholarships in different categories. Do not limit yourself to one type of scholarship. If one you have filled for academics, try filling the other for may be sports or artistic scholarship.
- Start the application process as soon as possible. The application process for many scholarships takes quite a long time and application deadlines finish early. Once you have figured out which field to apply for, start your preparations right away.
- Play on your strengths while filling up the scholarship application. Highlight the points which you think will be helpful in getting you a scholarship.
- The essay/long answer type question asked during the application process is a very crucial part of bagging the scholarship. Make sure it is original and as much as possible true.
- Avoid writing the same essay for more than one scholarship. Mould the scholarship according to the question, the location for which you are applying, or any other aspect that can be customized.
Having known all about scholarships, it is extremely important to keep a track on the scholarship opening and closing date for applications. The deadlines are to be kept in mind and you need to be well organized. Scholarship tracking is an important and tedious task in this entire process. When you are an active tracker, you will find more options for applying which suit your profile. Make sure to apply often to the scholarships but after checking that you are applying for a genuine scholarship providing body.
The sooner you start, the better results you are expected to receive!