3 Reasons to Apply for Scholarships That Offer More Than Money

Do you need to apply for scholarships? On the one hand, the idea of getting a free ride to college looks very attractive. On the other hand, only 0.3% of U.S. students receive enough scholarships and grants to fully cover the cost of college. Fewer than 20,000 students a year get a full ride, and this figure depicts the number of students who get any combination of money from state and federal grants, colleges, and private scholarships.

The chances to win a full-ride private scholarship are even smaller, as there are only about 250 private scholarships in the U.S. that offer enough money to cover the full cost of college. At the same time, a scholarship may help you cover the gap between the cost of college and your savings.

The competition for scholarships is so rife, that some students hire professional scholarship essay writers to write application essays for them in order to gain the advantage. Besides, winning a scholarship can be beneficial for you not only in terms of money. Here are some less obvious reasons why you should apply for a scholarship.

1.  Real-world experience

Many scholarships give you an opportunity to gain real-world experience, which can be a great advantage for students from different areas. For example, the Golden Key International Honour Society helps scholarship winners to connect with various nonprofit organizations. Chapters of this society at universitiesfocus on different areas of volunteering.

Working or volunteering as part of your scholarship can be a valuable source of experience that you’ll be able to use in your future career. You’ll be able to at least add this experience to your resume, or it may even give you a competitive advantage when looking for a job. Besides, some scholarships give you an opportunity to study abroad. Programs like the Boren Scholarship allow you to discover remote parts of the world, experience new cultures, and learn new languages.

2.  Ongoing academic support

Everyone knows how challenging college can be, especially during your first year. Students are under constant pressure because of assignments, lectures, and exams. Many students feel completely exhausted and stressed out because of tight deadlines and an overwhelming amount of work. Therefore, there’s no surprise that many college students work with advisors.

Some scholarships can improve your college experience because they provide an advisor who can help you succeed. For instance, the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program enables undergraduate African-American students who are interested in entrepreneurship to get mentorship support. In addition, this program provides up to $20,000 over four years as part of undergraduate scholarships.

No matter whether you’re a freshman or a transfer student, you can certainly appreciate a scholarship that offers academic support at school. Fortunately, some scholarship programs can help not only with money. For example, the University of California-Berkeley offers the George A. Miller Scholars Program for community college transfers.

This program provides one-on-one support for up to twelve low-income first-generation students. This is a year-long program that also offers an $8,000 stipend for two years and selects applicants based on their leadership qualities, academic, and community service experience.

3.  Networking

If you win a national or local scholarship, you probably will be not the only person who joins this program. There are many people who have similar goals, interests, and plans. They won the same award, so all of you have a lot in common.

For example, the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation offers a $5,000 scholarship. If you apply for this program and win, you will get an opportunity to meet many second and third-year journalism students from different cities. This foundation works with more than thirty different colleges so you’ll be able to establish many new connections and build new relationships.

Scholarships that offer networking opportunities can be very valuable because they enable you to build long-term connections with other students across the country. Given that all of them study the same area as you, such connections can be useful for your future career. You may work in the same industry or in related niches and establish mutually beneficial cooperation.

Besides, you may appreciate a scholarship specific to your school funded by the alumni or the financial aid office of your college major or department. If you win such a scholarship, you’ll get an opportunity to work with graduates who have gone through the same experience and can share lots of useful information with you.

For instance, the Armstrong Family Foundation Scholarship at Arizona State University not only offers $8,000 a year but also enables students to stay in touch with the family on a regular basis so that they can get the necessary assistance.

Wrapping Up

Unfortunately, the chances to get a full-ride scholarship are very small, so should you apply for scholarships at all? The right answer is yes. The truth is that scholarships offer more than money. They can help you gain valuable experience, build your network, and get academic assistance. Some scholarships offer numerous benefits that you may appreciate even after graduation. Besides, even though they won’t cover the full cost of college, they will still give you some financial boost.

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