Yearly, more than 1.7 million scholarships are awarded to students in the U.S.. However, it’s said that only 7 percent of college students receive a scholarship, and very few apply for them because of the amount of groundwork needed.
When done right, scholarships are highly beneficial and help students and parents save a ton of money annually. The average scholarship is worth US$7,400, with some dependent on family income levels and sponsors.
Five benefits of a scholarship
We take a look at why scholarships are so important and why parents should encourage their children to apply for them.
1. Scholarships make education accessible
Generally, high school and university tuition fees can be costly. In the U.S., the average college student loan debt could be as high as US$40,274 for a four-year program in 2021. Undoubtedly, this can be daunting for students—especially when they’re just starting out in their careers.
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Scholarships and student grants can mean the difference between deciding whether or not to go to college. Some scholarships include internship experience, while others, like the ExpressVPN Future of Privacy Scholarship, award money while giving applicants exposure in the cybersecurity field.
2. A scholarship could open doors
Students awarded scholarships will likely meet fellow students who have also won the same or similar awards, allowing them to network with others. Some scholarships give students access to mentors and inspiring figures in an industry, while others provide a significant amount of money. By meeting and networking with their mentors and important figures, students on scholarships could learn much more than they do in the classroom.
For example, the McDonald’s National Scholarship in the U.S. provides up to US$100,000, which essentially means free education and money for textbooks, and other educational activities.
3. Allows students to focus on school
When students no longer have to worry about money and the financial burden of their education, they can focus entirely on studying and ensuring that they have the best college experience possible.
In the U.S., nearly half of all undergraduate students apply for part-time jobs or financial aid to finance their college education and living expenses.
While part-time jobs can help build character and help students gain real-life experience, they can also be really distracting and stressful. After all, students with part-time jobs must work an additional 12 hours per week so that they won’t have as much time for school work and other extracurricular activities.
With scholarships, students can focus on their studies instead without worrying about money.
4. It gives your resume a boost
Scholarships are not always easy to obtain. When a student earns a scholarship from a company or enterprise that’s highly respected, it’ll show their potential employers that they’ve put in the work and are worthy candidates.
5. It’s a great self-esteem booster
Being selected for a scholarship is a great self-esteem booster. As mentioned above, scholarships are rarely easy to obtain, and the amount of paperwork required to earn a scholarship can be overwhelming, so it’s a great feeling when a student gets rewarded for their hard work.
How to find a suitable scholarship for you
Now that you know all the benefits of getting a scholarship, it’s time to find a suitable one for you. Here are some things you can do:
1. Start early
Most students think that university scholarship applications should only happen when they’re in their final year of high school. However, experts have said that it could be helpful for students to start even earlier and research potential scholarships before their senior year in school.
By starting early, students get a head start and will know what to do when applications finally open.
2. Search for local scholarships
Local scholarships generally have a smaller pool of applicants, making winning them easier. Students can look for scholarships on sites like Chegg and FastWeb in the U.S.. Alternatively, look for local scholarships by searching specifically for scholarships in your area.
3. Follow your favorites companies
Major technology companies like Google and Facebook have scholarship programs that benefit students and allow them to get to know their employees. This is an excellent opportunity for students to network and ask questions they usually wouldn’t have been able to.
Oftentimes, these scholarships are announced on social media, so it’s worth following them on these platforms or signing up for their newsletters.
If you’re currently in the process of looking for a scholarship, you might already be feeling stressed and concerned about the future. If you start feeling overwhelmed and worried, feel free to reach out for support from your parents and friends. Alternatively, take a break from scholarship applications once in a while so you can center yourself and remind yourself of why you’re applying for them in the first place.
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