Scholarships at university seem to be a strange area of the university experience, because it seems to be mystical and filled with myths that put students off them. Personally I love them and in this blog post I’ll be dispelling the myths and giving you a few unofficial hints about how to find them.
What Are Scholarships At University?
Simply put, scholarships are schemes designed by the university to give certain people something that benefits them in exchange for something that benefits the university.
Well, that was as clear as mud.
A better explanation would be through my university I have the Student Ambassador Scholarship meaning the university gives me £1,000 ($1,500) per academic year for the course of my degree in exchange for me working 200 hours for them where I represent them and help out at events. Alternatively, my supervisor’s scholarship, covers his tuition and pays an extra stipend in return for working hours. So, they come in all shapes and sizes.
There are more benefits to me than just the money, but personally that is what I focus on. The great thing about scholarships is that the money, at least for the vast majority of scholarships, is not a loan. They’re grants. Meaning that money is yours and you don’t need to repay it.
Therefore, as you can see, scholarships are generally great because they help you as much, if not more than the university itself. So it is a win-win for everyone.
In addition, universities have a wide range of scholarships for different people. For example, I seem to remember a lot of sport scholarships at my university (I was never going to apply for them!), academic-based ones and then there were scholarships for ethnic minority students.
Personally my biggest tip when it comes to universities and scholarships is, make sure you look at what your university offers. I’m really glad that I looked at the Student Ambassador one because I get a good amount of money, I get to meet and work with great people and I get a lot of other skills that I wouldn’t get otherwise. It can often be these skills which really develop you as an individual and therefore make it worth your while. Beyond these skills you develop, and the money you earn, having a scholarship to your name may show future employers just how valuable you are.
So definitely look at them when you have made your choices about universities.
What Are The Downsides Of Scholarships?
As always I like to give you the full picture when it comes to university so we need to talk about the downsides of scholarships. Since I know that is what some of you are wondering.
And to be honest, there are no downsides.
I’ve had my Student Ambassador scholarship for three years now, even though it’s on pause whilst I’m on my placement, and there isn’t a single thing I can complain about (and before you ask, no I’m not hiding anything out of fear of losing my scholarship). Sure there has been the odd moment of stress and lots of funny stories, but nothing bad.
Then I have spoken to other people too with different scholarships and they have nothing to complain about either.
So the real question is simple: are there any downsides to applying?
It might take you a bit of time to fill out the application form and do whatever is needed for the application process. But the only thing stopping you from applying and taking a chance is you.
When I applied for my student ambassador scholarship, I was nervous, concerned and I even missed the first interview, because I got lost walking from the train station. I think I ended up in some remote village on the outskirt of Canterbury.
My point is, you need to try. You need to apply for some scholarships because you never know what will happen and what it will give you.
Take it from me. Scholarships are worth it.
Some may be concerned about the time-demands, but, I believe the benefit of being actively involved within the university helps to provide you with so many skills and opportunities that it is easily worth it!
How To Find University Scholarships?
As scholarships can be great attractions for certain types of students, universities tend to make it easy to find. Therefore, if you just look on the university website you should be able to find them. As well as a quick google search of “INSERT UNIVERSITY NAME scholarships” that should bring up what you’re looking for.
A university will also most likely offer some contact information of people who can help you find something suitable and personalised to you.
After looking at all of this, are scholarships a good idea for university students?
Not only because of the extra money the scholarship might give you, but because of the extra opportunities it might provide. You might get to meet amazing new people, learn new valuable skills and do things you never thought you would.
But you need to put yourself out there and enjoy looking for them. Scholarships aren’t hard to find, and yes some of them will not be right for you, but others might be. So please, have a look, apply for some and just see where they take you.
You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.