Winning a scholarship can have a major impact on your educational and professional career, marking you as an outstanding candidate for advancement. Scholarships indicate that you are worthy of confidence and can be expected to perform well in competitive environments -- qualities that employers look for in a job prospect.
The first and most immediate benefit of a scholarship is economic -- receiving a cash award for your efforts reduces the pressure to maintain yourself while you dedicate your energies to study. Some scholarships can be quite large. For example, MacArthur Fellows receive $500,000 over five years. However, even smaller scholarships can be helpful.
Freedom to Study
The point of a scholarship is to allow students to focus on their studies rather than paying the bills. The U.S. Board of Labor Statistics reported in 2009 that 45 percent of college students have jobs while progressing through school, leaving less time for study. A scholarship can make it possible for you to concentrate on your first responsibility as a student, with a long-term payoff.
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Scholarships can have a snowball effect: If you can list a scholarship or two on your curriculum vitae, a term often used for academic resumes, you are more likely to win another when your CV is reviewed by a scholarship committee. Demonstrating that another committee found your application worthwhile reinforces the quality of your scholarship application.
Translating that CV into an employment resume is the end goal of your education, and having a few scholarships on the resume can make a big difference with a potential employer. The size of the scholarship really does not matter. If you can demonstrate that you have achieved excellence and stood out from other students, your resume will stand out as well.
On a more personal level, a scholarship can reinforce your self-confidence and give you greater powers of resilience. You may not be able to win every scholarship you apply for, nor will you get an offer of employment for every position you seek, but a scholarship is a concrete way of demonstrating that you are a valuable commodity. If you did not succeed this time, you're likely to succeed in the future.
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