When I started my scholarship journey, I was only looking for a way to pay for college without getting into serious debt or dragging the rest of my family into financial turmoil. That’s all that I wanted.
But 30 scholarships and over $200K later, I realized that there are so many other unexpected benefits to winning a scholarship.
So whether you need a scholarship or not to pay for college, I would still highly encourage you to apply! You have nothing to lose, but so many surprises to potentially gain.
Here are 5 unexpected benefits of winning a scholarship.
Did you know that some scholarships can also help arrange an internship for you?
During my freshman year in college, I applied for a scholarship through the Mildred Meyer Buck Scholarship.
It was a sizeable scholarship that totaled around $12,000 and is automatically renewable every year as long as I kept up a full course load and had a reasonable GPA.
But the real surprise I got was after I won the scholarship. I received an email notifying me that the scholarship program would like to help arrange an internship for me so I can gain more professional experience.
They promptly forwarded on a list of organizations that I could intern at and asked me to chose the ones that I was interested in.
And just like that, they helped me secure an internship with a local non-profit organization in Denver. Not only that, they paid for my transportation and other expenses.
So with one scholarship application, I got money for college, an internship of my choice, and I even got paid for it!
If you thought that setting up an internship for you was a sweet deal, some scholarships can do you one better and get a job lined up for you before you even graduate college.
While many of these scholarships are quite competitive, but if you know exactly what field or profession you would like to enter once you graduate then these scholarships can really help jumpstart your career.
Years ago, a much younger, starry-eyed me dreamed of becoming an American diplomat and I wanted to study abroad in China.
So my university directed me to the Boren Study Abroad scholarship, a program created by former Oklahoma Governor, David L. Boren, that helps students pay for overseas language study and in return can help you find a job in the federal government when you graduate.
This is a super cool opportunity for anyone that’s interested in studying a foreign language overseas and is interested in becoming a public servant.
Let’s be honest for a moment, our modern world is run by social media, and having a strong personal brand online can go a long way to helping you land your dream job.
That’s something that I didn’t fully appreciate until I graduated.
I didn’t realize that social media was no longer just for personal use. Before a job interview, employers are more and more likely to search for you online.
They might browse through your social media accounts, read through your Linkedin page, and comb through any press releases that have been written about you.
And thankfully for me, because of the types of scholarships I won, I had developed quite an online presence without putting in any additional work.
I was invited to speak at a variety of events to promote the scholarships I won, I was interviewed and featured on press releases, and even appeared on the homepage of my university.
Although having a strong media presence isn’t required for every job and industry, it generally can go a long way to helping you land your dream job.
So whether you plan to apply for scholarships or not, do consider building your own personal brand online.
As I mentioned earlier, when I started applying for scholarships, all I wanted was to be able to pay for college.
But I ended up winning so many scholarships that it surpassed the amount that I actually needed for college so what was leftover was returned to me in cash in what they call a “scholarship refund.”
These scholarship refunds became a hugely valuable educational fund for me.
It helped me cover my living expenses, pay for leadership programs, enabled me to travel around the world, and start up my first company before I even graduated college!
Often times there is so little human interaction during a scholarship application that it’s easy to forget that there is a whole network of people working behind the scenes to support the scholarship.
There is usually a scholarship committee, funders, partners, and a rich alumni network.
It is this scholarship network that has paid off dividends for both my academic and professional career. Staying in touch with scholarship alumni has helped me win additional scholarships including ones that weren’t advertised for the public.
It also helped me secure funding for my first company, develop long-term business partners, and win contracts that I would otherwise not have access to.
So there you have it, 5 unexpected benefits to winning a scholarship.
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to apply for scholarships, do it! If not for the money, do it for all these other unexpected benefits.
If you have any questions or would like to go into more depth about any of the things that I talked about, make sure you leave me a comment. I’ll make sure to get back to you as soon as possible!
See you next time! Cheers!