My Experience with Scholarships
Hi there philomaths!
I hope you are finding the month of June to be inspiring, motivating, and fun! Financial aid is still being set, and there are always opportunities for scholarships year-round. But, most of them are probably sought during the summer. So, I wanted to share my experiences with scholarships so you can determine whether scholarships are right for you or maybe it will help you decide if you are interested in pursuing them or not. I think there are mixed views on scholarships, generally speaking.
~Let’s get started~
I anticipated making some scholarship money this summer in hopes that I could try to fast track my college experience by a semester or two if possible. To attempt this goal, I decided to apply for various scholarships so I could get enough to pay for all courses and living expenses or only pay for tuition at the very minimum. The outcome was not what I expected.
To begin this scholarship journey, I first asked a financial aid advisor the best way to obtain third party scholarships (not offered by the University or listed on the university’s website), and I was given a few sites to visit. From here, I made a few accounts and several scholarship opportunities were generated for me based on my profile information and specific circumstance.
One website I visited was Fastweb. This site tailors different scholarships for you that can be used to pay for your tuition costs. The other website I was given, College Board, offered additional scholarships, but I did not delve into this one further for reasons I will explain later. A third option for scholarships is through your institution (if your particular institution offers them).
On Fastweb, I had about 20 or more generated scholarship possibilities in my account when I first opened my profile, and this increased as more were posted and available with varying deadlines. More than 70% were no-essay scholarships, which was super helpful based on time. A few of them required a short 200 character paragraph, which was also not bad. And, 1 or 2 were full essay scholarships. I started on one essay scholarship but did not finish this one by the deadline for various personal reasons.
I would say 90% of the scholarships I finished were no essays. However, many of these no-essay scholarships, in return, require you to offer your email address before you can submit or receive the reward (and be entered into the pool of applicants). Unfortunately, this resulted in a TON of emails flooding my inbox. I racked up a total of 350 emails by the end of last semester, and I would say approximately one-fifth (70) of these emails were essay related!
I am trying to minimize my time on devices, and this was giving me more to do. On top of this time consuming task, I was not awarded one scholarship out of the 15-20 I applied. Since my email was already bombarded with many incoming messages about scholarships that I was not winning, I decided this is not worth it for me. Honestly, I found it a little discouraging, but everything happens for a reason. So, I may not have been destined to receive scholarship money. Also, I may have to apply for 100 or 200 scholarships before winning only 1. Though, again, this seems to cost more time than I have to put toward winning scholarship money.
Another concern is I may disrupt the amount of money I receive from financial aid if winning a scholarship and was worried I might lose some of my tuition coverage. This is another aspect to consider when applying for scholarships as well, so consider this possibility also and ask your financial aid advisor about how scholarships can affect your aid.
Keep in mind, this is my experience. You may have a completely different experience and win half of the scholarships that you apply. It doesn’t hurt to try. If you decide to apply for scholarships, I would begin with 20. And, if you want to go further and reach a goal of 50 or 100 to give it more of a fair attempt, feel free to at least try. I have linked two of the scholarship websites I was given above and will be linked here: Fastweb and College Board.
I hope this gave you some leads into scholarships or helped you make a decision based on my experience. Let me know what you decide in the comments. Also, please leave your experience in the comments as well if you have attempted to receive scholarship money. Have you won a scholarship? If so, which one did you win?