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4 Reasons to Apply for Scholarships (Besides the Money)

Written by Miriam Valdes-Carletti
how to win scholarships

There’s no question that scholarships are great. After all, who doesn’t want free money? There are thousands of different scholarships available to you across Canada, most of which come with added benefits. But students tend to forget about these benefits and only think about the money as their sole reason to apply.

Curious to know what else a scholarship may offer you? Here are four personal and professional benefits:

1. Networking Opportunities/Mentoring

spider man homecoming GIF

So you’ve won a couple thousand dollars. Congratulations! Remember: Don’t thank the organization and walk away! Well, do thank them, but stay connected. More often than not, these benefactors want to help you and your career. Scholarships offer an opportunity to meet with leaders in your field, receive mentorship, and make connections.

Many scholarships are funded by companies or individuals who want to make a difference in students’ lives. Take the opportunity to go out for coffee and learn more about these people and visit their workplace. Don’t feel shy about asking them how you can further help each other.  Best case scenario, it could one lead to a job. And at the very least, a reference letter.

2. Showcase Your Skills

leaning spider man GIF by Spider-Man: Homecoming

MYTH: All scholarships are based on your grades. TRUTH: False! There are many scholarships that are based on leadership experience, being involved on campus, or submitting a media project. If you receive an award based on something you’ve submitted, use that to your benefit and show it off on your resume or during a job interview. An award is legitimate proof that you’ve got well-developed skills.

It’s one thing to think you’re great at something—but to have an actual award from an outside organization (check out 5 places where you can find scholarships + awards) that verifies your skills? That’s credibility you can’t buy.

3. Personal Branding & Promotion

When you apply for a scholarship, it helps to be your own cheerleader. You also do this in job interviews, singing your praises and highlighting your best qualities. Sometimes you need to sit down and think about what makes you so special and why a company should hire you.

This is exactly what you’re doing when submitting a scholarship application—hyping yourself up so that a committee will select you. After submitting multiple scholarships applications, you’ll know yourself a lot better. And knowing what makes you special and knowing what makes you stand out will flow off the tip of your tongue.

4. Practice Writing Winning Cover Letters

tom holland applause GIF by Spider-Man: Homecoming

When you’re writing a scholarship essay, you’re trying to sell yourself. It’s the same concept as writing a cover letter for a job you’re applying to. A scholarship essay has a beginning, middle, and an end. You need facts and maybe even some research. Last but not least, you need a narrative. All these little things that you may not be thinking about are the same things that you do when writing a cover letter.

Writing a cover letter can take a lot of time and a lot of energy. So, if you can nail down the formula it’ll be a lot easier for you when it comes applying to jobs.

Still think scholarships are just about the money? During my time in university, I applied for 3-4 scholarships a year. And now that I’ve graduated, I’m already feeling the benefits of the experience in my career.

And while all the reasons to apply for scholarships are great—don’t forget about the money. It’s a pretty decent bonus, if you ask me.

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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.