Ask a Private Irvine College Admissions Consultant: I Can Afford College, Should I still Apply for a Scholarship?

Yes! Many students think of scholarships as a way to pay for a college education. Of course, this is true but they are worth so much more. Often, students who can afford to go to college don’t even think about applying for scholarships, but they’re missing out on a huge opportunity. In addition to financial aid and need-based scholarships, students can apply for prestigious merit scholarships that will keep their resume competitive for grad school or the workforce. Additionally, even students who can pay for college without any trouble can benefit from having a little bit of extra money to make their lifestyle easier.


1. Prestige

Merit-based scholarships can be extremely impressive on a student’s resume. Depending on what field students are planning on going into it might help them get a foot in the door in the job market. These types of scholarships will most certainly help out with a grad school resume and communicates to schools and employers that a student is really serious about their education (READ: “5 things you might not expect from college finals”).

2. Standing out from the crowd

These days it’s so important to appear unique to universities and celebrate academic diversity. There are so many small but valuable scholarships that focus on a particular field or topic. Winning these types of scholarships help a student stand out from the crowd and demonstrate how they’ll be able to contribute to a diverse university campus. Although merit scholarships are highly competitive, students can apply for as many of them as they would like. For the most part, students will fill out a basic application form about their personal information and write a short essay. In many cases, students can write just two or three essays and then mold them to fit the specific requirements of the application.

3. Networking

Applying for scholarships is also a great opportunity to practice networking. Students will need to ask teachers for recommendations and, in some cases, get to know the scholarship committee. These are all great resources for future academic endeavors. In some cases, students will even get to know their competition. Whether or not they ultimately win the scholarship, students will still have a chance to get to know some very bright peers and make connections for the future. The more intelligent and successful people a student knows, the more likely they will be to prosper in their career later on.

4. Extra money

Even if a student can pay their college tuition without any trouble, having extra money never hurts. Some merit-based scholarships are extremely generous, but most offer between $250 and $1,000. This is a pretty good deal for spending an hour or two working on an essay. $1,000 could easily pay for a student’s textbooks for a year or allow them the opportunity to accept a study abroad opportunity. Any extra money is extremely helpful once a student begins their college career (READ: “5 Things to do Before You Go Away to College”).

5. Experience

Filling out scholarship applications also provides students with valuable experience. The more essays a student writes, the more their writing and editing skills will develop. Additionally, students will get used to researching various opportunities and networking with like-minded individuals. Filling out scholarship applications is a lot like filling out job applications, which is a skill everybody can improve upon. The more positive experiences a student has overall, the better their overall education will become.

In short

Students who can pay for college don’t think about spending the time to apply for merit-based scholarships. Unfortunately, they’re missing out because they can benefit from more than just the cash they’ll receive. Students will also have the opportunity to improve their resume and stand out as a unique individual among their peers. Of course, a little extra money never hurts.

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