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February 26, 2011 / Brent Sears

Most Students Don’t Pay Attention to Scholarships

When it comes to scholarships most students don’t pay attention.  I didn’t know this when I started my scholarship search.  I figured that there must be these super-students on campus with 4.0 GPAs, student government experience, international travel, fluency in multiple languages, and Clay Shirky-level writing abilities.  I was just ordinary, even, dare I say it, BORING.

The truth is your competition isn’t that good, and 99.5% of students (this is a general calculation) don’t plan to win scholarships at all.  Some awards go unclaimed.  Yes, there are scholarships that are highly sought after, but even those can be cracked with enough time to prepare…but, even given the opportunity, most students won’t plan.

In 2009 I was invited by the dean of arts and sciences at my college to return to give a talk on winning national scholarships.  We planned it for an evening when most students didn’t have night classes, prepared marketing material well in advance, and selected a room in a great location on campus.  Out of a student body of over 6,200 students only 12 showed up.

Why so few?  Students have other things to do, and deep down many believe that the imaginary super-students are going to be there.  Instead of coming and putting an hour in to gain insight, they stay home.  Funny thing is that the ones who did show up later received awards.  One student even received a Fulbright Scholarship for a year in Spain.

I made myself available to anyone who asked, but most students don’t pay attention to the opportunities.  Keep you eyes open, and go to everything you can that deals with your major or college preparation, and you will be amazed at how quickly people will think of you as one of the super-students.

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2 Comments

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  1. DaniElizabeth / Feb 26 2011 22:12

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my posts and offer such incredible insight! I really enjoy reading what you have to say. I’ll take your advice and keep submitting my best work, and just hope for the best!

    • brentsears / Feb 26 2011 22:23

      I have met a lot of students and I am amazed at how many don’t think scholarships are possible for them. If you keep your eyes open, plan, and keep working at it you can make yourself into the best candidate. Most people just want scholarships to come instantly…use this experience to learn and you will most likely find more money in the future. Good luck!

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