Tips & Resources

Tough Truths Scholarship Applicants Should Know

December 23, 2019

A scholarship might seem like the perfect option for you to get financial support in the here and now, but it’s important to consider the impact it has beyond the immediate benefits.

Going into the next leg of your education, it might feel like you’ve got limitless possibilities ahead of you—and to some extent, it’s true. But it’s also important to know that the choices you make now will help to determine the path your future follows.

One such choice that will have an impact on your tomorrow has to do with getting a scholarship. Whether you should apply or not, and which scholarships are a good fit for you. Like it or not, your answers to these questions will determine the trajectory of your career.

With that said, here are some important considerations that every scholarship applicant should be aware of to help you make a more informed decision.

1. It comes with some sacrifice

The truth is, scholarships simply aren’t for everyone. As much as the financial benefits and early boost to your career development can help those who have a strong idea of what they want to do, it does come with some sacrifices. One example is that you won’t have the option of changing courses in university should you realise that the course you picked isn’t actually a good fit for you. With some providers, you might not even be able to pick up certain electives that are totally unrelated to your industry.

Another point to consider is that most scholarship providers have their scholars intern in different departments within the organisation to get a taste of the different functions within the company. This is undoubtedly a wonderful learning experience, but it does mean that you won’t be able to enjoy your holidays in your final years of tertiary education before joining the workforce full-time.

For scholarships with bonds, you’ll also have to consider that you’ll be bonded to the organisation upon your graduation. The guarantee of a career with good prospects is great, but it also means you might find yourself stuck in a job you’re no longer interested in.

2. The impact is bigger than you think

You might think that there’s plenty of time to figure out what you really want after you’ve served your bond. But consider that you’re probably going to be in your late 20s or early 30s after finishing your studies and riding out your bond contract. At that point in your life, you might find your focus shifting towards other important things, like building a family, supporting your parents, or paying off housing and car loans, all of which can make a job transition more challenging.

Perhaps you feel that as a scholar, employers will have a stronger impression of your capabilities and this will make any future job hunts easier. While this might be true for some employers, it’s also important to consider that you might find yourself at a very different stage of life, where the risk of a mid-career switch can seem a lot more daunting.

3. It’s okay to fail

Don’t go into the scholarship application process assuming you’re sure to get your dream scholarship, but don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying to begin with. Just because you didn’t get a scholarship offer doesn’t mean you’re not capable – it could simply be that the organisation felt another candidate was a better fit for them. Widen your search by looking at other companies in the same industry that you want to build your career in, and send out multiple applications to increase your chances of success. Remember, the only time you’re guaranteed to fail is if you don’t try at all.

4. You need to really know yourself

With all these things to consider, perhaps you’re wondering if scholarships are such a good idea after all. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single right answer that applies to everyone. That’s why we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to spend time reflecting on what you want in the future.

Consider how certain you are that the industry you’re trying to break into is the one for you, and how a scholarship fits into the future you envision for yourself. Getting a scholarship will certainly open many doors, but it will also have an impact on your career. That’s why it’s important that you come to your own conclusion if the scholarship route is the right choice for you.

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