Scholarship Organizations Are Doing It Wrong
Start writing a post
Student Life

Scholarship Organizations Are Doing It Wrong

Why applying for scholarships may be more limiting to students.

Scholarship Organizations Are Doing It Wrong

Scholarships. Quite possibly the best thing a high school senior or college student can receive at this point in their life. Who doesn't want their post-secondary education paid for by generous community donors? The people of the organizations who hand out scholarships to qualified students deserve so much thanks and appreciation for what they do. Often times, these scholarship opportunities are the driving force that makes higher education accessible to low-income students, and that's beyond amazing.

However, being someone who has applied to more local and national scholarships than I can count on two hands, I've discovered a flaw in applying for these scholarships. The way that these applications are structured and the standards, both explicit and implicit, that many scholarship organizations put on students have recently revealed itself to be unhelpful to me. We as students feel the expectation of having to primp and polish our grades, test scores, and entire resume in order to present the best version of ourselves to the scholarship judges. In addition to this stress, we must also respond to different variations of one daunting question: "what plans do you have for your future?" Young students, especially those in high school who have yet to even experience work or college, are pushed by this question to think far forward and declare a definitive plan for themselves. Yes, sometimes it may be helpful in thinking about what direction one is headed. But, in many cases (i.e. me), this question asked and answered at such an early and turbulent point in a young person's life can be very limiting.

Developing a good-enough answer to this one scholarship question and being able to confidently recite my answer upon request as a rising college student narrowed my career options. I'd tell myself and the scholarship committees that I want to become certified in secondary education, become a teacher, then continue on to work on public policy concerning the school system. Seemed great. However, the constant repetition of the plans that high-school-junior-me thought up blinded me to the realization that these future plans may not even be exactly what I want to pursue as a college student. On top of that, these career goals that I chose to stick with were so heavily dependent on how others (i.e. the scholarship committees) viewed me.

So now, after having convinced myself for almost two full semesters in college that the future goals I've chosen are the right ones for me, I'm more confused than ever. Yes, I'd love to do something in the world of education. However, if I'm being completely honest with myself and not basing my path on outside factors, working as a certified teacher at a public high school isn't exactly the direction I'd like to see my life going. The academic major and programs that high-school-me thought I'd be going into aren't exactly what I want to continue doing with my time here in college. Personally, I'm still trying to figure it out.

I'm writing here, though, to make an important point: please, don't ask a high school student / prospective college student what exactly they want to do in the future with the intent of judging that career choice. Yes, urge them to consider the future. But also, listen to their plans openly and understand that the goals they think up are completely flexible. And if you're a student yourself, remember, despite what may be written in your scholarship applications or said for the approval of others, stay true to your authentic self and work towards who you aspire to be.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments