applying for scholarships

Applying for Scholarships: How Not to Get Discouraged

By Blanka Stepankova

Applying for scholarships can be an arduous and sometimes disappointing process. Here are some common scenarios you may find yourself in and ways to stay positive.

Take the Chance

Someone has to win after all! You have nothing to lose by applying and putting your best out there. Even if you don’t win, the experience of improving your writing skills will help you in the future and prove to be invaluable.

In the wise words of Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Take some shots!

The Odds: Are They in Your Favour?

Many times, the size and geographical criteria of the scholarship can be a way to analyze the amount of your potential competition. However, even though some scholarships may be large, that doesn’t mean they are always very well-known. This is where research and stumbling upon a scholarship that you or your friends have never heard of can be intriguing (make sure it is legit though, of course).

Through research I’ve been able to find a few small and a couple large scholarships, some of which I could apply to and some that I couldn’t. The Internet is a vast place, but people in your community probably know of some opportunities too. Don’t hesitate to ask and seek them out!

So…I Didn’t Win…

I hear you. Personally, I’ve experienced feeling confident in my application, yet I never heard anything back weeks, or even months after hitting ‘submit’. While this aspect is often very discouraging because of the effort and time you put into the application, your efforts are not without any benefit.

Here’s what I mean: have you noticed that many scholarships have similar questions to answer, and a lot of their topics and criteria overlap, too? That means you can often reuse parts of your past applications on future ones. This is extremely useful as not only can you save time, but your past writing can give you a framework for new ideas to stem from, and before you know it, BOOM: new application completed.

All of this is to say that being hesitant when applying, wondering about odds, and feeling discouraged sometimes when it comes to scholarships is totally normal. Remember though, that if everyone told themselves they couldn’t do it and didn’t apply, no one would ever win. And if you do end up not winning: hey, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve had my fair share of ice-cream-filled sad Netflix evenings, too.

Just don’t beat yourself up about past losses and instead fuel your emotions into searching for new opportunities. Trying and not winning, but learning, is always much better than simply chucking the opportunity out the window without a second thought.