“A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.”
- Lao Tzu
We’ve heard of them. We look up to them in utter amazement of their brilliance and personal struggles in their attempt to achieve their pursuits. We so admire them in fact that ABC even decided to create a reality-based television series showcasing them, their intellectual prowess and impressive academic achievements.
So - if scholars are considered to be ‘the cream of the crop’ and ‘the best of the best’, does this mean that scholarships are only open to ‘nearly perfect’ human beings?
Let me explain.
First off, a scholarship is defined as “an award of access to an institution or a financial aid award for an individual (a “scholar”) for the purposes of furthering their education. A scholarship may be awarded based on range of criteria, which usually reflect the views or purposes of the donor or founder of the award.” (* taken from Wikipedia)
Scholarships are not easy to come by. As the above definition stated, scholarships require funding from an external body separate from the would-be student - so of course it’s going to be difficult. Handing out money to the would-be scholar is an investment; thus, external bodies want to make sure they get their money’s worth. Students given the endowment must be - in a sense - deemed ‘worthy’ of funding.
But, as I’ve also expressed - scholarships are not only given to the extremely athletic, awe-inspiringly artistic or jaw-droppingly intelligent.
There are three primary types of scholarships :
(* taken from Wikipedia)
1. Merit-based - financial aid for which financial need is not used to determine the recipient. The recipient may be determined by students’ athletic, academic, artistic or other abilities. The actual monetary value of the scholarship may be negligible, the scholarship being meant to motivate the student and promote the study of the subject. However, this is not always the case and the largest scholarships are almost always merit-based.
2. Need-based - financial aid for which the student and family’s financial situation is a primary factor in determining the recipient. Usually such scholarship will cover all or part of the tuition and may even cover living-costs. Very often even need-based private scholarships require the awardees to be distinguished students, as the deed founding the award may include a phrase like: “for the studies of founder’s favourite subject in founder’s favourite institution of higher education for a talented youths of limited means from founder’s home town/county/state etc.“
3. Ethnicity-based - financial aid where applicants must initially qualify by race, religion, or national origin. After filtering the applicants based on their ethnicity, additional factors are taken into consideration to determine the final recipients.
Though scholarships are hard to come by - they are not impossible.
What many forget to do in their wanting to obtain a scholarship is to ask for it, thinking that there is no possible way for them to achieve it.
But, just like anything of value in life, what is required of us in garnering a scholarship are five essential traits - positivity, passion, perseverance, determination and (what so many disregard and/or lack) resourcefulness.
There are several ways of obtaining scholarships in the United States - through work, labor unions, church, Chamber of Commerce, volunteer organizations (such as Rotary International) or even through the student’s university or school of choice.
About the Author: Graduating in 2004 from Ateneo de Manila with a major in AB Communication and a minor in AB History, Nikki Alfonso lives for the written word. Her passion for writing began with a poem she composed about an elephant and a red rubber ball when she was 7 years old. From then on, she became fixated with words, using them to move readers, to expressively get her message across and to make up stories with her friends about imaginary rendezvous with matinee idols and boy bands. She had her first taste of being a salaried writer in January 2004 when she began writing for Eversun Software Corporation. Prompted by the need to find a job after graduation, her love of putting pen to paper and entertainment, she decided to take on a full-time job in television as a creative staff member and writer wherein she would be paid for daydreaming and telling stories. Wanting to give back to a cause close to her heart, she also writes for JADE -- an online magazine seeking to showcase English-speaking Asian women as intelligent and well-accomplished movers and shakers in their respective fields. Nikki believes that in order for one to be truly called a writer, the ability to empathize and the potency to create with heart are pre-requisites. Flunk in those departments and you don't get a diploma.
Check out her Studying Abroad blog.