What Exactly is a Scholarship?

A scholarship, essentially, is credit given by a college or charity to a student so that they can further their education with the backing of the university. Traditionally, this means that the students financial burdens are lifted completely or partially by the college itself. Students usually must seek these scholarships out by applying specifically for certain slots; the university then reviews all the applications and awards the scholarship to the student that they feel is most deserving of it. Some scholarships may seem weird to you while others are more academic.

The idea behind scholarships is a ‘diamond in the rough’ sort of concept. In the most dramatic of cases, to break a cycle of poverty for a person who is capable of reaching higher than the position they are born into. The idea is to find the hidden scholar, the genius hiding in plain sight. Educational institutions wouldn’t want to discourage anybody with potential or excessive talent from attending their college simply due to lack of financial resources.Charities, when their assertion includes a group of people, wish to help those people as much as possible. That includes providing and curating as many opportunities as possible.

Universities are highly selective with whom they grant scholarships to, and many factors are at play in the final decision. The applicant’s own financial situation, academic record, and cultural background are often key contributors. For instance, say that there are two contenders for a specific scholarship at a private university, Barney and Jim. Assuming both have more or less the same academic attributes and solid records, colleges will have to weigh different things about each one to figure out who the scholarship would benefit more.

Barney’s application states that he comes from a family of five, with only one working parent- meanwhile Jim has two working parents, and is an only child. Easily, it would be obvious that Barney would need more financial support than Jim would, so the university would award Barney the scholarship. But not all scholarships are as basic. Some are specific, and seek out specific types of people to support. Common types are: performing arts, academic merit, athletic, and transfer. For example, many colleges in the United States offer athletic scholarships; they are aimed at helping underprivileged aspiring athletes, and are very competitive. Money for University scholarships comes from a mix of taxes, and government loans.

Charities, however, have very specific standards for who they decide to grant their financial aid. Usually those depend on the general function of the charity itself- much like the “Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation” scholarship for King University. The charity asks for devout young Christian women, and the organization’s overall mission statement supplicates that it focuses on supporting Christian women in need. Money for these types of scholarships usually is taken from pools of donations.

Aside from university and charity scholarships, there is also one that can be earned in high school. The prestigious National Merit Scholarship derives from an American high school student’s PSAT scores.

Scholarships are golden opportunities and are the key to unlocking a plethora of doors, financially and educationally. They are attainable for the best of the best, but also adjusted for those who are most in need of them.
When considering a college, seeing the scholarship options available is always a good first step.

This entry was posted in Blog on by .