Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What Is the Difference Between a Fellowship and a Scholarship?
A fellowship is often used interchangeably with a scholarship but has a different meaning. The word scholarship always implies financial aid. So if you get a scholarship your tuition and/or living expenses will be provided for, to greater or lesser degrees. But no such provision is provided with a fellowship. The fellowship only allows for a certain position, and that’s it. It is often granted by more prestigious universities. This is why people apply for fellowships, as the indirect benefits of being a ‘fellow’ at Cambridge or Harvard are worth the financial costs. The networking opportunities are huge and the research facilities are excellent.
What Is the Difference Between a Grant and a Scholarship?
Grants and scholarships are technically both ‘gift aids’. This is the legal definition for tax purposes. Financial compensation is given without having to be repaid (though there are often some terms and conditions attached). However, the similarities end there. A grant is given based on financial need. Universities will often give grants to people from underprivileged communities or perhaps those suffering from a disease. A grant will often take into consideration the cost of the degree along with the earning power of your parents. In contrast, a scholarship will often only be granted on merit, when you achieve excellent results or achievements.
Should I Apply for a Grant, Fellowship, or Scholarship?
It depends on your unique situation and what you are looking for. The best advice is to investigate all three after drilling down on your specific field and area. There are many competitions and grant programs available outside of the university field that you can apply for. Make a spreadsheet of grants, fellowships, and scholarships available in your field (economics, finance, technology, etc). The more specific your niche and the more focused you are, the better your chances of success. Many scholarships and grants will not cover the full tuition.
What Are the Common Requirements for a Scholarship?
There is great variance depending on what scholarship you are going for. However, business scholarships do exhibit certain patterns. You will need to maintain an average of 3.0 GPA minimum to qualify. On top of this, you need to submit an essay on a specific topic. You need a strong case as to why you should qualify, and one or two letters of recommendation are always a good choice. Even if the letters of recommendation are not required, it helps to submit them. Financial need is also taken into account. Ideally, you would be an exceptional student that simply cannot afford university as it is. If you can easily afford a scholarship, then you are unlikely to gain a scholarship.
What Is the Typical Cost of Study in the USA?
According to Statistica, the average cost to attend a 4-year university course in the USA is $18,000 (in-state), $31,000 (out of state), and $40,000 (for private universities). But it also depends on where you attend and what kind, of course, you are pursuing. The best business schools in the USA include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Stanford, the University of Berkeley California, and the University of Michigan. To attend them the costs can be quite expensive, around double the average. For an MBA in a top business school, you can expect to pay around $150,000 a year. This is why scholarships are grants are an absolute necessity for most seeking to apply. You really have to consider whether it is worth the money because, at the end of the day, it’s an investment.
What Are the Factors I Should Consider When Applying for a Business Scholarship?
Put yourself in the shoes of the panel judging the application. They are looking for bright, eager, motivated students who are seeking to change the existing system with new ideas at a good university. Your application has to stand out to succeed. At the same time, you need to do your homework, and consider that the competition will be tough to beat. Have letters of recommendation from people outside the family and make sure your essay is unique to the school of application, and not just copy and paste. You can use a similar structure but the essay itself has to be tweaked towards the institution. It is a myth that scholarships are awarded on grades alone. Beat the average and then stand out with cover letters and a great essay.
What Are the Advantages of a Scholarship?
A scholarship is a competition. You are up against many applicants and have to convince a panel of judges that you are worthy of the ‘job’. If you win, you get free or partially paid tuition at the university. Of course, there are many non-financial incentives for a scholarship. You are practicing your skills at writing applications and cover letters, which is always useful. And what you are really doing is honing your marketing skills, and they are really useful. You are always going to be marketing yourself and your story, regardless of the context. Applying for scholarships is a great way to increase your skills. You also get opportunities to network and promote the fact that you won a scholarship. In itself, winning a scholarship shows that you are focused and skilled.
How Can I Write a Good Essay?
There is no single formula for writing a scholarship essay. But there are most certainly elements that you will need to include. At the very minimum, your essay needs to be submitted on time, without errors, and adhere to the word count and general format. You need to mention your past achievements, particularly what you have done that has benefited the community (judges nearly always favor applicants with a broader focus on their ambitions). You then need to tie in why you are such a good fit for the university of application and what you can contribute. Promote the university (subtly) in your essay and why you want to get into this particular institution instead of the competitors.
What Is the Difference Between a Full Ride and a Full-Tuition Scholarship?
Scholarships will often cover tuition costs (the costs of attending directly). But there are many other costs of attending university. You need to buy a laptop, pay rent, pay for transport and insurance, eat, socialize, etc. This is known as the full Cost of Attendance (‘COA’). The full-ride scholarship will pay for all of this. You may even get a laptop. Full ride scholarships are exceedingly rare. One example of a full-ride scholarship is the University of Virginia Jefferson Scholars Foundation. This award covers the entire COA for four years at the University. Tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, and personal expenses. It also pays for extra enrichment experiences. The University of Oregon offers the Stamps Leadership Scholarship. It pays for tuition, room, and board plus up to $12,000 in enrichment funds for their four years at the university. The extra money may cover study abroad and unpaid internships.
What Is the Average Amount Granted by a Scholarship Program?
The majority of scholarships will pay for tuition only, and many times only partial tuition. Recent figures also show that only 0.2 percent of students got $25,000 or more in scholarships per year. And as seen by the table above, the average amount awarded from a scholarship is around $3000 per year. The bottom line is that scholarships are definitely worth aiming for, and will increase your skills. But you need to be above the rest and very organized in order to make it work for you.
How Many Scholarships Are Available in the US?
The National Center for Education Statistics reports there are 750,000 scholarships earmarked for qualified students, totaling $1.2 billion. Much of that money comes from Uncle Sam. In fact, nearly 40 percent of enrolled college kids receive free government money in the form of Pell Grants. However, as mentioned previously, very few scholarships are full-ride, and few will cover the full cost of tuition. So while they are available, you have to demonstrate why you deserve them and what makes you stand out.
My Scholarship Application Was Not Accepted. What Next?
The odds are always going to be against you, in any competition. Thankfully, there are a plethora of ways to avail of financial aid. There are many other grants and programs run by companies looking for new talent and young entrepreneurs with novel ideas for success. There are also Federal programs available. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an official form. Its purpose is to ask for federal, state, and school help in paying for college.
What Are the Most Common Scholarship Interview Questions?
There are many questions that can be asked in an interview for a scholarship. But the ones you need to be prepared for are simple and obvious. They include:
  • Can you tell us about yourself?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What are your greatest weaknesses?
  • Why did you choose this institution?
  • Why did you choose this particular scholarship?
  • Who has been a role model for you?
  • Have you ever done anything for the community?
  • Can you tell us about a mistake you made and how you resolved it?
  • Where do you picture yourself in 5 years?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?

About the Author

 Daniel Lewis

Daniel Lewis

MBA accredited investment professional

Daniel Lewis is an MBA accredited investment professional who wants to assist small business owners to gain access to finance.

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