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Don't Let the Small Scholarships Get Away 

Monday, October 15, 2007

We did a survey a while back about the smallest scholarship amount that our users would apply for. What we found surprised us a little. More than a quarter of respondents wouldn't apply for a scholarship worth less than $5,000, and more than two-thirds wouldn't apply for a scholarship worth only $100.

Hey, we hope you all win your share of $5,000+ scholarships. We, at, chipped in, offering own $10,000 scholarship. Unfortunately, there aren't as many of those out there as we'd like to see. So why turn your nose up at that $100 book scholarship?

First off, any money you win in scholarships likely means less money you have to take out in education loans or pay out of pocket for college. Sure, it can be a lot of work to apply for a scholarship. Let's break it down, though. Let's say you spend 5 hours to apply for a $500 scholarship. If you win, that equates to $100 an hour. I doubt you'd be able to find a job that pays you $100 an hour... especially if you don't have a college degree. Spending 5 hours to win $100 is still a good deal (that's $20 an hour).

Secondly, the smaller scholarships tend to be much less competitive. Just like you, most high school students are enamored with the idea of winning one big $10,000 scholarship, often neglecting to apply for that $100 scholarship. We wanted to find out for ourselves just how competitive some of the large national scholarships are... so we called one up and asked. The Coca Cola Scholars Foundation awards 250 scholarships every year and each award ranges from $10,000 to $20,000. In total, they are giving away $3 million this year in scholarships. Don't get me wrong... that's a lot of money. However, they told us they receive over 100,000 applicants a year, meaning that fewer than 1 in 400 applicants actually wins a Coca Cola Scholarship. That's 0.25 percent of applicants. Compare that with Harvard, which received 22,955 applicants for its Class of 2011 and accepted 2,058, just under 9 percent.

Finally, winning a scholarship isn't just about the money. It's a great achievement and looks really good on your resume. This is especially true when you apply for that internship after your freshman year and are a little short on work experience. When you win a scholarship, the scholarship committee is identifying you as a student with promise. Organizations want to give their money to students who will take advantage of the opportunities that come with the entire college experience.

We're not saying you shouldn't go for that Coca Cola Scholars Award. You should if you believe you have a shot at it. Just don't miss your chance to scoop up those $100, $250, and $500 scholarships along the way.

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Anonymous Anonymous   April 7, 2012 at 11:13 PM

I would like to offer a few small book scholarships but I am a new start up non-profit with no donations. I am afraid of offending someone to offer a small book scholarship.

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