Fear Not: The Money

Fact: Study abroad is expensive.

Opinion: That’s probably why so many students – interested or not – pass on it.

Fact: There are a ton of scholarships out there that can get you on the next flight out.

Embarrassing admission: I’ve never gone for any of those scholarships m’self, but let’s take a look at your options, shall we?

At the risk of looking lazy, I’ll post a link here to a specific page on OU’s Education Abroad website. It presents a list of study abroad scholarships, so take a look there and see if anything catches your eye.

The main issue, I think, is anything but a lack of options, as scholarships abound for the student who takes time to find them. That’s discounting the number of scholarships that are strictly need-based, of course, but there’s a big number of opportunities out there for every section of the economic spectrum.

No, the real problem is this: attitude. I don’t claim to speak for every student at OU, but I can imagine a majority of them going about their business and never really paying mind to the scholarships just waiting to be snatched up. You might think “Oh, I would never win one,” and then prove exactly that by sitting on your hands. You might even think “Oh, I’ll apply for them later, I have too much stuff to do on my plate right now” and then prove the exact opposite when the rest of your college career passes by and you’ve not sought out a single one (speaking from experience here!).

Retrospect, however, has afforded a simple conclusion: do it. That’s the same message I threw out back at the start there, and yet here again it’s the best advice anyone could offer a student who wants some extra cash. You’ll find that quite a few of those scholarships ask for little more than an essay, for one, a problem easily solved for even the least confident of writers. Not so good with grammar? Write up what you want to say and take it to the Writing Center here at OU. Or, as most of my friends do, befriend a language snob and let them rip into it.

Talk about it with your teachers, even, if you feel your argument doesn’t carry enough weight. And ask your advisor! A Q&A session with my own revealed a surprising piece of information: many of the smaller scholarships you’ll find on campus receive only a handful of entries. Some never receive any at all, meaning the cash prize that could be yours never makes it out of the gate.

You might be surprised too to see that most of the essays have a max word count of 250-500 words, which is just enough to speak your mind without having to drag in an obscene amount of research. You’ve been writing essays of every shape and size ever since you started college, so why not apply those skills when there’s the possibility of a cash prize?

All of this is, by nature, easier said than done. But you can’t imagine how often I kicked myself when I came back from traveling this summer and realized that a $1000 scholarship could have extended my stay for at least a few weeks longer. It’s one of those things that never clicks until you’re applying for a program and realizing your bank account is looking a little thin, but that’s all the reason more to get your butt in gear and start shopping around for scholarships.

Do it. Not to repeat myself, but study abroad is one of the most important things you can do with your time at OU, and applying for scholarships to ease the transition goes hand in hand with that. It’s not a hard process, and there are a ton of scholarships out there just waiting to be noticed, so why not give it a shot? Extra money is never a bad thing.

Trackback URL

, , , ,

No Comments on "Fear Not: The Money"

  1. "from my eyes' view"
    24/11/2009 at 11:08 pm Permalink

    This blog post is very, very true. Okay, so there might be work such as researching available money, writing essays, calculating a financial analysis on how you’ll use the money, what service projects you’re perform to publicize the organization when you return home and so forth. But, this is great preparation when you work for future employers on how to research products, write and create financial statements, market a product or cause, or to write. You can never get enough practice on how to write and employers will love it when you can.

    I recieved almost $5000 from both OU and from a federal scholarship to help with my travel, housing, and other study abroad-related costs. I am glad I put the investment in the scholarship programs and hope that when I return, I can prove to those who gave me the money and those interested in receiving the same amount of money that it was worth every cent of this experience.

    If you want to see for yourself how this money has helped my current study abroad experience, check out my Facebook fan page: http://bit.ly/FeW3E .


  1. apply for scholarships 07/12/2009 at 9:04 pm

    apply for scholarships... Great Post!...

Hi Stranger, leave a comment:


<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to Comments
Skip to toolbar