Editorial: Forfeiting scholarship opportunities is wasteful, irresponsible

Editorial Board

Most of us go through college with the goal of trying to keep our costs — and later debt — as low as possible. Many students use federal loans or grants to widdle down the overall cost of their college education, but scholarships are an equally viable way to lower costs.

Iowa State offers scholarships that are open to the entire university, not only incoming students. Students can also find scholarships specific to their major on their college’s website. Scholarship deadlines pop up quickly during the second semester, with many falling on or before March 1.

Students that choose to not take the opportunity to fill out applications for scholarships are cheating themselves out of a way to lower their future debt. There are the common excuses of “I never get any of the scholarships I apply for” or “It was only $100 so it wasn’t worth the time” which do little to mask the simple fact that you were not willing to take the time to fill out the application.

No scholarship is too small to not be worth a student’s time. Money of any amount is worth it when it means you don’t have to pay that money back in future years. Scholarship applications often require an essay, resume or cover letter; items that you will eventually need to master in order to get a job. Scholarship applications offer not only the chance for monetary gain, but the chance to update and further materials that will be used in job searches. Even if you do not find yourself on the receiving end of a scholarship award one year does not mean that you should stop trying.

Types of scholarships come in a wide range, and with research it is possible to find ones specific to your future career, ones that include other honors with the award and even some scholarships geared toward students with unpaid internships. Students that are resourceful have the potential for deducting huge portions from — if not completely eliminating — their costs for a semester or entire school year. 

To not even attempt to find scholarships beyond what is offered in student loan programs — which will still need to be repaid — is irresponsible and, quite frankly, lazy. Deciding on your own that there is no way you would ever be awarded a scholarship is also selling yourself and your talents short.

Researching scholarships and finding a friend or professor to go through your application take much less time than students think. Continuing to update your skills, resume and cover letters will also make applying for jobs easier down the road.

When it comes down to it, there is never a good excuse to forgo applying for scholarships. Students that complain of burdening debt, but then do nothing to improve their own financial circumstances, have only hindered themselves. There is always the chance that you will put in the work and not receive the financial award, but there is zero chance if you never apply.