Book money, travel expenses, cost of living – when you think of a scholarship, everyone thinks of financial support. Scholarship programs for schoolchildren, students and doctoral candidates offer much more: Scholarship holders have an advantage thanks to additional educational opportunities and a close network. And a scholarship also brings a lot professionally.
Of course, anyone who types in the keyword scholarship on Google for the first time is doing it because they need money: for a student exchange, for studying in another city, for the semester abroad in Australia or for the doctoral thesis, besides hardly any more time to earn money remains.
Financial support is an essential component of a scholarship: it is intended to make life and career a little easier for the scholarship holders who deserve and / or need it. That is why there are monthly payments for the cost of living (at the gifted support organizations, for example, up to 735 euros basic scholarship for students / as of May 2017), as well as grants for books, health and long-term care insurance or childcare.
Other foundations pay for larger purchases, the printing of the dissertation or travel to and from the university when studying abroad. Many scholarship holders depend on this money without being able to afford to study or do a doctorate.
Even so, a scholarship is not just about money. If you only apply because of the transfers to your account, you will hardly have any success, or at least not as much of your scholarship as you could. Because many foundations, especially the gifted support organizations, also offer comprehensive non-material support: There are seminars, lectures, holiday academies, language courses, further training opportunities, and offers for internships.
“Additional educational opportunities”
The Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft, for example, regularly organizes seminars, simulation games and workshops on topics such as globalization or climate protection, as well as training programs on time management, rhetoric and job applications. “These are additional educational opportunities. Scholarships often offer the chance to think outside the box of your own studies and to continue your education – the business administration student, for example, gets an insight into scientific and technical trends,” says Max-Alexander Borreck, co-author of the Buchs The way to the scholarship.
There are also mentoring programs and meetings with former scholarship holders. With Daidalosnet and Alumninet, the German National Academic Foundation has set up two internal communication platforms for current and former scholarship holders. At the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst, every scholarship holder is provided with a supervisor to whom they can turn if they have any questions or problems.
This exchange is not only interesting, but it can also prove to be very useful. Because a scholarship brings with it not only monetary but also professional advantages – in the form of friends, contacts and networking opportunities. “Not in the sense of an old boys network,” says Sibylle Kalmbach, Deputy Secretary General of the Study Foundation, “but if the content is right, these contacts can offer scholarship holders the prospect of an internship, for example.”
The network does not replace the formal application, but you can win advocates in this way, says Borreck. Scholarship holders have access to internships or job offers via the intranet of the respective foundations – especially at companies that try to attract talented young people at an early stage.
Another benefit of a scholarship is the message it sends out. In many cases the foundations aim to promote the elite with their scholarships: the best of the year, the future top performers in society should benefit. In the case of later applications, this point in the résumé, which distinguishes the applicant from 97 percent of his peers who do not have a scholarship, can therefore be a decisive advantage. “A scholarship is an exclamation point on your résumé. When you apply, it signals a willingness to perform and commitment,” says Borreck.