So it’s scholarship season. You might have known this because of the way your emails are filling up with announcements and application deadlines that just seem pointless. You probably think it’s not worth your time and energy to apply for something that you won’t get. However,  I’m writing right now to tell you that it IS worth your time to apply and give you the top six reasons why you should apply for scholarships this year.

1. It’s free money.

Need I say more? Money is given to you for free for simply filling out an application, writing a short essay, or submitting a portfolio. And the best part is, you don’t even have to give it back.

2. College is expensive.

The costs of tuition, rent, meals, and books are starting to pile up, and as we go further into college, loans will start to increase as well. Any little bit of money helps as we constantly face bills after bills after bills.

3. You have nothing to lose.

Literally nothing. So, you apply for a scholarship and you don’t get it. That’s okay! At least you gave it a shot. Would you rather regret doing it and not getting the scholarship or regret not even taking the chance?

4. It’s easy.

Most scholarships only require you to submit an online application and various other components based on your major. Most applications ask for your advisement report (which is found easily on WINS) and/or your resume.

5. They’re made for YOU.

With over 200 scholarships available just from UW-W alone, there is bound to be one out there to match up with your major,  interests, and talents. Also, contrary to what most people may think, scholarships are not based solely on need. You work hard in school to get good grades and it’s time you be rewarded for it. You volunteer in the community? Share that information! A lot of scholarships are actually based on academic and personal achievements, not just financial need.

6. Applying helps you practice selling yourself.

In a few years we’ll all be heading out into the “real world” to get a “real job.” Are we prepared for all of the competition and tough interviews? Writing applications for scholarships may not always be easy but it is good practice at selling yourself, your talents and your strengths. This can also be beneficial for upcoming interviews, writing cover letters, resumes and personal statements.

Hopefully these reasons may have swayed your opinion a bit. I know it may take awhile but please just trust me. If you have the same mindset I did a year ago, you really could care less and not want to take the time to apply. Truthfully, I never wanted to give scholarships the time of day but I decided to fill a few out just for the heck of it, and to my surprise I actually was granted a $500 scholarship. Now, one year and one scholarship later, I have a completely new mindset. Filling out a scholarship application is an extremely smart  investment in your future. Check out right now and see what is all out there for you. Just remember, the deadline is coming quick. Many of the application periods end February 15, 2015.