Competition is an integral part of modern life, and it is only natural that it is plays such an important role in academics as well. It is motivational in and of itself – there are very few things that are more pleasant than victory in a difficult challenge where you turned out to be better than all the others.
But in addition to driving one to academic excellence, these competitions may turn out to be a source of much more straightforward profit. Let’s look at the ways one can benefit from participating in them.
1. Getting a Scholarship
The most widely spread and universally accepted way of capitalizing upon academic contests is winning a scholarship and thus getting financial aid, sometimes quite considerable, for furthering your education. It should be noted, however, that the rules of supply and demand work perfectly well here – the most lucrative scholarships are the most sought-after and attract the best students. As a result, you should treat your own chances of winning this or that scholarship realistically; don’t overestimate your ability to get the high-profile ones – the competition for them is going to be extremely brutal.
2. Winning Awards
Sometimes writing competitions offer awards and prizes which are generally much less significant than scholarships, but can still be of great help for a struggling student. It may be a money prize or an item (usually something that can help you in your education, like a PC or an iPad). The competition is going to be much less stiff than for important scholarships, so if you are unsure of your abilities it may be a good way of trying them out. Usually these contests are less particular about the age of the participants, so you may take part in them for a considerable period of time, not just before entering college.
Sometimes the winners of academic writing contests get an opportunity to have their works published. It doesn’t sound like much when compared to more tangible rewards, but you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of this. It isn’t just pleasant to see your name in print and your thoughts to be recognized as worthy enough to be published. If you are going to pursue the career in the same line of work, having this publication may turn out to be of great help when it comes to looking for job.
4. Participation in Forums, Conferences and Other Events
The winners of a competition might be invited to a forum or other event dedicated to the corresponding topic, which is also not to be overlooked. Going places and meeting people is always useful: you may make acquaintances that will prove useful in future and generally expand your horizons. In addition, these forums are often frequented by representatives of companies looking for promising new employees, which would be undoubtedly in your favor.
As you may see, usefulness of academic competitions is far from being limited by college or university walls – they may well become a turning point of your life.