Benefits beyond winning...
Substantial time and reflection are required for national and international applications if you hope to be competitive. Plan to work with this kind of application for a minimum of three months, getting feedback from mentors and the NISF coordinator and revising multiple times to craft your strongest possible essays and proposals. You will find this time well-spent even if you do not receive a particular award.
These materials require a level of thought about your life and career that helps you refine your goals and identify means to reach them. The process can bring you into contact with professors and administrators who may become important mentors for you. Even to be selected as a finalist imparts a degree of distinction that sets you apart from your peers. And the quality materials you produce can be adapted for job, graduate school, and other scholarship or grant applications. Giving your best effort to a major scholarship application can be a winning endeavor on many levels!
"I have learned so much about myself and have grown significantly in so many areas, from writing to speaking to critical thinking. Everything I learned will help me tremendously for any other application and interview I have in the future. And looking at it, I didn't lose a thing because every hour I invested in the process I was investing in myself."
— Candice Giffin, 2013 Truman Scholarship Finalist
"Through the application process, I improved my technical writing skills, better understood how to address a specific audience, and became intimately acquainted with my comma overuse. I am better aware of how to write succinctly with specificity and will directly apply these lessons to graduate school and job applications, research papers, and college essays."
— Madeline Friend, 2013 Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention