These awards are money granted by national and international foundations to help you study abroad, finance graduate school, teach abroad, or experience career-changing internships.
Many of these programs are the most prestigious academic awards available to undergraduates and graduate students.
No, this is the perfect time! First of all, there are awards available to first and second year students. These awards can be stepping stones to even bigger awards later in your academic career. Second, you should think NOW about your plans for applying to awards later. You can make sure you're gaining the experiences and credentials to bring success later.
It's a reasonable question. Hundreds of candidates apply for prestigious scholarships and the odds are against you. Lots of students don't bother applying for exactly this reason.
But look: SOMEONE will win. Why not you? If you don't apply, you don't have any chance at all. There's no reason you shouldn't give it a shot.
Also, believe it or not, you're going to get a lot out of the application process. You'll emerge with a stronger sense of who you are and what you want to do. You'll benefit from working on this application--you'll end up a better writer and a more thoughtful person. Applying IS hard work, but it can also been a rewarding and intensely satisfying process.
Mostly nothing. Usually it just depends on what the foundation offering the money chooses to call it. On these web pages, we're using the terms interchangeably.
Each award has its own requirements and you're going to want to examine their websites carefully. Here's what they're NOT looking for, though. They're not expecting a perfect 4.0 GPA and they DO care about more than academics. They're looking for students who perform academically, but have also developed leadership skills, service experiences, and multicultural understanding.