This article originally appeared on the ANS Nuclear Cafe

Students: we know the value of a couple thousand dollars. Receiving an ANS scholarship could mean the opportunity less shifts at work and focus on classes, buying textbooks, or even just eating a bit better (and healthier) than ramen noodles every day. I’m not here to tell you why you can use some extra money. I’m here to tell you all the other reasons why applying for an ANS scholarship is valuable.

It’s good practice

Regardless if you have more schooling ahead (hello, grad school!) or a job search a few years away, the process of applying for these scholarships is simple and valuable. It forces you to update your resume/CV (which we all need to do more often!) and perhaps more importantly, write about yourself. Most of us don’t have much experience “selling” ourselves, and typically less so in writing. Writing these essays helps you course-correct a little bit (what DO I want to do with my degree?) and prepare for bigger steps like job interviews or fellowship applications.

It recognizes and encourages ANS participation

Although I’ve never reviewed scholarship applications (because I’m still applying for them), I expect that reviewers place a high value on ANS participation. If you’ve been active in your Student Section or in the national ANS organization, it’s a great way to be recognized for your hard work–and encourage you to do more! If you’re just starting out, that’s fine too! You can use your personal statement to highlight how you want to get more involved in the future!

ANS scholarships are also a honor worth recognizing on your resume/CV. Regardless of what you apply for in the future–jobs, fellowships, graduate school, or even other scholarships–having this scholarship on your resume demonstrates that you already stand out in the nuclear community.

There are many specialized scholarships

There are several types of specialized scholarships, each of which I’ll highlight below.

Named scholarships:

Beyond the general undergraduate and graduate scholarships, there are a variety (30+) of named scholarships that highlight specific fields or locations. Are you from Pittsburgh? There’s a scholarship for that! (The Pittsburgh Local Section has both undergrad and grad scholarships). Are you a graduate student studying nuclear criticality safety? There’s a scholarship for that! (Nuclear Criticality Safety Pioneers Scholarship). Check out the ANS website to learn more and apply to both the general scholarships and any named ones you’re eligible for.

Some of these named scholarships come with extra perks, too. For example, the Decommissioning & Environmental Studies Division Scholarship (both undergraduate and graduate categories) also support their awardees to attend the ANS national conferences in June and November.

Two-year college scholarships (due April 1):

Are you studying at a two-year college and interested in nuclear power? Well there are scholarships just for you! The Kent W. Hamlin Memorial Scholarship and NEED Scholarship Award for Community College and Trade School are both awarded to students studying for their associates.

NEED scholarships:

These scholarships are set aside for students with greater than average financial need. The John and Muriel Landis Scholarships are awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students and take into account an individual’s circumstances.

The Delayed Education Scholarship for Women (DEW) is a scholarship specifically for women studying in nuclear engineering related fields whose education has been delayed.

Incoming freshman and incoming sophomore scholarships (due April 1):

High school seniors and current freshmen, never fear! There are ANS scholarships set aside just for you! Sometimes younger students are worried that they don’t have as much ANS or leadership experience as college juniors and seniors, and that’s why this scholarship exists! You aren’t competing with much older and more experienced students, so I strongly encourage ANY eligible students that are/will be studying in a nuclear-related field to apply!