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In this article, Amandeep Singh discusses the superstar effect and how should you use it to your advantage when you prepare for getting Scholarships for higher education.


Most of the times, it is not enough to be above average, or even good. One needs to be the best or different from the rest of the crowd.

College admissions is an interesting process. It has become an arms race due to high competition and the ideal approach to winning this race is to change the standards. A student for attaining higher education can get admissions either under the scholarship programme if he is credible or needy or he can take normal admission by paying the fee amount which is usually high. Superstar Effect can help a person in getting Scholarship for Higher Education. This article elaborates on how a person can inculcate Superstar Effect and how he can use it to his advantage for getting Scholarships for Higher Education.

What is Superstar Effect?

The term “Superstar Effect” was first recognized and published by Sherwin Rosen who was an economist. This term was used by him in a newspaper published in the American Economics Review. The economist worked through the arithmetic that clarifies why geniuses receive a larger number of benefits than peers who are slightly less talented. He called this marvel, “The Superstar Effect.”

  • Superstar Effect can be defined as imbibing those qualities in oneself that are necessary for making an individual different from his peers. Superstar Effect is a thing that makes a person stand out from the crowd.
  • Superstar Effect is simple to understand if it is explained but it is very difficult to practice. It is difficult to imbibe those qualities in the day to day life and compete to be the Superstar.
  • Being a genius in any field makes a person impressive to a large extent to the outside world.
  • It does not matter what kind of a field it is, be it crowded, competitive or well known, the superstar effect holds to itself.
  • For instance, suppose there are 10,000 Bollywood music fans each having 1,000 rupees to spend on a music album. They are trying to decide whether to buy an album of Arijit Singh or an album of Mika Singh.
  • According to the theory of Sir Sherwin Rosen, the bulk of consumers will purchase Arijit Singh’s album thinking, “although both singers are great, the best is Arijit Singh, and if I have to spend money on one album only, I might as well get the best one available.”
  • The result was that the vast majority of Rs. 1 crore goes to Arijit Singh, though he has less experience than Mika Singh in the field of singing.

Obviously, it is really hard to be a superstar. Most of us will never become a superstar. Then how is it that superstar effect is of any use to us?

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  • One reality is that the best one reaps more rewards than his peers who are slightly less talented. This is basically the Superstar Effect.
  • The Superstar Effect is very useful for every person as it is human nature to ponder on different things, we humans find it difficult to focus on one particular thing. Opportunity calls out to us and we cannot resist our temptation to get hold of that opportunity. Ultimately, we end up attempting many activities at the same time.
  • Superstar Effect helps you to choose the best opportunity from the pool of opportunities. It helps you to find something you can commit to and make double efforts in it.
  • If you participate in many activities at the same time, it is obvious that you will face many rivals or competitors as you are in many fields but if you put your efforts in one particular field at a given point in time then you will face fewer competitors as the crowd in one field would be less than the crowd in many fields, here you earn a greater chance to win as you have fewer competitors here.
  • The concept is that limited resources can only be invested fully in one source if the required goal is to be achieved. It is always appreciated to be the best in one thing than being good or mediocre in most of the things.
  • Time and energy are the two biggest resources which every person can invest but a person uses both these resources in many activities at the same time. If both the resources are used in being good at one particular thing and it can be used to master our field bringing us to Best, And the gap between good and the best makes all the difference.

Scholarships for Higher Education

The first thing that crosses the mind of a student who applies for a course in studying abroad is the academic fees of that college and the scholarship amount listed on offer. In most of the cases, the amount of money through scholarships determine whether the student will accept the admission offer and join the institution or not. Merit and need-based students are awarded scholarships. The students who are not worthy of scholarships but want to study in the institution have to pay the full amount of the academic fees of the college.

  • Scholarships have become way too crucial in student life now as the cost of living and tuition fee of colleges is increasing day by day.
  • A lot of capable students often fail to fulfill their dream of higher education due to the high cost of education. Nowadays education has become a costly affair. There is a critical need for scholarships in today’s world which is more than ever before.
  • According to the Global Population Distribution by Income,2011 by Pew Research Center, 56% of the world’s population earn low income around 2.01$ – 10$ per day and 13% of the world’s population is middle class earning 10.01$ – 20$ per day and also 15% of the world’s population have low income and earn less than 2$ per day.
  • This means that 84% of the world’s population face difficulty in paying the tuition fee for studying abroad in a recognized institution of their choice.
  • There are different types of Scholarships offered to students. They are:
  1. Scholarships offered by the Institution or University.
  2. Scholarships offered by the Government of a particular country.
  3. Scholarships offered by Private Trusts, Charitable, and companies.
  • Scholarships usually cover the tuition fee of a student, the amount of the scholarship is not given in cash to the student but at the time of payment of the tuition fee only it is deducted from the scholarship fund maintained for the student.

Scholarships in different countries

Different Countries offer different scholarships to meritorious and need-based students.

Scholarships in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA)

  • Merit and need-based fee waivers are granted to universal students. Candidates with solid scholastics, great performance in standardized exams and extracurricular accomplishments would be eligible for scholarship and financial help.
  • To profit from these opportunities, one needs to keep in mind to send all the required documents by specific deadlines. In the same way, the presentation of the application is also important in light of the fact that one is judged by the picture one projects.

Documents Required – The documents which are usually needed for a scholarship application are as follows but it may differ according to the needs of an individual :

  1. Academic records and photocopies
  2. A recent Curriculum Vitae
  3. A letter of Intent which acts as a cover page
  4. Certificate if Language Proficiency (IELTS, TOEFL)
  5. Letter of Recommendation (LOR)

List of Scholarships to study in the UK – For the list of Scholarships to study in the UK click here.

List of Scholarships to study in the USA – For the list of Scholarships to study in the USA click here.

Scholarships in Europe

  • Studying in Europe can be exceptionally cost-effective. European nations put resources into their advanced education frameworks to help make education affordable while keeping up top-notch standards.
  • Every nation in Europe has its own fee policy however in general, educational cost charges here are lower than in other leading study destinations.
  • Actually, in some European countries, study programmes are free of cost.
  • In Europe, there are hundreds of scholarships and financial support schemes for international students who wish to study here. Some schemes support part of the academic fees, some cover the whole amount of the academic fees and some cover whole amount of academic fees plus the living costs.

List of scholarships to study in Europe – For the list of Scholarships to study in Europe click here.

Harnessing the Superstar effect

A person can only use the superstar effect to his advantage if and only if he hacks the effect and harness it. Superstar Effect once explained is hard to get but it is very difficult to do. A person has to work on himself in a daily dimension. It is not a simple task, it does not make things easier.

  • Being a superstar is not a simple task, it’s quite hard to a Superstar as the path becomes hard with time and situation.
  • Cal Newport, an author has written about how to harness the superstar effect in his book, “How to be High School Superstar”.
  • According to him, there is a way to get all the benefits which the superstar gets using the superstar effect without competing on such bloodstained battlegrounds. This can only be done by a process known as Superstar Corollary.
  • The Superstar Corollary is an impressive tool for increasing returns without increasing the burden of work involved. It is an excellent way for a student to get exposure who could not study in the best schools or who lack a publishing record.
  • Cal Newport refers to the Superstar Corollary and adds some points to facilitate one’s effort. Those points are –
  1. Sloganize: Cal says that the field in which the person wants to excel or the goal which the person wants to achieve should be precise and easy to explain which means that communication and focus is very important to conquest the field.
  2. Apply the 1000$ wager test: If a person thinks that he can succeed in 6 to 12 months, he should bet 1000$ on it. If not, then maybe you are not ready for the task and you need to build up more before trying.
  3. Negations diligence: Rather than diligent work completing just one thing, try not doing different things.
  • There is a difference between first in a class and first in your field. Being a Superstar in one field is harder than being the Superstar of class as the first of class only needs to follow the orders but being first in your field means building your own path and walking on that path facing difficulties which you yourself create.
  • And doing so is the talent by itself, same as being the best at something.
  • Unfortunately, talent alone is not enough, the field in which you want to accomplish should be precise and clear.
  • One can become a superstar in the academic field by going to the best high school, having the best articles published in his name and by knowing the most influential people but it is very difficult for most of the students. If they are able to do so then it is obvious that they do not need scholarships to study in a college of their choice as they have those resources with the help of which they can study without scholarships.
  • Thousands of people are competing on the same above mentioned ground but remember you have to stand out of the crowd and for that, you have to harness the superstar effect and work on it to achieve your goal.
  • That is the reason employment opportunities get many job applications from hundreds of applicants with marginal differences between any two of them, yet at last, the job goes to the best applicant.
  • One Example originates from podcasting. Chris Gratien is one of the hosts of The Ottoman History Podcast. He started the venture in April 2011 during his Ph.D. studies to discuss topics in the field with fellow Ottoman Scholars. In spite of the fact that Chris has excellent academic and publishing credentials from a traditional point of view, he has still triggered The Superstar Effect through podcasting. By recording almost 200 episodes, he has turned out to be a standout amongst the most understood podcaster in Ottoman studies and an outstanding name over the discipline. While every other person is just competing in the field of published articles and conference papers, he is gaining exposure by unconventional yet significantly less complex means.

Using the Superstar Effect for getting Scholarships for Higher Education

The academic world uses the “competition model” of work. Just some fortunate students can win the prize of getting admission in world-class colleges like Cambridge, Oxford and Stanford University while most of the students languish in the no-mans-land that is known for languishing. College admission is an interesting game. The level of competition for college admission has progressed to the point where a student needs more than a 4.0 GPA on a scale of 0-4 and 5-10 extracurriculars.  

  • The key here is that it is less demanding to be the best if there isn’t much competition. The GPA and extracurriculars competition is quite outstanding and dormant, so the race goes to those students who have motivated and wealthy parents generally. In any case, if you find an uncontested field, the bar is lower.
  • According to Cal Newport’s Superstar Effect Theory, there is no need to work 16 hours a day on different things but to be Superstar one must work on one thing for 16 hours a week. This approach can make a person Superstar and this in simple terms is called the Superstar Effect.
  • This kind of work is called Smart-work which is the need of the time. For students who want to get Scholarships in the college of their choice should work smart and not hard. They should work on one project and they should become best in that project. Students are required to give in less time in that particular project than those who do multiple projects at one time and invest so much of hard work in it.
  • Cal Newport’s book advises high school students who are looking forward to getting scholarships for higher education to choose any one extracurricular activity and shine at it to the level that it impresses the admission officers who select students for scholarships.
  • There are three plans to use the Superstar Effect to your advantage for getting scholarships for Higher Education:
  1. The Law of Under scheduling: A student needs to schedule his work keeping in view that he gets enough free time to explore. A student should avoid getting being involved in too many things or activities, whether academic or extracurricular. The free time in the schedule must be used to read and learn about a wide range of activities going on in the society.
  2. The Law of Focus: A student needs to choose one activity and master one serious interest in that activity. The focus should be only on one activity and not on unrelated or irrelevant activities. Focus on a particular interest is very important to master that interest. The Superstar Corollary helps one in mastering his field of interest.
  3. The Law of Innovation: Seek accomplishments that are difficult to explain, not difficult to do: Newport referred to a term  “failed-simulation effect” where things appear to be noteworthy if the general population who find out about them can’t easily imagine a standard way to them. He at that point offers some more guidelines both on how to innovate and on the best way to influence one’s innovation to appear to be noteworthy.
  • By following these laws a student can impress the admission officers and in return get the scholarships as an award by them for higher studies.
  • I would like to share one more example, there was a student who applied for the scholarship in Stanford University, his GPA put him on the list of students who were to be accepted. In High School to he did not take many courses instead he took only one course of his interest during the dreaded junior year. He always kept his extracurricular activities clean and joined no club or sports but he dedicated his attention to no more than one project at any given time. When one project gets finished then only he moved on to the other one.
  • Eventually, he was accepted for the scholarship against those to had joined clubs and sports and also worked hard on many projects at a given point in time. The student name was Srijan. Srijan’s rise required no rare natural talent or high workload. His projects only required a less daily time investment than participating in a variety of sports. However, he was the best at what he did among all the candidates who applied for a scholarship to Stanford, and the resulting Superstar Effect benefitted him with a disproportionate award.


Superstar Effect helps a person in getting scholarships for higher education if one harness this technique by going through the process which is known as Superstar Corollary and then, a student can also become a Superstar by working in one particular field at a time and mastering that field with his ability by investing time in that activity and focussing on that particular goal which he is willing to achieve. Superstar Effect is not a lie, it is the truth and students or people who wish to excel in life are trying to inculcate this effect and work on the field of their choice and surely one gets a result as the reward of his work.


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