The Difference Between a Beauty Pageant and a Scholarship Pageant

Each pageant system is different and you should know the differences and similarities between each type. Deciding which pageant system to participate in is just the first step in deciding whether or not you want to compete. Competing in pageants provides several opportunities for girls and young women to explore different opportunities, not only for employment purposes, but for developmental purposes as well. So with that being said, what is the difference between a beauty pageant and a scholarship pageant?

A beauty pageant is strictly designed to bring out the inner and outer beauty in the contestant. Beauty pageants offer several different opportunities for you to showcase your talents and beauty through several phases of competition. These stages can include, but is not limited to; Most Photogenic, Most Talented, Prettiest Eyes, Prettiest Smile, Most Beautiful, Best Interview and Most Glamorous.

Each stage is designed to judge the contestant on her overall presentation based on first impression, delivery and confidence. Beauty pageants often give out several titles and crowns as well as several cash and gift prizes. The age groups to compete in beauty pageants can start as young as 6 months old and can go as high as 60+ years old.

However, you will only compete against the girls/women in your age division. In most cases, depending on the level of competition won, the contestant will receive at least discounted fees for the next stage of competition.

A couple of drawbacks of beauty pageants is they cost money to enter (anywhere from $25 to $1000+) and there is no money granted if you do not place in the top 5 or take home a title. Unlike scholarship pageants, beauty pageants judge you against the other contestants rather than on your own merit. Beauty pageants are very cutthroat and you must be prepared to face and accept rejection every once in a while.

Scholarship pageants, however, offer a much more structured environment and require a little more effort, but little to no money to compete. Scholarship pageants are designed to showcase your beauty, intelligence, organizational and time management skills as well as your ability to multi-task and think well on your feet.

The different phases of competition can include; Personal Interview, Evening Wear, On-Stage Interview, Swim Suit/Sports Wear and Talent. Each phase is designed to judge the contestant on her own merit, overall impression, ability to think for herself as well as her ability to present her service agenda in a short amount of time. The age range to compete in scholarship pageants is usually 17-29 years of age. These pageants usually award only ONE title, but do guarantee each contestant a certain amount of money just for competing.

A few drawbacks of scholarship pageants include; no set amount of money per pageant, some pageants will only give money to the winner if there aren’t enough girls competing and they don’t always provide the scholarship money in a form that will benefit the contestant immediately (i.e. if the pageant puts the contestants scholarship money into a savings bond). In all my years of competing in both beauty and scholarship pageants, I personally feel that scholarship pageants are more fair, unbiased and more fun.

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