How to Stand Out on Paper . . .
When it comes to private scholarships, you are competing against many student for a limited amount of money. The more applications you turn in, the better your chances. But it’s not about applying to them all; it’s about how you look on paper. When a scholarship committee considers your application, they are really deciding if they want to invest in your future. Besides grades, they consider what kind of student/person you are. Do you go above and beyond? Will you be an asset to your community later? Are you well-rounded or just one-dimensional?
This is How You Stand Out!
Use better paper! This is the easiest thing that nobody ever does. Get some nice, heavy paper with a watermark (it should only cost a few dollars from Walmart) and use it anytime you need to print your resume or an essay.
Typing is better than hand writing. Even if you are a master calligrapher, typing essays and scholarship applications shows professionalism. If you have only a hard copy of the app, you might be able to access a typewriter from school or the library.
Keep track of volunteer hours! The more volunteering you do at school and in your community, the better. When you are voluntarily helping others, you look like the type of person who will do great things during and after college. If you don’t know where to start volunteering, ask your TRiO advisor or counselor for some ideas.
Take on leadership roles! Leadership roles are everywhere—your sports team, band, choir, debate, clubs, AG, church, even TRiO! When you take on a leadership role, it shows courage, responsibility, approachability, and maturity. And you don’t always have to be the class president; running for treasurer or secretary looks great, too!
Work hard in school to get good grades, high standardized test scores, and take challenging classes. You don’t need a 4.0 to win scholarships, but no matter how well-rounder you are, a low GPA makes it hard to convince a scholarship committee that you will succeed in college.
Participate! You don’t have to join every club at school, and don’t do so much that you put your education on the back burner, but get involved!
Choose carefully who recommends you. Many scholarships ask for recommendation letters, and it’s important to pick someone who knows you well and can speak about your strengths. If a scholarship asks for multiple recommendation letters, it’s a good idea to ask someone at school who can talk about your leadership skills, personal strengths, and teamwork abilities.