How to Win the Scholarships You Find : Strategically Choose What to List

scholarship winning , find scholarships
Imagine that you need to give a speech to two groups of people. Without knowing who your audience is, you would have a difficult time composing a speech that would appeal to them, right? It would make a huge difference if one were a group of mathematicians and the other a group of fashion designers. To grab the attention of each of these audiences, you’d need to adjust your speech accordingly. References to
mathematical theorems would hardly go over well with the designers, just as the mathematicians probably couldn’t care less about how black the “new” black really is.

In much the same way, you need to decide what to highlight on your
scholarship application based on the purpose of the award. When you
know what the scholarship judges are looking for, it makes it easier to decide
what to include or omit. As we mentioned earlier, organizations don’t give
away scholarships and expect nothing in return. Behind their philanthropic
motives lies an ulterior motive—to promote their organization’s purpose. If
you prioritized your list of scholarships correctly, you’ve already uncovered
the purpose for each award. Now look at all your activities, interests, hobbies
and achievements. Ask yourself which ones fi t the purpose of each award and
would make a positive impression on the scholarship judges.

Let’s imagine that you are applying for an award given by an organization
of professional journalists. In visiting their website, you learn that print and
broadcast journalists join this group because they are passionate about the
profession of journalism and want to encourage public awareness about the
importance of a free press. Immediately, you know that you need to highlight
those experiences that demonstrate your zeal for journalism and, if applicable,
your belief in the value of a free press.

Among your activities and accomplishments are the following:
  • Soccer team captain
  • Vice President of the Writers’ Club
  • Key Club treasurer
  • Columnist for your high school newspaper
  • English essay contest winner
  • Summer job working at a pet store
  • Summer internship at a radio station
As you look at this list, you can eliminate some activities outright. Your
involvement on the soccer team, with the Key Club, and your job at the pet
store are not relevant and don’t show how you fi t with the purpose of the

However, even looking at what’s left, you still have to decide which ones
to list fi rst. As you think about the purpose of the scholarship, you remember
that in the Writers’ Club you participated in a workshop that helped
a local elementary school start its own newspaper. Since this achievement
almost perfectly matches the mission of our hypothetical journalism organization,
use your limited space in the application to list it fi rst and to add an

You might write something like this:
Writers’ Club, Vice President, organized “Writing Counts”
workshop at Whitman Elementary School, which resulted in the
launch of the school’s fi rst student-run newspaper.

Think of the impact this would have on the scholarship judges. “Look
here, Fred!” one journalist on the judging committee would say. “This student
does what we do! Defi nitely someone we should interview!”

When choosing accomplishments to list, don’t be afraid to eliminate any
that don’t fi t—even good ones. You have limited space in which to cram a
lot of information. As you fi ll out the application, you may fi nd that you are
trying to squeeze in too many details or simply too many things. You need to
be ruthless in trimming down what you submit to the judges. Make sure to
include the accomplishments that best fi t the purpose of the award.

At the same time you are picking which things to include in your application,
be sure to also be aware of what might be offensive to the organization’s
members. Just imagine what would happen if you thoughtlessly mentioned
that you were the author of an economics project entitled “How Labor Unions
Make the U.S. Unable to Compete and Lower Our Standard of Living” to
judges who are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Clearly you can’t use the same list of activities and accomplishments for
every scholarship. You must take the time to craft a unique list that matches
what each of the scholarships is intended to reward.
Read More : How to Win the Scholarships You Find : Strategically Choose What to List