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In this installment, we will examine some ways to rivet the scholarship committee’s attention and set yourself apart from the other applicants who have caused it to be as far along in the process as you get. This is actually an easier process than you might believe. Yet, I imagine a lot of applicants fall into the trap of over analysis and try to do or state what they believe the committee really wants to hear rather than hewing to their own genuineness, which in a case of extremely circular reasoning ( a la # @@ # @!! Increasing Arizona ) is what the committee really wants to hear.
Make Yourself Heard
I said it in the previous post, and I will say it again here: the name of the game is meshing your accomplishments, skills and personality with the scholarship criteria. A typical mistake that applicants create is that they throw out everything they’ve got that makes them special and hopes the committee will sift through their laundry washing list to find something that fits the organization or the reason the scholarship has been offered. The thing is, though, that this is just not the committee’s job. It’s your job. You must acknowledge the basic premises from the scholarship and the organization offering it within your application materials. Vomiting up everything you have or have done into a universal puddle of accomplishments does not set you apart and get you notice. Much more you just like everyone else.
Among the first things you want to address within your application materials and essay is an acknowledgement of the foundation, business or even organization that is offering the scholarship or grant and a statement of your belief in them. The likelihood of an organization giving a scholarship to a candidate who expresses viewpoints antithetical to its purpose or mission is extremely small. The National Rifle Association will not give a scholarship for an gun control activist; the Democratic National Committee is not handing out cash to young Republicans; and High People International is not paying for short people’s tuition ( or the other way round ). That’s just the way it is. Therefore , very early on in your essay and also materials, let the committee know that you are aware of your audience, what they do and that you agree with them ( even if you don’t; you’ll just have to be creative if you want their cash ).
One useful way to think of it is that the people of scholarships become, essentially, spokespeople for the awarding organization — such as Jared from Subway. The foundation may wish to know that you are firmly on their band wagon, waving their flag and heralding the good deeds of the business or even organization. In fact , many scholarships are tailored to those students that the business believes will have the most impact on account of the organization’s goals. The profitable ( $ 5,000 annually ) National Potato Council scholarship is one such example. The award goes to a student who is doing work that “directly enhances the spud industry. ” So , when you are focusing on the application, be sure that you pay attention to the stated purpose of the scholarship itself and deal with how you will help to fulfill that purpose.
Paying attention to these details will help move you forward in the process. Many candidates who do nothing but create a scholarship mill at the dining room table, mailing off generic applications with generic documents are putting in a lot of work and energy ( but clearly not enough ) for, essentially, nothing. Acknowledging the organization and the reason for its existence, and your belief in it, will help convince the scholarship committee that you are applying for reasons more noble than money ( for love and advancement from the lowly potato, e.g. ), even if you are solely motivated by lucre. Tailoring your application materials and essay toward the ultimate purpose of the scholarship alone will help to demonstrate to the committee you will be an excellent addition to the organization’s “team” — one who will be an honorable representative of its purposes and objectives and will help the group expand the impact in the world.
Once you ’ve managed to sell the organization upon itself, and on the fact that you know who they are, what they believe in and what their scholarship or grant is all about, you can set to convincing them that you are the unique person that they want to provide the scholarship to. In the final posting of this series, we’ll talk about how you can do just that.
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