It’s Scholarship Season: Advice on Applying for College Scholarships

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It’s scholarship season. OK…here’s a secret. It’s ALWAYS scholarship season. If you have a student getting ready for college, resign yourself to the fact that you and/or your student will for the next 4 to 6 years be searching for college money. Applying for scholarships is like herding cats. They are all over the place. Not only are there various deadlines and requirements, it’s false to believe it is only an activity for high school seniors. It’s an annual cycle. Scholarship criteria for a specific degree program, for example, might target college sophomores and juniors.

Whether it is for a scholarship, academic program, or part-time job application, an updated student resume that includes relevant details to review will give your student an edge for college dollars. “Relevant” doesn’t necessarily mean loads of experience (something your student may not have). A good student resume is a simple, personalized one-pager that introduces who your student is. Here are a few pointers to share with your future college grad for writing a stand-out student resume.

  1. Start your student resume with a personal statement. Like a traditional career objective statement, a personal statement explains your academic and career goals. Focus on how an opportunity (whether a scholarship or part-time job) might provide you with academic opportunity and how it will advance your academic success. Don’t be afraid to mention the importance of your success in relation to your family (first generation, etc.)
  2. Don’t diminish extra-curricular activities as unimportant! I see this time and time again. Once when helping a student apply for a scholarship, I asked him what he did in his free time. He replied, “I can’t do anything. I help my ailing grandfather work his farm. I don’t have time.” He diminished the value of a touching activity that showed his amazing character and work ethic. Volunteer work, community service, gpa, awards, recognition all show what a well-rounded young person you are.
  3. The more personalized, the better! The one thing I love about doing a student resume is that students can share a whole bunch more about their personality than we adults can. A scholarship committee is dying to hear a story like the one I just shared! So you hold the state record for cup stacking? Include it! It shows determination and that you are not like every other 18 year old. Caution: Information about sexual orientation, religious affiliation, marital status, etc. should be omitted. Race and ethnicity might be shared when it’s appropriate. My involvement on scholarship committees for minorities has shown that some level of disclosure of these facts from the applicant is necessary.
  4. The simpler, the better! One page of a few key highlights about you, particularly the well-written personal statement, is enough to give a scholarship committee an introduction to fabulous you! Remember…one page only!
  5. Because it’s simple, accuracy is vital! Ok, a misspelling or bad punctuation MIGHT be overshadowed by my 15 years of amazing experience on a resume (though I won’t take the chance), but for a young person this could prove fatal. Keep it neat and tidy and free of grammatical errors. A good once over by a teacher or parent is highly recommended.
  6. Do it now before fall. As mentioned, it’s always scholarship season. Students should have a good resume for applying for scholarships and academic programs now as well as opportunities that might await them once they hit campus. With term papers, tests, and chapters to read that first year of college will be overwhelming enough! Who knows when they might get around to it and by that point they may not remember that recognition in the Key Club their sophomore year. They also have good access to their H.S. records right now through their guidance counselor and teachers for honor roll, awards, etc. 

Fresh Resume offers deeply discounted prices for students because we care most about student success. Call us today for help with your student resume. 

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