All About Scholarships!

1.  SCHOLARSHIPS:  Free Money?

Free Money?  Maybe from a selfish standpoint, but not really.  Scholarships are investments that are repaid with careers that benefit specific purposes or society in general.  But, scholarships don’t come free; individuals, clubs, and companies work very hard to generate money to award to students who prove worthy of educational investment risks.  Scholarships are not like lottery winnings; they are awarded as a result of successful appeals in the form of Scholarship Applications.

So, the issue is, WHY should an entity who doesn’t even know you speculate on your success in school and in your career?  The answer to the WHY has how you fit the criteria for which the scholarship is to be awarded.  Unless your application clearly shows your match with this criterion, you will not even be considered.  The final decisions search for the very best match with scholarship intentions.

3.  SCHOLARSHIPS:  Where do you find them?
First, let’s be clear:  Finding and Applying for scholarships are YOUR jobs!  The ASPIRE program attempts to identify as many scholarships as possible, but consider this your starting point.  YOU must take it from there.  There are many resources available in the ASPIRE room, in the newspapers, on the internet, at individual schools and universities, at potential professional career organizations, at clubs, at churches, at businesses, ….. and the list goes on and on.  If you want scholarship opportunities, YOU make them!

4.  SCHOLARSHIPS:  Critical Criteria
Once you find a potential scholarship, your application becomes your representative in the award competition.  You must meet all of the scholarship criteria.  First – read the application to see what’s needed.  Don’t take this lightly!  If you omit a required document, chances are you won’t even make it to first base.  There will be lots of applicants, and the first screen will be “is this application complete?”.   We’re speaking from experience here folks.  As participants on several scholarship evaluation teams, we’ve seen and used the trash can at the end of the table for many applications that don’t conform to stated requirements.  Pay particular attention to:

  1. Due Dates
  2. How the Application is to be assembled
  3. Required Application contents
  4. Required references, letters of recommendations, transcripts, etc.
  5. The Quality and Appearance of your submittal package

5.  REALLY IMPORTANT CRITERIA:  Grades and Activity Charts
We just cannot emphasize enough the importance of Grades and Activity Charts (or excerpts, as required) in the packaging of scholarship applications.  If you don’t jump these critical hurdles, you just won’t make it.  Freshmen – NOW is the time to start work on these most important High School efforts!!

                                                                                                                                                                  Author:  Will Rutherford


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