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How to get a scholarship?

Having a scholarship is always a ‘wow’ factor. A scholarship is not just a financial reward. More importantly, it is a recognition for the recipient’s holistic development that goes beyond academics. A scholar is a role model in some way or the other. That is why people will always look at a scholar with respect or admiration, regardless of his or her source of scholarship. It is a good thing to be on a scholarship. But as with all other good things in the world, it is also a hard thing to do. But nothing deters a determined person. If you really want to get a scholarship, read on to discover some tips to achieve your goal.

Firstly, you must realize that almost all scholarships require a certain degree of academic excellence. Good grades on your transcript not only show that you have done well for exams, but also show that you are a hard working and motivated person who is likely to carry the good qualities to other areas of study or endeavor. It is the personal qualities as reflected by good exam results that scholarship providers value. And academic results is usually the first check that determines if an applicant’s portfolio will be scrutinized further. Hence, make sure you pass the first checking point by offering good results.

Secondly, good grades themselves do not guarantee a scholarship. There are too many students with stellar grades, but there are only that many scholarships available. In fact, scholarships are not necessarily conferred to students with perfect grades. It is not uncommon that students with less than perfect grades get the scholarship in the end.Why? Because they offer something that makes them stand out. Usually that something is a good résumé. Participating in CCA shows your ability to manage your time between study and other commitments, a valued skill in busy professional life. Besides commitment, scholarship providers also value leadership and community service experiences, because they reflect your ability to influence, make changes and give back to society, qualities that are expected of a scholar.

However, having emphasized the importance of leadership and community service, we are not encouraging you to join relevant activities for the sake of building up your résumé. Remember, while you may be the president of a club, there are hundred of applicants out there who may also be holding some leadership position. How do you distinguish yourself from so many other ‘presidents’? You have to show why you are a different ‘president’. Probably you break the routine of doing things and enhance the effectiveness of your organization? Probably you introduce some new ideas of projects that further the cause of your club? It is very easy for experienced resume screeners and interviewers to discover which applicant is nothing more than a title and which applicant genuinely loves what he or she does. So in order to differentiate yourself, do not follow the crowd. Do what you are passionate about and your passion will be appreciated.

Thirdly, most of scholarship applications require recommendation letters. They are crucial pieces that shed insight into who you are from a different, and supposed more objective, perspective. Scholarship providers will cross-read to first check accuracy of information, and then to discover qualities that your other parts of application does not convey.

How to get a scholarship?

How to get a scholarship?

Usually recommendation letters are written by your teachers. You letters may not necessarily come from a teacher of higher position in school, such as the head of a department. You should ask teachers who know you better and appreciate you better, because they are going to write with specific and convincing examples instead of some generic praises. To help your teachers recall, you can even provide them a short write-up with examples of your qualities that your teachers can include. It is not a moment to be shy or humble. Help your teacher to help yourself. Make the recommendation as specific as possible.

Lastly, we come to the interview stage. This is the most important stage, as people who make to this stage are ‘theoretically’ qualified. Hence the performance in the interview becomes critical to make someone who ‘gets in’ or ‘almost gets in’. The scholarship interview is not very different from other application interviews, so some general rules of interview, which you can check out more specifically, still apply. One special note is that most of the scholarships come with bond, and bond-breaking is becoming a rising social issue nowadays. Hence express your commitment to working for the scholarship providers. Let them know that you know about their company, love their working culture and how working there helps you achieve your goal in life. They would rather invest money and time in a less capable candidate than in a perfect candidate who will leave them in the end.

As you can see, getting a scholarship is much more difficult than just getting into a course or a university of your choice. It is more demanding. But its reward is also more immense. If you have made up your mind to get a scholarship, you have found a good motivation to live a fulfilling school life, despite the outcome of application in the end. And success always belongs to them who prepare. Bear in mind the tips provided above and good luck to you while you are on your way to achieving your dream!

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