All Scholarship Applications are Alike, Right?
By Dale Clifton, The Scholarship Doctor
Evaluating thousands of scholarship applications has
definitely left an impression on me. I still remember
some of them, because the students who submitted them
managed to get into my head in a personal way.
Many books and articles will tell you that "personalization"
is good, but they don't tell you how to accomplish
that. I saw a photo attached to an app showing the
senior student shaking hands with the President of
the United States. Another enclosed an audio tape that
revealed his talent to play the fiddle in a country
band. A girl had her photograph taken with a well-
known professional golfer after she had won a state
tournament. A boy included a picture of his debating
trophies. Another had won a two day fishing tournament
and held the trophy in a picture to prove it. Another
had built his own computer. Still, another had patented
her own invention, a device for counting inventory
units. In each case the items were part of the
requirements of the scholarship award, not just thrown
in for effect. These are super examples of
"personalizing" a scholarship application, but it
doesn't have to be that noticeable.
There were also attempts at personalization not well
received, a picture of a girl in a very tiny bikini.
The word thong comes to mind. Another included prize
ribbons with a request to return them when the judging
was over. We had to send them back at our own expense!
Another application had an algebra homework assignment
inside, oops. We sent that back, too. Her siblings
were probably blamed for its disappearance. One
application had a Santa Claus hat inside. It came
from Alaska. I'm still trying to figure that one out.
Why is personalization so important? Imagine that you
are on the committee, sitting around a table with 247
scholarship forms. It is the committee's job to pick a
winner. All of the apps appear to look alike. All
things being equal, which one is going to be chosen?
It's impossible to say. But, let's suppose that one
personalized his/her request and made it stand out
positively from the rest. Now, someone has taken the
time to be bold, inventive and creative. They have made
it possible for the scholarship committee to know more
about who they are. They are more than a just a piece
of paper with a name on it. They have revealed intimate
sides to their personalities. Who will win now? The
choice is obvious.
Personalize don't dramatize. Use good judgment and
common sense when personalizing. Try to imagine who
the people are making up the committee. Then, send in
your request knowing that, out of all who sent their
forms, you are the one who will win. You are the person
who deserves the money.
Planning produces positive outcomes when the
scholarship effort is truly a family affair.
About The Author
©2006 The Scholarship Doctor, Dale Clifton - All Rights Reserved
Dale is an educational consultant and expert at helping families win college scholarships.
To learn more about planning to win scholarships visit http://ScholarshipDoctor.com.
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