Eight great suggestions to help your application stand out in front of the scholarship selection committee.
1. Maintain impeccable grades in subjects directly related to your major. Example: if you want to be a doctor, make sure your grades in science and math reflect a strong likelihood for success to scholarship selection committees.
2. Begin volunteer community service as early as possible. Maintain a relationship with someone within the organization where you volunteer who you feel will accurately speak to your accomplishments in a future letter of recommendation- don’t let yourself get lost in the shuffle after all your hard work!
3. Participate in school activities- either sports, clubs, government- whatever you are interested in. As noted above, maintain a relationship with someone who will be able to write a strong letter for you in the future.
4. Find a local business/organization you might be able to intern with. This will, more than likely, be unpaid work, but you will demonstrate your commitment to your field and initiative.
5. Earn high GPA and test scores. You can begin taking your SAT and ACT at any age, but scores take a few months to report. It is safe to bet your last ACT/SAT should be taken in the fall of your senior year to make sure your score report is back in time for spring applications. You can report your highest scores, so the more you take these tests, the more likely you are to increase your score.
6. Maintain a relationship with your school counselor. They may need to write a letter of recommendation for you (on top of hundreds of other students). You want your counselor to know who you are and what your interests and passions are so they can speak to them in your letter. Don’t let yourself be “just another letter” they must to write. Ask Early! Don’t put yourself in a stressed position because someone is too busy.
7. Start touring universities. Tour universities you don’t even want to go to. You may learn about a program/assistance/project/perk you didn’t know of before and will be able to ask the universities you are interested in about those things. Going on a tour completely unfamiliar and unprepared is not a good idea.
8. Get a job! Not just because your parents are telling you to, either. Having a job will show that you are responsible and trying to help fund your college degree. Even minimum wage demonstrates that you are not expecting a “free ride” from anyone and want to take responsibility for some of the costs of your education.