Scholarship applications can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Though they are not all created equal, many of them are looking for the same things – that is, for the applicant to portray their strengths, address their weaknesses, and ultimately showcase their personality.
After interviewing a group of highly experienced members of one of Scholarship Partners Canada’s selection committees, we narrowed down 4 traits that make applicants stand out: readiness, grit, creativity, and empathy.
Post-secondary education is a commitment. Successfully navigating the late-night study sessions, early morning lectures and everything in between requires focus and organization. Education needs to be a top priority if students want to do well; therefore, priority levels should be established in an application. Students who are highly involved in their schools, through groups or clubs, seek out mentorship or tutoring, and ask for advice from family members who have attended post-secondary, appear to take their studies seriously and are ready to take the leap to the next chapter of their life. Readiness can be a social, emotional or mental trait; however, not all have to align to make someone an eligible candidate for scholarships. As long as the student can showcase that they are preparing themselves for post-secondary, a selection committee will likely recognize the honesty and humility.
By definition, grit is “strength of character”. It’s the courage to be true to oneself in the face of adversity. Students who are working part-time during high school doing shift work or weekend shifts, demonstrate grit. The sacrifice of giving up valuable social time to provide for themselves or their families is a good indicator that the student has strong time management skills and the drive to work for what they want. Many display grit when pursuing a passion. Whether it is sports or the arts, students who participate in extracurricular activities are actively practicing courage and resolve.
Creativity typically comes out in reference letters or personal statements. When students are given the opportunity to write about themselves, that is when their creativity shines through. It could be demonstrated through the hobbies or passions they talk about, such as reading, writing, painting, or cooking. Anytime an application asks for a video and/or long-form written response, students should recognize that as an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments rather than downplay themselves! Creativity can also be portrayed through their references’ vouching for their problem-solving skills or ability to overcome obstacles.
Those who demonstrate empathy go above and beyond sympathizing with others. They recognize an issue, often one that is affecting a group of people, and work toward finding a solution or way they can help. Selection committee members often look towards volunteerism for the display of empathy. Students that go beyond what is mandatory to graduate and seek out organizations and charities outside of their school, are prime examples of empathic applicants. Consistency also stands out in this area. Students who align their volunteerism with their passions or studies show that they are serious about the industry they want a future in. For example, if a student is passionate about the environment, is studying geography and sciences in school and actively volunteers for tree-planting or recycling initiative, the clear alignment is the ultimate display of empathy.
Although there are endless positive traits to be considered on scholarship applications, the above are some of the key attributes the Beedie Luminaries selection committee looks for. Keeping this in mind, we encourage students to be completely honest and transparent in their applications and all the qualities that make them unique will naturally present themselves!
Interested in learning more about Beedie Luminaries, and being among the first to know when applications open? Be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date with the latest information.