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4 Qualities Scholarship Committees Look For

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Are you searching for college scholarships? You may be wondering how to distinguish yourself from your competition. While every scholarship has it’s own list of eligibility requirements, applicants need to go above and beyond the bare minimum to impress the committee — and win the award. Not sure how to do that? Here are four qualities almost every scholarship committee is looking for:

1. Strong Academics

You don’t have to be the valedictorian, but most scholarship committees will take into consideration your overall commitment to academics. For some scholarships, you will need to have a minimum GPA. But if you aren’t required to be a better-than-average student, a strong GPA indicates that you take your studies seriously — and that’s something that every committee cares about. After all, you are asking for money to help you fund your higher education, right? A great way to differentiate yourself in a scholarship competition is to truly stand out in your field. If you are majoring in biology, for example, focus on applying for scholarships for biology majors, where you can truly excel.

2. Work Experience
Even if you aren’t the best student, you can still prove your “salt” to a scholarship committee by focusing on your internship and work experience. After all, many scholarships want applicants who aren’t afraid of commitment. Responsibility and initiative-taking can be demonstrated through your work history, as well as through letters of recommendation from your employers. An internship is also a great way to demonstrate that you are serious about your future.

3. Community Service

Like paid work, volunteerism and community service are great ways to make you more attractive to a selection committee. Those experiences indicate that you are civic-minded and care about causes beyond yourself. You can draw attention to your service spirit by incorporating your volunteerism into your essay, or by submitting a letter of recommendation from a superior. Making a difference definitely matters to scholarship committees – after all, that’s what they are all about! There are even scholarships that target volunteers and activists. If you fit that bill, be sure to check out these article on Community Service Scholarships and Activist Scholarships.

4. Leadership
Whether demonstrated through your academics, work, or volunteerism, leadership is a quality that should shine throughout your life’s endeavors. Scholarship committees like applicants with leadership skills because they are more likely to take initiative (and risks), know how to build consensus, and be able to inspire others to do the same. While leadership positions like student body president are impressive on your resume, even more important to a scholarship committee is how you utilize your leadership abilities to help others or to bring about change.

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