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What Scholarship Committees Are Looking For

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Scholarships are an ideal way to pay for college. It’s free money and you never have to pay it back. But there’s a catch: Winning scholarships is a highly competitive endeavor. You didn’t think you would be the only one going for the free money, did you? If you want to stand out from the crowd of scholarship seekers, make sure you can distinguish yourself in one or more of these arenas:

1. Academics

Even if it’s not a MENSA scholarship that you’re applying for, scholarship committees do like to see you having a serious commitment to your academics. After all, you are asking for a scholarship to pay for your education, right?! While a good GPA is typically 3.2 or higher, that number isn’t the only way to demonstrate that you care about your studies. Published papers, participation in academic seminars, or letters of recommendation from professors all speak volumes, too.

Want more information on academic scholarships? Check out this incredibly comprehensive section on student scholarships by college major.

2. Leadership

Leaders aren’t afraid to take risks, and they certainly know how to take initiative. Leadership might mean being president of your student body, but it can also be organizing a canned food drive or volunteering to read to the blind. Leadership experiences indicate to a scholarship committee that you will wisely utilize your scholarship during your college years. And moreover, it shows that the committee’s investment in you will leverage future contributions to the betterment of our world.

Want more on leadership scholarships? Check out these excellent articles on Community Service Scholarships and Activist Scholarships.

3. Work Experience

You may not be the valedictorian or the class president. But if you have held down a real job, that says to the scholarship committee that you take yourself and your financial responsibilities seriously.  Even if you haven’t had a 9-5 job, internships or even summer jobs life-guarding at the neighborhood pool work just as well.

Want more information on work experience scholarships? Check out these articles on Trade and Vocational School Scholarships and Scholarships Sponsored by Professional Associations.

Sound off: What qualities do you think you set you apart from your scholarship competition? Leave us a note in the comments section, we’d love to hear from you!

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