Be the Toast of the Masters – How Scholarship Applications Boost Your Public Speaking Skills
The scandal that hit the headlines last year about famous TV actresses buying their daughters a way into prominent universities truly had everyone shocked, but it’s a testament to how far some people would go so their kids can earn their spots in prestigious educational institutions. After all, a degree in a respected university can truly help someone go far in life, although to varying levels of success. It’s not a guarantee, but it often increases your chances for that sought after, prestigious job.
In fact, for most students, the pressure starts way before they earn their diplomas because they have to have an impressive CV to gain opportunities for coop placements and internships (paid and unpaid). According to statistics obtained by univcan.ca, a whopping 80% of Canadian employers rely on internships and coops to source their talents.
Unfortunately, not everyone can obtain easy access to the university of their dreams due to financial constraints, and as a result, they might lose the potential to earn a good coop placement or internship. According to Statistics Canada, the average cost for a four-year undergraduate degree from a university is $30,000, and acquiring that amount is no small feat. This is why students turn to scholarships to
assist in funding their college or university education. It’s a smart move that pays off big-time later on, but a scholarship application can be a grueling process. Fortunately, a plethora of scholarships are available these days which are not entirely based on academic merit, but on abilities and talents. And what’s more, the process of applying for scholarships can actually help you apply the public speaking skills you’ve learned before. Below are our tips to ensure you get the prize you’re eyeing for, and gain public speaking skills as a result.
Do your homework.
Sure, it might feel strange to think about doing your homework when you’re done with high school, but homework is basically a lifelong activity. Of course, we aren’t referring to the usual homework you have to turn in to your teachers, but homework as in research. The first thing you’d need to do with your application is to scout for the scholarships that you’re qualified to apply for and which educational institutions offer the programs or degrees that you’re truly passionate about to pursue. At this stage, consider putting your speaking skills to the test by discussing this with your peers or a teacher whom you consider as a mentor. Having the perspective of other people can help a lot in determining where your strengths lie and would allow you to be more focused. It’s a smart step that gets you in the right track.
Study your financial options.
Doing a self-evaluation of your financial situation is another necessary step in the application process. Knowing where you are at exactly in terms of financial abilities will allow you to get a clearer picture of where you should be at. It’s wise to do this on your own, but remember that’s not your only option. There are several organizations that offer financial literacy talks or workshops for those like you in the same boat, and you are welcome to attend. Again, this is where you can practice your public speaking skills and learn about networking. In these events, you have a good chance of meeting like-minded individuals and that will definitely pay off in the long run.
Learn how to sell yourself.
Scholarship applications are not merely done on paper, and the sooner you accept this fact, the better chances you’ll have in being prepared to get that much-needed approval for a scholarship application. Scholarship applications involve that dreaded process of interviews, much like job interviews where it’s a must for you to sell yourself not just through words but by confident body language and voice projection. And similar to job interviews, you need to dig deep to bring out your negotiation and persuasion skills to convince the scholarship committee that you are the best recipient for what they are offering. Those are skills that are also a must to become great public speakers. You need to show you know what you’re talking about and you need to convince your audience—in this case, the scholarship committee—to select you out of all the other candidates.
Show them the real “you.”
We have all heard the mantra “Fake it ‘til you make it” and that’s related to the tip above. However, keep in mind that you don’t need to mask your true colours to sell yourself. Be ready to wow and impress but at the same time, feel free to show the hiring committee your real personality. It will take public speaking prowess to master that delicate balance between confidence and genuineness to increase your chances of landing that coveted scholarship. A good preparatory tool is to watch TED Talk speakers on youtube and observe how they interact with their audience and play off on the energy. They are subject matter experts on their respective fields, but at the same time they know how to let their personality shine, and you can do the same!