The Competitive Nature of Scholarships: Some Tips on How to Deal
When you hear the word “scholarships”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Money? Reward? Work? How about competition? Some scholarships you don’t need to compete against others, but most of the time, you do. That can be an intimidating thought. There are many different types of scholarships out there. Some are related to sports, academia, the arts, and social activism. Applying for a scholarship in any case is a time to show your best self, proving that you are a worthy candidate for the goods in store. This means going above and beyond your usual work ethic.
If you are applying for sports scholarships, you may already have that natural competitive nature about you-this is a good thing. Scholarship applications can be time consuming and stressful. Scholarship interviews are even more taxing. You can think of it as being interviewed for a job, and there are tons of other people wanting that same job, too.
The bottom line when it comes to applying for scholarships is that you can only do the best you can, and also hope for the best result. Don’t give yourself more anxiety than you have to- this might even hinder your chances.
Basic tips and things to remember:
- Make sure you give yourself LOTS of time to fill out the application form. This way, if you think of something more you want/need to add to the application, you have enough time to do it.
- Make sure you have a few other people in your circle check out your application form, making sure everything is in the right place. One small mistake could cost you the scholarship.
- Think out of the box. Some scholarships call for more creativity than others, so don’t be afraid to inquire about the scholarship and see if you can add something a bit extra on your application, or present in your interview.
- Practice your interview skills. If you will be meeting with the people giving the scholarship, make sure you are chilled-out and ready to blow them away. People can sense anxiety when someone walks in the room, so take deep breaths, do meditation or “leader posing” before you enter the room. This will make you feel strong!
- If you are applying for a big scholarship that looks over your whole high-school or college history, make sure you examine or write down all your achievements and see what else you can improve on, before you apply. Adding to your curricular repertoire will always help you in the end. So, beef it up!
- Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer.
- Don’t tell anyone you are applying to a specific scholarship. This may be a bit secretive or sneaky, but as soon as you tell your friends or other students, they might apply themselves and you will be in direct competition with them. It is really up to you, but this is where that competitive thinking must come into play.
Don’t let the competitive nature of scholarships scare you; let it fuel you! Bring out your fierce and dedicated nature and you might be surprised by the results. When you hear athletes speak about competing in the Olympics, you may notice that they never doubt themselves before their competition- they MUST win. Apply that attitude and you might just beat the competition and win your just reward.