What Can Tenth Graders Be Doing To Prepare for Scholarship Applications?
Practice your writing skill every week. You can do this by writing an essay every week or every two weeks. To start, here are some of the most common scholarship writing prompts:
- Create two versions of each prompt. One should be 250 words and the other should be 500 words.
- Why do you deserve this scholarship?
- What are your college and/or career aspirations? How will college help you achieve those goals?
- Choose one of your extracurriculars and tell us why it is the most significant to you.
- Share your community service and volunteer history. Summarize your community service activity, including how you became involved, your role, and the impact of the activity.
- What is the biggest obstacle you have faced? How did you overcome it?
- Before you write your essay, make sure you start by brainstorming and making an outline. The easiest way for a scholarship essay to get off track (and thus not answer the prompt) is by not following an outline
- “But I’m only in the tenth grade! I’m not going to use any of these essays for scholarships by the time I’m a senior.”
- You will be so busy when you’re a senior that if you don’t have your essays already written, you won’t even apply for scholarships.
- Maybe you won’t use these essays as a senior. Maybe you will. That really depends on how much time and depth you put into the work now.
How About Eleventh Graders?
Make a resume. Scholarships, colleges, jobs, and so much more are going to ask you for a resume, so go ahead and make one! Be sure to include any jobs you’ve had, all the extracurriculars you are a part of, all the honors and awards you have received, and all the volunteer activities you’ve done.
- “But Ms. Sims, no one cares that I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity for a semester in the ninth grade.”
- Don’t ever be the one to decide what is and isn’t important to a scholarship committee. You never know! Maybe the head of the committee is an active member of Habitat for Humanity and they connect with your application because of that one experience.
- “But I’ve never talked to my counselor. I don’t even know who my counselor is.”
- Change that immediately. Your counselor is the key to getting your hands on transcripts and school profiles. All of these are essential components to scholarship applications.
- Your counselor is the first person to receive notification about local scholarships. You want to be the first person they think of when they receive an email about one.
- Local scholarships are the most important scholarships of all because the application pool is much smaller and so you are much more likely to win.
- “I can't see the essay prompts without making an account and I need to be a senior to make an account.”
- If a scholarship application is through a portal and you need to make an account to apply, then go ahead and make an account! You may want to create a new email address so that you can use your the one you check the most when you make your account as a senior.
- “But those essay prompts won’t even be the same next year.”
- True, you cannot guarantee that the prompts will be the same, but for many national competitive scholarships, the essay prompts don’t change drastically year to year. Sometimes the prompt may be worded differently, but the heart of the question hasn’t changed.