Tips & ResourcesFinding and Applying for Scholarships Standing Out So You Will Get the Scholarship
What makes you stand out? Scholarship applications are similar to job interviews; the committee wants to know why they should choose you over all the other applicants. When filling out an application you so consider why the scholarship is being offered and what you have in your resume to prove you are the one who should receive the scholarship.
A portfolio for scholarships should include the following information: Keep this information in a file for easy reference.
- Two Letters of Recommendation: at least one should come from a teacher, then choose a counselor, coach, etc. for the other. See this form for more guidance on how to obtain yours. Letter of Recommendation Form
- Transcript – if a scholarship is looking at students with high grades, they will ask for proof through a transcript. You should read the requirements to know if it can be an unofficial or if they want an official. What’s the difference? The official transcript comes with a stamped embossed seal in a sealed envelope. You can ask the Registrar for your transcript, call 801-256-5396.
- Sending a transcript directly to a college or scholarship is now done through a third party – Parchment. First time signing up, current high school students should select “New Learner Account” on the Parchment home page.
- List of Accomplishments – Committees want to reward those who make a difference and work hard to improve themselves! (list all accomplishments 9-12 grades)
- Service (did you participate or plan the service? how many hours have you done? what are the details?)
- Awards (academic, community, clubs, etc.)
- Leadership Roles (if you have a great record of leadership, use those adult advisors and supervisors to write your letter of recommendations)
- Athletic Awards (were you MVP or Most Improved? did you letter? Document it.)
- Other Accomplishments (remember, you want to make sure your application shows how awesome you are! Don’t forget anything.)
- Special Circumstances (many scholarships are given to students who have or are overcoming adversity. Don’t hold back, if there is something you have experienced that has provided a way for you to grow.)
- Student Email Address: be sure to use your personal email for all correspondents. Jordan District blocks incoming emails from outside entities, so you may not receive emails from many of your scholarship or college organizations.
- Essays – Ask someone to proofread it to help you make sure they are error free. You could practice writing basic themes, such as, Why do you deserve to win a scholarship; What is your career goal and why; What have obstacles in your life taught you? (Never say you need money because your parents don’t have any! Be more original.)
- ACT/SAT Scores – These will be listed on your high school transcript, but make sure to read the fine print on applications to see if the committees will accept that or if they require a score directly from the testing center. ACT vs Sat: which one should you take? ACT SAT
- Class Rank – You are given a ranking number according to the graduating class size and your GPA. You can obtain this number on your transcript or from your high school Counselor, Registrar or Scholarship Specialist.
- FAFSA – Proof of financial need may be required. A Student Aid Report (SAR) from FAFSA may need to be submitted. Seniors can apply as soon as October 1st of their senior year. A FAFSA4caster can be done early to see what your projected aid looks like.
MOST STUDENTS WHO SUCCEEDED IN EARNING SCHOLARSHIPS FOLLOWED SOME BASIC RULES.
CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINKS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR ODDS.
SOCIAL MEDIA ALERT:
Will your Twitter handle help you or hurt you during college applications?
According to Kaplan Test Prep, 35 percent of college admissions officers reported checking on applicants’ social media profiles.
Would they like what they saw if they looked at your students’ twitter? Here’s how their Twitter presence can make or break their chances of getting accepted—
GET INVOLVED WITH SERVICE
The Youthlinc Service Year: Engage in your own community and communities abroad. Our volunteers complete 50 hours of local service throughout the school year and, for two weeks in the summer, travel abroad to complete sustainable humanitarian work in one of the ten different countries. Check out this video for more information!
Earn the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Youthlinc helps students learn how to get involved and do meaningful service in order to earn the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Students who complete the Service Year automatically qualify for an award. This award helps strengthen students’ college and scholarship applications.
Real Life: Peer-mentor refugee and immigrant teens and tweens. Youthlinc runs 12 afterschool programs in the Salt Lake Area. We need committed volunteers to help run them. Real Life takes place from December-May. Learn more about volunteer expectations here.
See a list of volunteer ideas here.
Virtual/At Home ideas:
- Creating cards for hospital patients
- Writing letters to seniors in care centers
- Write letters to first responders: https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks-virtual/write-letters-virtual/
- Make blankets for the homeless
- Fidget blankets for memory care patients (or another pattern here or here
- Virtual read-aloud recording. Global Citizen 365 is seeking volunteers willing to film themselves reading a book
- Building and sending care packages: Operation Gratitude is offering a number of virtual ways to spread joy to frontline workers and military members.
- Become a virtual buddy to a senior citizen: Programs like the Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program are seeking volunteers eager to share meaningful moments and smiles with seniors.
- Sew masks for vulnerable populations
- Tutor virtually either with teachers/kids you already know or work with organizations like https://teensgive.org/virtual/ to find virtual tutoring opportunities
- Play games with seniors over platforms like https://www.seniorliving.org/organization/volunteer/
- Become a virtual penpal https://www.weareteachers.com/virtual-pen-pals/
- Decorate food boxes for food deliveries with the Utah Food Bank.
- Make and donate dolls or bears to Dolls of Hope.
- Become a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer and help make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible.
- United Nations: Online Volunteering: team up to address sustainable development challenges anywhere in the world, from any device.
- Become a Cyber-Seniors volunteer and help senior citizens learn about technology.
Socially Distant in-person ideas:
- Collect food or warm clothing items for food bank, homeless shelter, refugee organizations
- Volunteer at a local food bank
- Individual neighborhood clean up, snow shoveling, lawn mowing, spring planting
- Donate blood: To learn where to donate blood, enter your zip code into the search tool set up by the American Red Cross
- Get involved with Habitat for Humanities: https://www.habitat.org/volunteer/near-you/youth-programs
- Can you drive? Volunteer to take meals to home bound residents: https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/find-meals
- Work directly with those who have been most impacted by COVID 19 near you both in person and virtually: https://www.covid19mutualaidslc.com/volunteer
Other ideas to consider:
- Take a look at the Red Cross opportunities for youth: http://redcrossyouth.org/scholarships/be-a-volunteer/
- Start a Best Buddies chapter at your school: https://www.bestbuddies.org/bbu/start-a-chapter/
- Passionate about the environment? Work with the Sierra Club to be a champion for the environment: https://www.sierraclub.org/youth
- Check out https://www.dosomething.org/us/campaigns to find tons of volunteer ideas
- Start a petition for change about something you are passionate about https://www.change.org/start-a-petition
- Transcribe documents for the smithsonian https://transcription.si.edu/
- Make blankets or other comfort items for kids in need https://www.binkypatrol.org/
- Do you speak another language? Become a translator volunteer https://translatorswithoutborders.org/volunteer/
- Proofread e books https://www.pgdp.net/c/
- Help scan books and proofread scanned files to make books more accessible to those with reading barriers https://www.bookshare.org/cms/get-involved/volunteer/opportunities-us
- Use your tech skills to help make a better internet: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/contribute/
- Learning to code? Use your tech skills here https://www.donatecode.com/
- Become a social media ambassador to a cause you believe in. Check out this site: https://girlsinc.org/take-action/social-media-ambassador/
- Use Nextdoor to find ways to help in your own neighborhood
- Check ot project giving to see what guided service projects you can do in your own home https://www.projectgivingkids.org/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA0-6ABhDMARIsAFVdQv_jF0mpSNtAFO-NsYsOuxnjSnwfk2J3WSO2zD17IAXNGrKfRJDVK18aApImEALw_wcB
QuestBridge will help students get into select colleges.
The 2021 College Prep Scholars Program application will open in early February. The deadline will be March 24, 2021. Join our mailing list to be notified when the application opens >>
Applying to college can seem daunting, and the prospect of paying for it can seem even more overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. The College Prep Scholars Program equips high-achieving high school juniors from low-income backgrounds with the knowledge, confidence, and resources to apply to top colleges.
Why apply as a junior? Being a College Prep Scholar is a notable distinction that shows our 45 college partners that you are a competitive candidate for admission. In addition, your application will automatically carry over for the National College Match when you’re a senior, giving you a head start on applying for a full four-year scholarship to our college partners. College Prep Scholars are historically five times more likely than other applicants to receive full four-year scholarships through the National College Match.
- A full scholarship to a college summer program hosted by Yale, Emory, UChicago, and more.
- Quest for Excellence Awards, such as $1,000 for a new laptop or other resources to help the student enhance their college application.
- Exclusive access to a QuestBridge National College Admissions Conference — an invite-only, online event featuring workshops and a college fair with our college partners.
- Personalized college essay feedback.
- Specialized guidance and resources for the college application process.
- Peer-to-peer support in an online community.