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February 22, 2011 / Brent Sears

Dream for the Future

What is the reason you want to win a scholarship in the first place?  Is it to stay out of debt?  Is it because you feel you deserve it?  Is it to please your parents?

To me, the best answer is because you want to fulfill a dream that matters.  My dream was to live in a foreign country for one semester.  I didn’t care which one, I just wanted to live and learn somewhere other than upstate New York.

I didn’t start living my dream when I boarded the airplane for Ecuador.  I started living it the day I decided I wanted to do it.  At the time there was no clear answer as to how I was going to get there, but I started looking diligently for ways to make it happen.  I had a year to plan and in that time all the pieces fell into place.

If you want to win a scholarship that is based on an essay application it is a good idea to start thinking about what you are going to tell the selection committee.  You need to convey to them why you are their best choice and how the benefit of their investment in you will yield the maximum benefit.  In essence you are crafting your story.  If you know what the committee is looking for a year or so in advance, you can mold yourself, and your story, into exactly what the judges are looking for.

So if you know that the scholarship is looking for a student with a 2.7 minimum GPA, college service activities, and a college concert choice membership, then you know exactly what you have to do.  You just have to decide, Is the juice worth the squeeze?

LESSON: Find awards ahead of time, and do what it takes to make yourself the best candidate.

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8 Comments

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  1. taehoonger / Feb 22 2011 20:55

    Wow, you went to Ecuador? Coincidentally, our school is embarking on a five-year commitment with Free the Children to help one village there through the building of a water well, school, etc.

    Thank you your comment and this blog, actually. I’ve been reading through the posts and I’m finding it really helpful and relaxing! Thanks, again!

    • brentsears / Feb 22 2011 21:22

      Hey,
      I’m glad to help. I have been through the process both as a student and as a member of a selection committee so I know what it can be like. In my experience it is best to apply for everything you can because people don’t put the time in.
      Yeah, Ecuador changed my life. Coincidently, my profile picture was taken when I was learning to drill low-cost water wells for people in developing nations.
      I am using my blog to help students do AWESOME things while in school and beyond. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with!
      All the best,
      Brent

  2. Jen / Feb 23 2011 00:54

    Hey Brent,
    I have read a couple of your posts and enjoyed reading them. This is a great thing to link students to! I’ll try and remember to share this blog with the students I serve today. This will also be a great resource when I become a career counselor…
    Thanks for the good wisdom!

    • brentsears / Feb 23 2011 09:55

      Jen,
      Thanks for the encouragement! I wish I had understood when I was a college student that people were blogging on all the things I wanted to learn. Let me know if you have any questions or there is anything I can do to help you in your work.
      Brent

  3. Jess / Feb 23 2011 13:34

    Good post..I’m not actively interested in winning a scholarship, but it would be nice to keep debt down. That’s why I apply for them from time to time.

    I’ve uploaded about 70 photos to my Flickr, so I guess choose the ones you want to use and I’ll make them available for download! Does that sound fair? I don’t want you to feel like you have to “buy” any either, if you don’t like them…I’m used to taking photos for my own pleasure so I’m not sure how useful they would be to you!
    Thanks,
    Jess

  4. Jess / Feb 24 2011 18:07

    It worked! Thanks so much.

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