Our annual scholarship is due in a few short months, so we can only hope that scholarship applicants are gathering everything they need to submit their final project.
Do you know what goes into choosing scholarship winners? A lot more than you think! Hours and hours of reading, re-reading, crowdsourcing from everyone in our company, and even late-night chats with family members discussing each individual applicant and what their project entails. Oh, and more re-reading of applications. Yes, that’s right. Every single application gets picked over, analyzed, and discussed, we take each application very seriously and everyone is considered, it’s not just a skim read of all of the information and picking and choosing what sounds good. When I say that we pour hours into this, I am very serious about it.
So what exactly is it that we are looking for in your scholarship application? You can read an overview on our scholarship page, but here’s a deeper dive to help you see our thought process.
1) The quality & quantity of work already completed
We want to see a quality project that has been given time and effort, meaning there is a large quantity of information we can see and read. Your project is your baby, you’ve put so much time and effort into it, but we know nothing about it! Paint us a picture of exactly what you’ve been working on, how you’ve achieved it, and your why behind starting the project in the first place. If it’s written well, we can hear the passion behind what you’re doing. And spoiler alert: we also pay attention to correct grammar and punctuation. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it is something you should be mindful of when submitting.
2) The potential for future long-term impact
Unless you are selected as the top winner winning the $5,000 grant toward your project to continue funding it, you are not required to continue your project after you have received your scholarship. However, we are more likely to choose the winners based on the likelihood of a continuing project that will keep impacting the community in a positive way.
3) General community relevance of the project
Your project can be just for your school, your school district, or even more widespread in your community in some way. However, it needs to directly impact those in your neighborhood. Meaning, if you’re creating materials or resources for a third-world country, you will need to find a way to tie it back into your community. That can be by them volunteering to help with your project or having it impact them in some way, too.
Finalists may also be asked for proposals on how they would use the $5,000 grant if selected as the top recipient, and the more specific those plans, the better (especially if they involve plans to seek additional funding or perpetuate the fund toward your project in the long term).
Once we’ve narrowed it down to our top projects, one final question to help us pick apart the final winners is based on how you answer our question about the $5,000 grant. It also helps us choose the grant winner as well. If asked this question by our team, take it very seriously!
Other things we are looking for while choosing the winners:
Completion of the project- If we have to track down your project information, pictures, videos, etc., it can be a red flag. Make sure all of your information is completed and in the final submission.
Organization of project- If it’s jumbled and hard to pick out the information, it can be easy for us to overlook the project and not spend the time picking through all of the minute details.
The passion- Again, we can tell in your submission how passionate you are about the subject based on how you present it to us. Show us your passion! Tell us what got you started with the project you are working on and what’s driving you to continue working on it.
Take these tips and put them into your final project. I promise by doing so will help your application shine above the rest.