Don’t give up on your scholarship dreams
BY ERIN SILVER
Kimberley Jackson coordinates the Mirrors Programme in Bermuda. She’s adept at helping a range of students who may be having a difficult time in school and in life. She and her team always aim to empower young people to reach their potential and positively contribute to society.
Often, that means students must learn confidence and resilience. In the case of scholarship applications, which can make all the difference to a student’s life, it could involve trying again even if they aren’t successful at securing a scholarship on their first attempt.
“For those at the beginning of the application process, I encourage students to ask mentors or trusted adults to offer two to three pieces of advice for applications,” Ms Jackson said. “Get feedback on their resume or personal statement. Maybe they are missing some relevant pieces.”
Sometimes, students don’t make it past the first round of the consideration stage and don’t get an interview. In that case, Ms Jackson tells students to ask for more advice.
“If they do not make the interview stage, their focus should be on their application. It’s important to get feedback from one or two places,” she said.
“Check to see if there is consistency in the feedback. The key to getting to an interview is to have your best, polished look on paper showing your skills and connection to a career pathway in a very clear way. Why you want a scholarship can help you stand out and engage the scholarship interview committee.”
Ms Jackson had more suggestions for students who make it to the interview stage but aren’t successful in securing a scholarship.
“At that point, you know you have provided everything necessary and it communicates that you have a solid application,” she said. “It’s about standing out and being comfortable in the interview. Continue to engage in mock interviews with different people to get comfortable self-advocating. You have to sing your praises.”
She urged young people not to get disheartened.
“It is also a numbers game. You may have to apply to 20 scholarships. There is no limit to how many scholarships you can apply for. Look at a combination of lower-value scholarships—they all add up.”
Then, keep applying.
“If you are not in it, you can’t win it,” Ms Jackson said. “Don’t give up!”
Ensure your scholarship application is successful. This advice could help:
• Make sure you qualify for the scholarship for which you’re applying. Do your research in advance to ensure you meet the criteria.
• Apply for more than one. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Successful applicants apply to as many scholarships as they can. Even small scholarships add up.
• Tailor your answers to each application. They may be different, even slightly. If you want to be successful, treat each application with as much care and originality as you can.
• Don’t leave your applications to the last minute. Make sure you’ve taken the time to do a thorough job. That means answering all the questions as best you can and having it edited or proofread by someone else.
• Know the deadlines. Be organised and ensure you get your applications in on time. The last thing you want is to work hard on an application only to realise the deadline has passed.