For high schools students preparing for college, earning an academic scholarship is a promising and prestigious way to pay for school. As the price for education at many colleges and universities rises, the competition for academic scholarships has become more intense. With more people vying for financial assistance that won’t have to be paid back, it now takes more than good grades to get a full scholarship to the student’s university of choice. There are other areas where high school seniors can excel which could give them an advantage over other candidates.
College entrance exams give colleges and universities another means of measuring a student’s potential. The scores often serve as a major factor in college admission. Those with excellent test scores have a better chance at earning academic scholarships. Although some schools do not emphasize high test scores for admissions, but focus on grades and character, students hoping to earn academic scholarships should not put themselves in this category. They need to focus on all of these points, test scores included. Taking a preparatory course is proven to improve scores, and may give academically gifted applicants an edge on college scholarships.
Some awards are focused on a particular field of study in addition to academic performance. Major scholarships may be sponsored by a college, or may come in the form of a grant from a special interest group, corporation or college alum. Companies in industries struggling to fill positions with qualified employees may deliberately look for the brightest and the best in their field of study. To appeal to these groups, high school students should have a focus in classes, clubs and outside activities that demonstrate an interest in the same field as these major scholarships.
While academic focus is a good things, many scholarship committees believe that a well-rounded student has more to offer their school than a bookworm who never ventures out of their shell. Interacting with others, whether it’s the mathletes, thespians or debate team has its merits. Holding office in the student body government in high school is another notable activity. Those with excellent academic records and at least one or two extracurricular activities come across as a well-rounded student with social skills.
The emergence of the college applicant’s essay is quite frequently the deciding factor in situations where the committee must choose among a handful of students. Those with strong writing skills and the ability to present themselves in a constructive manner are more likely to turn heads and trigger interest. Candidates should be sure to answer the questions posed and stay on topic. Spelling, grammar and clarity of thought also count toward earning academic scholarships.