April 7, 2014

Personal Assessment

As we have already determined, scholarships are available for all sorts of categories of people and pursuits, from the fairly typical to the downright unusual. One of your challenges is to match your background, interests, future goals, and/or family connections to available scholarships.

College Scholarship Personal Assessment Tips

Interests and Attributes Checklist

The following list is a “prompter,” not an exhaustive laundry list of organizations, majors, and interests. If you need those prompts, you will find them when you go to the online services. This is the “stir the juices” list. Use it to begin to draw a portrait of yourself for the judges.

Ethnic background
Parents’ employers
Hobbies/Special Interests
Volunteer work not mentioned elsewhere
Parents’ organizational affiliations
Extracurricular clubs, groups
Special courses of study
Career Interests
Leadership positions
Planned fields of study
Jobs you have held

This list will allow you to match yourself against possible scholarships. It will be a worksheet that will help you fill out online forms. It will also provide the basis for additional searches in specific categories.

A Look Behind the Green Curtain – Just Who Is the Wizard?

This is the question the scholarship award judges will be asking themselves as they review your application. Your job is to introduce yourself as someone who is deserving of the scholarships they will award. So just exactly who is behind the green curtain? If you’re not sure, you will have a hard time explaining yourself to the judges.

The following questions ask you to think about yourself in relation to the rest of the world and to understand how you relate, and particularly, what’s special about you. This is not essay practice. No need for neatness and correct spelling. Instead, this is a good opportunity to do a little soul searching. No one will grade you. No one needs to know the answers except you.

  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • How would your parents describe you?
  • How would your teachers describe you?
  • Which parts of these descriptions are similar?
  • Which parts of these descriptions are different and why?
  • Ideally, how would you wish for people to describe you?
  • What are the three most important events that have taken place in your life? Why are they important?
  • What personal accomplishment makes you the most proud?
  • What are your three greatest strengths?
  • What three areas of your life need the most improvement?
  • What is your philosophy of life?
  • Why do you want to go to college?
  • How do you hope to be different when you graduate college?
  • Describe yourself. What do you want to be doing ten years from now?
  • What has been your most interesting class in high school? Why was it interesting to you?
  • What are the three worst mistakes you have made in your life? Are you any different now because of those mistakes?
  • Pick two or three extracurricular activities you participate in. Why do you participate?
  • What are the three biggest obstacles you have overcome in your life?
  • What person has been influential in your life? Why?
  • Everyone is special. What makes you special?

Now, pretend you are a stranger who has been given your answers to these questions. That stranger has been asked to write a supportive two to three paragraph description about the person who answered the questions and then write a paragraph about why this person should receive a college scholarship. What would that stranger say? Hopefully, the stranger was able to create a deeply meaningful description of a person with many strengths, who has seen and managed obstacles, and who has some special hopes and ambitions that can flourish with the benefit of a college education. That’s just the sort of person who should receive a scholarship.

Read Next Article: Scholarship Opportunities