Over the past months I have been asked - by friends and people that somehow learned about my award at Westminster College - for "suggestions" on the application process. Although, I don't feel I am the best person to get counsel from, I will do my very best.
First of all, you should know that the application process is different this year. However, I took the liberty to dig around in order to provide you guys with the best info possible.
What is the Exemplary Achievement Award? As described on the college website, it is a scholarship that seeks to "Reward exceptional achievement, ... to honor students who will enrich our community of learners as they embody the high value we place on excellence."
*Hint: as you write your essay keep this idea on mind. Try to answer the question: How can I enrich the community at Westminster College?
What are this year awards? This year Westminster College has decided to increase the total dollar amount to be distributed among the winners. Three scholarships of $25,000 will be awarded. In addition, twenty-five scholarships of $4,000 will be awarded. That is an impressive total of $175,000 waiting for the right students.
* Hint: You!
Who can apply? Freshman and transfer students, attending Westminster College as members of the up coming Fall 2014 class are eligible. I must also indicate that international students (like myself) are eligible to apply. This scholarship requires a separate application.
*Hint: You must apply and be admitted to Westminster by Monday, February 3, 2014. Award application must be in the admissions office by 5:00 pm on February 3, 2014.
How do the awards work? Let's suppose that you are chosen to receive one of the three $25,000 scholarships. This scholarship will override ANY institutional scholarship offered previously. For example: let's say that you were offer a $16,000 merit scholarship due to you GPA or ACT/SAT scores, well this new award will replace the previous $16,000 offered.
Now, let's suppose you are awarded one of the twenty-five $4,000 scholarships. This new award will be on TOP of any previous institutional scholarship. In the same example, let's say you receive $16,000 for GPA or ACT/SAT scores, now you have a total $20,000 scholarship.
*Hint: This scholarship is guarantee to you for 8 semesters and can ONLY be use on Fall or Spring semesters.
As mentioned before, this year the award application operates differently. I will explain the process, requirements and finally I will offer my advise on what to include in the application.
This year the application process encourages students to choose one category in which the student feels his or her performance, contribution or development has been worthy of consideration. There are a total of seven different categories and at least three awards will be distributed in each category.
The categories are as follow:
- Significant participation in community service and civic participation.
- Work experience and entrepreneurship.
- Resilience in the face of hardship or disadvantage.
- Promoting equity and understanding.
- Outstanding leadership.
- Distinction in the Arts, Humanities, or Sciences.
- Alvin & Helene Richer Academic Excellence Scholarship (Minimum 3.7 GPA; 27 ACT or equivalent)
The requirements to apply for this award are:
- Be admitted to Westminster College attending the Fall 2014 class by February 3, 2014.
- Complete the Application Form.
- Personal essay explaining the achievements that support the category you chose and how you will enrich Westminster's community.
- A professional resume and a list of all your awards, activities and other achievements.
Lastly, my suggestions while completing your application:
- Apply now to the college. The application fee is being waived and you can start developing good relationships with the college and its staff members.
- Remember that Westminster College, as any other great school, strives to recruit the best of the the best. Having said that, try to choose your best examples to described who you are and what you can do to improve the student body and the college as a whole.
- Take the time to write a direct yet meaningful essay. You are trying to represent yourself, and you shouldn't undersell your achievements. In addition, I know that if I was reviewing the applications and found an essay that is three paragraphs long I would think to myself "hey if you can't put an effort on this why should I put an effort on you?"
- Remember Westminster wants to develop a culture of evidence throughout its students, so include as much evidence of your achievements as you possibly can.
- I believe most of you have worked hard for years and develop good relationships (professional/non professional) on the way. Ask for recommendation letters to support your character and achievements.
- You may be excellent in more than one of the categories listed above. Choose the one that you feel better represents you.
- Although, I don't know the evaluation process I imagine that they look at the extend and meaningfulness of your achievements. Go in details to help the committee understand your efforts and depth of your contributions.
- If you are not done with your classes yet and you have a chance to improve your grades; do it! You will be in a better position at the time of the evaluation.
- I know the application says to include ONE professional resume and and ONE list of activities. I would encourage you to have a professional resume and an activities resume. Do it professionally.
- Stay truthful and humble. I know many of you have achieve great and amazing things. However, if you look up to the sky there is plenty of room to grow. At Westminster is all about personal development and success.
- Finally, if you have a clear goal and vision of where you want to be or how you see yourself in the future; share it. Explain how attending Westminster College can help you achieve your dreams and goals.
I hope this can help you to successfully apply for the Exemplary Achievement Award and hopefully help you to be awarded for your achievements. I look forward to meet some of you next year, let me know if I can further help you.