A good book grabs your attention in the first page and leaves you wanting more. But if you were presented with hundreds of books, and could only choose one, you would pick the one that grabbed you immediately, right?
This is the same dilemma many scholarship judges face when making their way through piles of nursing scholarship applications.
There are many nursing scholarships available from hundreds, if not, thousands, of organizations, but the hard part is making your application stand out from the crowd. By demonstrating to the scholarship judges the person you are behind the application, you provide a well-rounded picture of your academic, professional and personal life. The key is to show off your personality in a meaningful way, but avoid over-sharing or dramatizing your accomplishments or activities. Above all, aim for sincerity.
To help you craft a scholarship application that moves to the top of the pile, our nursing staff share six secrets they look out for in a compelling submission.
1. Stand Out
Competition is strong for many financial awards, so identify creative and relevant ways to get your application noticed. Little details can make a big difference in how a judge rates your submission. Research past winners and learn what qualities the scholarship committee values most in a nursing student. This knowledge will help you tailor your application to reflect the best qualities that the organization seeks.
2. Professional Plans
A strong application hinges on how you answer this one question: How do you see yourself making an impact in the nursing profession?
Clarity of passion and purpose will set you apart. Perhaps a past experience inspired you to join the field, or you found your talents and skills are a natural fit in caring for the needs of others. How you support your career goals shows the judges that you know what it takes to succeed in your nursing career.
3. Take the Lead
If a judge can identify with you through your application, you have done your job. To achieve that memorable connection, discuss the kinds of professional and personal activities you are involved in. Are you in any professional nursing associations? Have you been published in any academic journals? Do you volunteer in your community? Explain how these experiences made you feel. By drawing attention to your leadership experiences, you outline your potential to act as a role model for the nursing workforce and other aspiring nursing students.
4. That Little Something Extra
Remember the old adage, “the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra?” To take your application from ordinary to extraordinary, highlight the details behind your achievements. Were you faced with a particularly difficult problem? How did you rise to the challenge? Your explanation will demonstrate your willingness and determination to succeed in the field.
5. Write to Impress
Your application is the first, and probably only, impression you will get to make on the judges. Carefully choose your language and pay attention to any grammatical mistakes. You may have many impressive credentials, but poor word choices and errors can damage your credibility and indicate a lack of proper attention. What you say will represent you in your physical absence, so make your words count.
6. Always Be Learning
Nursing is an ongoing process of professional education and development, so judges look for applicants who continue to grow their knowledge and skills in various disciplines. Demonstrate your dedication to lifelong learning by describing instances where you took the initiative in a course, group project or task that offered you the chance to learn more. Such examples reinforce your ambition and passion to the field of nursing.
Written by Thomas Edison State University