Follow these guidelines, starting your first year in college, to become a competitive scholarship applicant:
First of all, don’t be afraid to dream big and explore new possibilities. You’re in college to learn about things you didn’t know about. But, if you spent all of your time just dreaming, you wouldn’t get anywhere, so get in the practice of setting goals. If you get excited about a possibility and want to go for it, come up with a step-by-step plan for achieving the goal. Revisit your goals, and your progress, on a regular basis.
Challenge yourself academically
As you progress in your academic career, you’ll find that some classes really draw you in, while others don’t. Don’t take classes just to finish and get out; actively pursue your academic and career interests. Find ways to go deeper, through class projects, internships or research with your professors. Scholarships and fellowships can create additional opportunities.
Get involved on campus and in the community in meaningful ways. Involvement could take the form of a job, volunteering, holding a leadership role on campus, hobbies or special interests. Remember that quality is more important than quantity. It’s better to be involved in only one student organization, where you play an active role and implement new initiatives, rather than five organizations where you just attend meetings and participate in a very passive way. Scholarship selection committees like to see passion, commitment and longer-term involvement.
Develop supporters and mentors
Through your academic and extracurricular involvement, you will interact with people – professors, staff, employers – whom you respect and want to learn from. Invest time in developing these relationships so that you have mentors or supporters who can write strong letters of recommendation for you, attesting to your achievements. You’re at an advantage studying at UW Bothell because it’s a small campus, which makes it much easier to get to know your faculty and staff. Professors and administrators here love to engage in conversation with students. But you have to be proactive!
Keep up your grades
In order to be a strong applicant for the most competitive merit scholarships, you should have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.