Scholarship application process fosters career preparation

Whether young people are successful in obtaining a scholarship, the process is a beneficial journey for career preparation.

In addition to winning or receiving a scholarship award, applying for scholarships has another benefit for students entering higher education (college, technical or trade school). Scholarship applications and the scholarship process can prepare students to enter the workforce. Michigan State University Extension suggests that we can think of the scholarship process in the same way as a job search. There are similarities between searching and getting a job, and searching and receiving a scholarship.

First, like jobs, scholarships are out there for students to find. There are ideas in place for students searching for scholarships. The actions of searching for scholarships helps students build the skills to search for future jobs.

Once students find the scholarships they qualify for or fit their interests for higher education, they can begin filling out the scholarship applications. As compared to the job application process, filling out good scholarship applications is a key to the scholarship process. Scholarship applications can start the process of allowing the committee to see the qualities and attributes of the student. To help the committee learn who the student is, applications have different or additional requirements through questions and other types of information they request. For example, there are some scholarship applications that require resumes and references or letters of recommendation.

Like the scholarship application, résumés assist the committee to learn more about the student applicant. The scholarship résumé reflects the student’s goals, achievements and accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and references. For a student, references are caring adults such as teachers and other adults who can advocate on behalf of a student and explain their skills and accomplishments. References advocate for students through the recommendation letters they write or by filling out a reference sheet where they rate the skills or other qualities of students. Résumés and references assist in workforce preparation for the student because both are needed in the job application process.

There are some scholarships that require interviews. Interviews allow the scholarship committee to match what is on the scholarship application and résumé with an actual student. Interviews allow the committee to learn even more about the student who applied for the scholarship through a question and answer session. Scholarships that require interviews are positive steps for students in career preparation. Students entering the workforce from school, have to interview for jobs for which they are qualified.

In conclusion, students should try to apply for many scholarships. Applying for scholarships will not only give students a chance to win free money for higher education, but it will give them experience for skills transferrable for career preparation, such as searching for a job, writing a resume, receiving recommendation letters and interviewing. Michigan 4-H Youth Development has career resources to help students learn about and practice these skills. Applying for scholarships has a positive payoff through possibly financing higher education while gaining experience in career preparation.

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