AVAILABLE SCHOLARSHIPS: See Scholarship Blog for Running Calendar of Upcoming Scholarships. Information, deadlines, amounts awarded, and other helpful information is included.
Many students think that scholarships are only based on GPA and ACT scores. While these are both important, and are the 'baseline' for many scholarships, students need to do something else to win scholarships. That extra something is easy to overlook--so let's figure it out right now. That extra something is volunteer work. That extra something is community service. It's doing good in your community, whether through a formal organization or through your own informal and individual efforts. It makes sense when you think about it--many private scholarships are funded by private companies, and these companies want to reward service. The reason? Because an individual that is serving their community during high school is likely to continue serving their community in college and beyond. That is the sort of student the company wants to reward--the sort of student they want to succeed because they will not only bring success to their specific field of study, but also to the community they live in.
So...how do you become "that" student? Follow these tips:
1. Serve LONG-TERM. Complete service that is longer than one day or even one month--find something that you can really build up with time and effort. This shows consistency, dependability, and the ability to stick with an interest outside academics and athletics.
2. Serve with an established organization if you are unsure of where to start. There is no right way or right place to serve--so pick something that looks interesting and get started.
3. Begin your own service group / service project. If you see a need--do something about it. It can be local or global, but the goal is to make some sort of impact.
4. Be inspired by others--and follow suite. Once you learn what others have done, you won't settle for mediocre projects or personal commitments. Check out this link for recipients of the Buick Achievers Scholarship--Winners from 2013 for some great examples.
5. Keep a Volunteer Log. Record the dates and times you served, what you did, what you learned, and if possible, a signature from a mentor / advisor. The Volunteer Log will help you keep track of how much you are serving (too little? too much?), and can act as an artifact in a scholarship portfolio.
Most important, service is a wonderful way to reach outside ourselves and help others. If you need help getting started or finding a project you would like to be involved in long-term, just ask for help.
Utah Volunteer Center http://heritage.utah.gov/userveutah