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Writing Applications: Making your Accomplishments seem as big as possible

A photo of colakid123 colakid123
Any ways you guys do this? tips?
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A photo of ktel ktel
I've written tons of scholarship applications but still feel like I don't know how to do this. I usually try to emphasize how my accomplishments helped other people, myself and the general importance of the accomplishment (how many people you were competing against, etc.)
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A photo of g93 g93
I'm not going to claim to be an expert. I really haven't done that many applications (I'm sure ktel has done sooo many more than me). But, a few things to keep in mind that I have been told or are common sense:

1) Don't stretch things too far - honour roll is good and all, but chances are everyone in your program was on honour roll too. It doesn't make you a God. If you volunteered and ran a fundraiser benefiting impoverished children in Africa, and raised $5000, end it there. You didn't solve world hunger. it's great what you did, but you're no Mother Theresa.

2) Tangible results - this applies to work experience, volunteerism and extra curriculars more. It's cool that you worked at McDonald's and were "a dedicated, reliable employee" and provided "excellent customer satisfaction", but it is better to say "improved efficiency of drive-thru by 22%" (note this is a crappy example and might not work totally well with McDonald's)

3) Relate - what are you applying for? Try and relate your accomplishment to what you are applying for. This isn't always possible (eg. if you just have to list your awards) but if there is a spot to explain or if it is an interview, then do it. If you are applying for a job as a landscaper, and you are a top-ranked triathlete, you could say that you have great endurance, are able to work well in heat, are physically fit, and work very hard. But if you merely say you are a triathlete that is really good, the interviewer is going to have to make those connections on their own. You don't want to rely on them doing so.

4) Size of competition - as ktel mentioned, this lends to the general importance of the accomplishment. This could work for you and against you, so be careful when you include it. If you are the top scorer on the Euclid Contest, you might want to say that you were first of however many thousand competitors. But if you just won an award for having the highest mark in some class, let's say Business Leadership, and there is only 16 people in your class, it might be better to leave that out (unless they ask for it, then be honest)

5) Be Honest - don't lie about things. There could be severe consequences if you lie about your ECs (stories of people getting kicked out of university, for example). Going along with # 1 as well, don't say you were the top in your school if you were recognized as being top 5% or something. Unless you were actually awarded it, don't claim it.
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A photo of cherrypie725 cherrypie725
Be sure to explain not only how you were able to help others, but how you personally developed from this activity in terms of leadership skills, etc.


@g93 wrote
5) Be Honest - don't lie about things. There could be severe consequences if you lie about your ECs (stories of people getting kicked out of university, for example). Going along with # 1 as well, don't say you were the top in your school if you were recognized as being top 5% or something. Unless you were actually awarded it, don't claim it.



Before I ask, I would like to say that I have absolutely no intention of lying when I apply for scholarships next year. The reason I'm wondering is that I would be really mad if someone actually did this, and I'm sure it happens because there are a lot of dishonest people out there. But, how do scholarship judges actually know if someone makes something up? Obviously school activities are fairly easy to verify, but what about some obscure community music ensemble, for example?
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