With today’s high cost of tertiary education, a university scholarship is highly sought after. The way you communicate can rank your application above the others. Your ability to communicate with confidence, to articulate your unique qualities, what you will do with the academic opportunity of a scholarship and explaining the value and purpose of any community/volunteer/co-curricular activities is vital.
Most scholarship panels want to award the scholarships to the “whole” person not just an academically successful person. Sure academic success is often essential to make the short list but add to this the ability to communicate well, will assure the panel that this applicant is more likely to succeed in their goals. Being able to explain concepts, influence and inspire, is far more persuasive than those who find face to face communication awkward.
Often those students who achieve high academic results are not always so gifted when it comes to presenting to groups of people, be it a formal presentation or interview. This is reinforced in my experience of many of my communications skills coaching clients achieving academic excellence in the fields of science research, law, information technology or finance. This academic excellence can often be a double edge sword they may lack the connection skills to engage to who they are speaking to.
Our Australian culture is humble, most of us find it awkward to talk about ourselves particularly when we are put in a situation to “sell” ourselves, such as an interview. Often we gloss over amazing acts and experiences that benefit society because of our humble, friendly and helpful nature, because “that’s what we do”. These acts can cause positive ripple effects that form the fabric of our society. For example coaching a junior football or netball team, being a positive role model for youth or volunteering our services for free in the community or overseas. So when it comes time to speak about these experiences they may barely get a mention, when they are a true insight into the caring human beings we are. I like to get to know my clients and encourage them to bring these experiences to the forefront, giving my clients the skills to speak about the “whole person” they are. Their academic, career and community success and experiences.
Recently I attended the Prestigious Scholarship Expo at Melbourne University. I spoke at length to each of the scholarship exhibitors. You may wish to consider the outcomes of my conversations with the exhibitors when preparing for your scholarship application:
- Academic results + other entrance criteria will reduce the applicants to a short list that proceed to an interview stage
- Every scholarship on offer at this expo (with the exception of the Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships) interviewed their applicants, some more than once.
- Scholarship decision making panels were wanting to know the applicants on a deeper level:
- wanting to know what this scholarship means to the applicant
- how they would use their education and how could they give back to society
- what other interests the applicants were involved with
- What other community, volunteer or industry practice they had, why and how this had developed them in their field, developed their social awareness and personal growth
There are many scholarships available for study out there. More information about the scholarships at the Prestigious Scholarship Expo can be found on their websites:
Westpac Bicentennial Foundation www.bicentennial.westpacgroup.com.au
Menzies Foundation www.menziesfoundation.org.au
John Monash Foundation www.johnmonash.com
The Rhodes Scholarships www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/australia
Schwarzman Scholars www.schwarzmanscholars.org
Endeavour Scholarships and Fellow Ships – Australian Government Department of Education www.internationaleducation.gov.au/endeavour
At Train to Speak we provide training and individual coaching in communications skills for business, career and personal success. Contact us to learn ways to connect with audiences, tell your unique story to inform, influence and inspire.