Applying for Scholarships: Preparing a Resume

Monday, July 28, 2014

Applying for scholarships can be daunting; however, getting organized and knowing what to expect can make the process go smoothly.  Throughout the year, we will be posting scholarship tips gleaned from scholarship providers and scholarship recipients to help you navigate the scholarship application journey.

Preparing a Scholarship Resume
Many scholarship applications (including NSHSS scholarships) will ask for a resume.  So, before you get started on your scholarship searches, first and foremost get to know yourself: prepare a resume if you do not have one. 

Preliminary work:
Create a list of all your accomplishments starting with the most recent ones.

  1. Begin with academics: GPA, academic awards, Dean’s list, math bowl champion, etc.
  2. Then add your leadership activities: officer positions in clubs and organizations, leadership conferences, captain of athletic teams, etc.
  3. Move to extra-curriculars: sports, band/instrument, clubs/organization memberships, hobbies, interests, science fairs, academic                                                                           camps, employment, internships
  4. Finish with your community service (include dates)
  5. References - most scholarship applications require an educator recommendation, so it is not generally necessary to include references on your application resume.  For general and employment resumes, you can include at the end of your resume:  References available upon request.  If you do wish to include references, be sure to ask for permission from your references and make sure that you have the correct spelling and contact information.

Note: In most cases do not include activities and awards prior to high school (unless you have achieved something truly remarkable, such as winning the National Geography Bee, or founding a charity at a young age).

Next, put a timeline together for your accomplishments. For example, if you participated in the debate team throughout high school and are now a senior, put “(4 years)” next to this entry.

Highlight anything that you wish to make yourself stand out--but make sure to include only information that will prove accurate if someone wants to verify it.  You can include a photo of yourself on your resume if you wish, but if so, be sure it is a professional quality color head shot.

Finally, pull it all together. Proofread and edit your resume carefully. You may wish to customize your resume for different categories of scholarships (academic based, volunteer focused, leadership focused, talent focused, etc.).  If you prepare various versions of your resume, make sure to name these accordingly so that you upload the correct one for a particular scholarship application.

Format your resume to be easily read and easily uploaded into an online scholarship application.  Include your full name and contact information at the top of the resume, including mailing address, email address, and telephone.  You can find various formats on the internet or create your own (enter phrases like "resume formats" in your search engine). 

One final tip: Update your resume throughout the year to reflect your most current information and keep careful track of the most recent version so that you upload the correct document into your scholarship applications.