Thursday, April 29, 2010

Played Paddleball

No, not me. I didn't play paddleball. I had the honor of being on a committee to select 20 high school seniors to receive $200 scholarships. There scholarships in various categories - and the number of applications varied, so sometimes the decision was easy, sometimes difficult.

But I learned a few things.
1) If you have the opportunity to fill out a scholarship application - even if the scholarship is a small one - take it. Three students won scholarships because they were the only applicant in their category.

2) Well-rounded is good. The kids who had a variety of activities and jobs really shone through as being active and interesting. Sometimes there would be an application filled with events and honors - but they all had to do with one thing, for example dance competitions. And that's great, but I found myself wondering "does this student do anything else?"

3) Don't be afraid to sell yourself. Some of these kids took what would be a simple or minor activity and made it sound pretty stellar. More power to them for being able to present themselves in a positive way.

4) If you have been doing biological research on a molecular level and are creating new organisms (and you're still in high school) chances are you'll win lots of scholarships.

5) If all you've done in your four years of high school is "play paddleball", maybe it's better not to bother filling out the application at all. (Which goes against "thing I learned number 1", but still...). Honestly, we had one application where the only things filled in were that the student had made the honor roll (these are Gifted and Talented scholarships, so honor roll is pretty much expected) and was in the paddleball club where his/her (identities were shielded from us) responsibility was to "play paddleball."

I don't believe in stressing my kids out with dozens of activities, but I do hope that by the time senior year of high school rolls around they have more to put on an application than "played paddleball."

And to apply that to a greater life lesson. If you were filling out an application right now - would there be more than one thing on it? Has life outside of high school continued to be well-rounded? Or do you just "play paddleball"?


PJ Hoover said...

LOL! This is great advice and also funny :)

Christine Marciniak said...

It was interesting, to say the least. I have new respect for admissions people at colleges. :)

Barb, sfo said...

Great post! Big Brother has talked about some of his friends, honor students all...many are involved in a variety of things (some academic, some service, some just plain fun, some sports) and others do absolutely nothing but sleep and study. Guess who get scholarships!

Your experience will be a big help to both your kids when it's their turn to apply for colleges & scholarships.

Christine Marciniak said...

It may be cliche, but it's true, that seeing a number of things on the application makes the student seem stronger and more deserving. That may not be true - but we have nothing to go on except that piece of paper!