Don’t forget your family.

I know that we miss some incredible stories every day when our applicants write scholarship essays and mention absolutely nothing about the role they play in their own families. Let us say this clearly: your role in your own family is not as important as your school activities – it’s more important. Hey, let’s be honest: School will be over in a few years, but your family is around forever. Members of the cheerleading squad or the football team or the science club will forget your name in 10 years (trust me, it’s true — I’ve been to class reunions.), but your family never will.

Probably the biggest crying shame in the entire world of scholarships is that, for years, thousands of excellent students have been passed over for scholarships. They are the students who have had no time to participate in extracurricular activities because they had to care for their families or work paying jobs to do so. Worse yet, those students are made to feel like they shouldn’t even apply, because they’re not “active” enough.

That’s the biggest and most unfair load of garbage I’ve ever heard, and don’t let anyone sell it to you. If you’re so busy with family responsibilities that you can’t involve yourself in student organizations, then you may just have a stronger application than those who do. But remember: We can’t give you credit for your family responsibilities if you don’t tell us what they are! So by all means, if it’s applicable to you, go into detail about how you spend time doing things for your family.

In the particular case of our company’s scholarships, we’ve always given heavy weight to “work ethic,” and that’s as applicable to those who work hard in their homes and at paying jobs as it is to those who work hard on the varsity field or inside the school walls. Our unwavering advice for scholarship essays is this: Tell your story, regardless of where it takes place.

2 thoughts on “Don’t forget your family.”

  1. What if you spent your all extra time at part time jobs? How do I make that sound like I am some kind of superhero?

  2. WOW! You just described me! I have absolutely felt like I wasn’t “active” enough, but the reality was that I would leave school to go to work. I have passed up many scholarship applications because I didn’t think I had good enough qualities. I never thought of looking at my hardships in this light. I will absolutely describe my story in this light in my essays from now on. Thank you helping me see my situation in this light. I wasn’t a star athlete because I was working to help pay the rent that month…

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