Are you in Year 11?
Have you heard of people in the year above applying or getting scholarships and thinking they’re just for the exceptionally gifted types?
Indeed, there are merit scholarships out there that are based purely on academic results and designed to encourage the brightest sparks to study a certain course, at a particular university.
BUT – there is also a whole range of equity scholarships available to students, where eligibility is based not just on your academic performance, but also your involvement in extra curricular activities and personal circumstances.
One such scholarship is the Early Offer E12 Scheme at The University of Sydney.
While you will need to do your research to check your eligibility for each particular scholarship – a common criteria for most, is to demonstrate your involvement in extracurricular activities, and more importantly – the leadership skills and qualities that have been fostered in you through your involvement.
It’s important for Year 11 students to avoid falling into the trap of dropping everything to just focus on studying during Year 11 & 12. Extra curricular activities not only provide a bit of life balance by giving your brain a break from study and allowing you to pursue non-subject related interests during senior high school, but they also help in contributing to your personal development in a way that academic studies never could.
How do I fit it all in?
Well, the good news is that a lot of things you’re probably already doing will count as legitimate extra curricular activities. Things like playing in a sporting team, learning an instrument, having a part time job, helping out at your family’s church or mosque, or even looking after family members eg. babysitting younger siblings or caring for an older grandparent on a regular basis.
All of these activities require commitment, passion, dedication, good time management and organisational skills. Others also require you to demonstrate responsibility, trustworthiness and reliability.
These are all valuable leadership skills and qualities that equity scholarship selection panels are looking for, because they indicate that you’re a person who will make the most of a scholarship opportunity – a “safe investment” in other words.
What else can I do?
Of course there are a thousand different extra curricular activities out there, including taking part in SRC leadership positions, school committees or initiatives, fundraising, or volunteering. If you’re thinking about getting involved with something new, my big tip is to make it related to something you’re interested in, or even better, something that links to the future career or course you might like to undertake.
This will show a deep level of commitment to your chosen career pathway from day one, something that scholarship selection panels love to see!
For example, someone interested in Vet Science might look at volunteering in an animal shelter or getting work at a pet shop or vet. Someone interested in writing, the Arts, media, communications or journalism etc. might like to become a regular contributor to this very magazine!
So, if you’re in Year 11 or Year 10 and considering applying for scholarships down the track, start thinking ahead about ways to get involved in your school or community.
Look beyond the classroom. Develop leadership skills and qualities that will not only strengthen a scholarship application, but set you up all round for life after school!
Sydney Uni Open Day is coming up on Saturday, August 27. We’re running Thinking Ahead workshops that can help put all this stuff together. You can register for free right here.
Let’s do it visually. Here’s all the skills and qualities we talk about in Thinking Ahead. Is this you? Could this be you? You’re already reading about it. Seems like you’re onto it.