Scholarship Advice For Students’ Strengths And Weaknesses

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Forest Adventure Obstacle Course

Obstacles in your way? That’s child’s play for the destroyer.

In my work helping students with scholarships, I end up giving a lot of the same advice—because a lot of the students share the same traits. I have come up with the following “archetypes” to describe the strengths and weaknesses these groups of students share. Check them out to see where you fit!


(Note: This is meant to be a light-hearted post with tidbits of actual advice splashed in. There are scholarships for every kind of student—not just the archetypes listed. Enjoy!)

The Obstacle Destroyer

You are an unstoppable beast. You’ve crushed every obstacle that has had the unfortunate luck of being placed in your path. You’ve beaten the odds when the doctors said you couldn’t—twice. Despite everything you’ve been through, you fight for your dreams with grace and poise.

Your scholarship strengths:

You’ve got courage, dedication, and an awesome story. You are an inspiration to others, and this will show in your scholarship essay. If your story is truly compelling, you might even be able to get away with having a lower GPA and fewer extracurricular activities than the average scholarship applicant.

Your scholarship weaknesses:

If you are not careful, your fight could come across as a sob story. Yes, you have overcome a lot in your life (and that is truly inspiring), but you should focus more on how those obstacles have made you stronger and less on the hurdles themselves. Remember, what makes your story powerful is the contrast between where you started and where you are now.

The Good Heart, But Small Résumé

You are passionate, driven, and have big dreams. You’re single-handedly saving the world, one step at a time. You donate to charities, build houses in third-world countries, and are politically active. You won’t rest until you know you’ve made a difference.

Your scholarship strengths:

The work you do comes from the heart, and you are very passionate about the causes you are active in. Scholarship providers look for applicants with “purpose,” and you’ve got that in the bag.

Your scholarship weaknesses:

Because of your benevolent nature, you may downplay your accomplishments and miss out on scholarship opportunities. You may not think that running a half-marathon and raising $1,000 for charity counts as community service, but a lot of other people would. Be proud of your accomplishments and include them in your scholarship application!


You run this campus: president of the student government association, founder of two clubs, and featured on your school’s marketing materials—yeah, you’re a leader. You’re BFFs with every administrator and opinion leader. You may not have the best grades, but with a network like yours, who needs them? Every day is a constant struggle to keep your résumé to just two pages.

Your scholarship strengths:

There is no doubt in the scholarship provider’s mind that you are going to be somebody, someday, somehow. You’re a powerful force who revels in the spotlight, and you will have no problem impressing the judges with your résumé.

Your scholarship weaknesses:

As a student leader, you tend to focus solely on your accomplishments, but fail to provide a sense of who you truly are. Scholarship providers are looking to get to know you as a person and want to hear about your thoughts, fears, history, and dreams. Open up in your scholarship essay—and you’ll have a great chance at taking home the grand prize.

Sound familiar? Let us know which archetype you are in the comments! (#TeamPOTUS)

(Photo: xcode)

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