While we all dream of seeing our names and photos published in national newspapers, for most people it’s a good idea to be realistic and stick to the scholarships that you might actually win. There’s nothing at all wrong with remaining optimistic, but applying for a scholarship that you are not qualified to receive is just a waste of everybody’s time. Before you square your shoulders and stride off on a quest to seek out and conquer the ultimate scholarship, pause and take a moment to answer these questions—out loud or in your head, I don’t care which.
- Have you ever had an award presented to you by the President of the United States or any other world leader?
- Did your high school teachers unanimously decide to award you grades of 5.0, because 4.0 just wasn’t good enough?
- Has one of your inventions ever saved a starving village during a drought and/or famine?
- Have you ever scored in excess of 100 points per game in any sport (golf does not count)?
- Did you compose your first piano concerto while wearing a pair of Huggies Pull-ups®?
- Has CNN ever done a news story about your accomplishments that did not begin with the words, “The fire chief traced the source of the inferno to…”?
- Have you discovered the cure for any kind of cancer (even an obscure type)?
- Did you play the lead in your school’s fall production so brilliantly that Will Smith showed up for the final performance, and then asked if you would co-star with him in his next blockbuster movie?
- Do you think that I’m grossly exaggerating the expected accomplishments of a high school student to make you feel like a loser?
- Are you ready to work hard to find scholarships that you can realistically win, then do all the tedious steps it takes to fill out and submit the applications in time?
If you could not answer “Yes” to any of the first eight questions… congratulations! You are a NORMAL person, despite what your sibling has been telling you all these years. Unfortunately, your normality will probably exclude you from winning any huge national scholarships with a virtual parade of zeros following the first number. I’ll cheer you on if you want to try, but don’t feel too disappointed if you fail to win a National Merit Scholarship Award. Remember, I warned you.
If you answered “Yes” to question #10, then good for you! This attitude is all you really need to succeed in the scholarship game, so check back soon for more advice on which kind of scholarships you should apply for.
(Photo: President Barack Obama meets Vidal Chastanet and Nadia Lopez and is photographed by Brandon Stanton for the “Humans of New York” blog in the Oval Office. February 5, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza))