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Secrets to Dressing for College Scholarship Success
Are you looking for ways to increase your college scholarship success rate?
Most scholarship essays and applications can be worked on at home, in the comfort of whatever clothing students happen to be wearing at the time.
There are instances, however, that call for letting go and getting out of favorite pairs of jeans, pajama pants, and/or sweats.
This would be for:
- The scholarship interview
- Dropping off a scholarship application packet at a sponsoring organization
- Participating in a scholarship competition with a group of peers
- Meeting with a college financial aid officer and/or admissions rep
I’d like to share with you a true story of a real scholarship competition participant and exactly what the student’s parents experienced on that exciting day of competition.
This is from the mom’s point of view:
The night before the competition, which was for a full-ride scholarship at the university my son had his heart set on going to, I advised him to get his dress clothes ready to wear for the next morning.
He balked, looked at me as though I had lost my mind, and questioned why he would need to wear nice clothes to the competition.
I told him he must “dress for success” and that there would be admissions officers, college representatives, and quite possibly scholarship judges there observing the students.
He had spent weeks carefully preparing the various components of his scholarship application, so why would he show up in an old pair of jeans and t-shirt?
It was very clear to me. Unfortunately, he did not see or understand my point of view, but fortunately, he complied, albeit grumbling and wondering if he would be the ONLY one dressed up at the competition.
The next day was the scholarship competition day!
We set out early to make the long drive to the university and got there with plenty of time to spare. As we entered the building where most of the competition would take place, I couldn’t help but notice the major lack of students wearing dress clothes.
What we saw were holey jeans, very short skirts, ratty school hoodies, and lots of t-shirts.
My heart sank a little, but I held fast to the knowledge that dressing for success is an important skill and that first impressions are very important in all walks of life.
My husband and I sat beside our frustrated and a rather cranky son and heard him grumble again about how NO ONE else was dressed up. We then started looking around very carefully and spotted two boys professionally dressed in shirts and ties and a few girls looking very nice in conservative dresses.
I absolutely love my teenager, but needed a few minutes away from the daggers that his eyes were throwing my way and walked over to look at a table set up with university information.
Standing there by the table was the admissions representative that had given the presentation the first time we had visited the college a few months prior. I couldn’t help but confess to him that my son was upset with me and my husband about our request for him to wear his nice clothes for the competition.
He shared with me these words (to the best of my memory),
“Your son is one of three boys and two girls that we have seen today that dressed up. We have already noticed him!
It is amazing that for a full-ride scholarship more students don’t take this competition seriously and dress nicer. We have seen several holey jeans and lots of too short skirts.
You did a great job by having your son dress appropriately. It is very hard for kids of this age to stand out, but in this case they should want to make a good impression and be noticed.
They could win a full-ride scholarship today!”
You can only imagine how thankful I was for his understanding words and excited that he had noticed my son! As he finished talking to me and I wandered away, my son started walking towards me.
He was stopped by the same admissions rep, who complimented him on his attire and told him how important it was to dress for success.
I don’t know exactly what he said to my son, but I do know that all grumbling ceased at that very moment. We won’t find out for a while if he won the scholarship, but I do know that dressing for success was the right decision and I am so glad that my husband and I stuck to our guns and insisted that our son dress up.
Isn’t that a GREAT story?
It’s all true and I can’t wait to find out if that student had college scholarship success.
I also know that this mom has read my scholarship guide and knows the importance of presenting a whole scholarship package, not just the bare minimum.
A few more pointers for students about scholarship competitions and interviews:
- Read over the essay that was originally submitted
- Research the company, organization or founder of the scholarship
- Be prepared to share what makes them different from other applicants
- Have a compelling reason for how the scholarship money will be used
- Know the “why” behind the award (read this)
- Have questions to ask the interview(s) ready
- Follow-up within 24 hours with a hand-written thank you note
How do you feel about dressing for college scholarship success?
You may also like: College Scholarship Judge Reveals Winning Secrets
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Monica Matthews is the author of How to Win College Scholarships. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has “been there, done that” in regards to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.
Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets and more, have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars.
Monica’s scholarship tips have been featured on many prominent websites and she has been dubbed the “Go-To” expert on college scholarships.