So you’ve decided to apply for a scholarship. Good one. As the U.S. Government Federal Student Aid website states, it’s free money for college or career school
They suggest you find and apply for as many as you can!
But to achieve your goal and win a scholarship, you’re going to need a resume that reveals your merits and puts your application on top of the pile. We are here to help you write one.
Resume objective for scholarships
According to Federal Student Aid, some scholarships cover the entire cost of tuition while others only cover a partial amount.
Many are merit-based, some awarded based on academic achievement other on special talents of interests. Some are based on students’ financial needs.
Some scholarships are intended for specific groups or categories of applicants, women, graduate students, or military families.
They are offered by all kinds of bodies including foundations, organizations, businesses, and federal agencies. Each has its own requirements, and you will need to study the application requirements carefully.
Many scholarships are available via universities and colleges that help students get them. Career centers will usually help with advice.
Many scholarships specify that students should include a scholarship resume that outlines their personal accomplishments and discusses their educational and career goals.
We scoured the internet to find guidelines for writing scholarship resumes from reputable universities and colleges. Most suggest adjusting a resume you would use to apply for a job to reflect the requirements of a scholarship resume.
Kaplan Higher Education, which is based in Washington, suggests starting your resume with your career goals, followed by your work experience, and then your education.
The career goals section should be short and concise but should show those awarding scholarships that you have a definite plan for the future.
Their career goals statement is essentially a resume objective that is designed to capture the attention of readers.
Sophomore student studying aerospace engineering seeks a scholarship to cover a master’s degree. Mission to research the challenge of space debris.
Resume skills for scholarships
When you write the skills section of a resume for a job of any sort, you focus on the skills you have in relation to the skills required to do the job.
The skills you include in a scholarship resume will be similar but focused more generally on the field of study you need a scholarship for. If you have committed to a specific career path, your skills will be in line with this.
Ultimately, the skills that you list might be anything from computer and software skills to languages that you speak.
Remember that we all have hard skills that we have learned, usually to be successful in a certain field, and soft skills including integrity, honesty, communication, leadership, and time management or people skills and teamwork.
Soft skills are vital for everything while hard skills are more specific. But usually, employers require a combination of both.
While you will definitely need to highlight the hard skills you have learned so far during education and training processes, your ability to manage time, and deal with people and difficult situations, are just as important in scholarship resumes.
Just be sure that the skills you list are relevant to your scholarship application. For the purposes of the example below, let’s say you are studying computer software.
Database management | Network security | Mobile development | User-interface design Storage systems and management | Python, Java, Ruby | Communication | Teamwork | People skills | Dependability
Scholarship work experience
Essentially, because you may not have reached a stage in your life where you have relevant work experience to show, a scholarship resume becomes a document that outlines your life experiences and accomplishments.
The College in Colorado (CIC) suggests highlighting accomplishments, activities, and leadership roles.
Other sources highlight the value of having volunteered because this unpaid work can speak mountains about your abilities as well as your commitment.
Michigan University offers support services to first-generation college students in their TRIO SSS Program. These are students whose parents haven’t completed undergrad studies at a four-year university.
Their advice to students writing resumes when applying for scholarships or college admission can be used by anyone.
They emphasize that, like any resume crafted for a job application, experience is the main section of a scholarship resume.
They stress that you should always begin lists with action verbs like performed, persuaded, facilitated, communicated, introduced, recommended, controlled, or managed.
You also need to be concise, but it’s good if you can be specific about the outcomes and goals you have met, and if you can mention numbers. For example, how many projects did you manage or how many people have you persuaded?
They also advise omitting personal pronouns like I and me.
Sample Work Experience
Environment and Natural Resources Division, CO
Law Student Volunteer, 2018
Volunteered for 10 weeks after completing second-year law to get experience in the civil enforcement of federal pollution control laws and defending challenges to environmental regulations and agency actions.
- Worked as a law clerk drafting legal memoranda and drafting portions of briefs and written discovery.
- Presented 8 oral reports on short research assignments relating to the listing of endangered species.
- Attended more than 20 settlement and planning sessions with client agency counsel and technical experts.
- Attended and assisted with witness interviews after local site visits.
Sunrise Children’s Foundation, NV
Donated time in an endeavor to give back to the community after high school graduation before enrolling for a social work degree.
- Helped look after toddlers and children at the Sunrise Children’s Home in Las Vegas.
- Assisted at 6 fund-raising events for the Foundation.
- Supported mothers of children being helped by the Sunrise Children’s Foundation, boosting their self-confidence and parenting skills.
- Implemented a research project to learn more about the families assisted by the Foundation.
Warehouse Volunteer, 2016
Spent a summer high school vacation volunteering throughout the company warehouse. Assisted with movement, storage, inventory, and preparing shipments of consumables and equipment.
- Achieved the training promised that led to warehouse orientation and orientation with the consumable inventory manager.
- Working under direction, transported packed boxes from sorting areas to designated areas inside the warehouse.
- Built pallets for storage and pulled boxes for shipment. Assisted in loading containers.
- Proved able to maintain a clean and safe work environment at all times.
The educational path you are currently following will depend on your career choice. Since you are applying for a scholarship you may not have graduated – though many graduates do apply for scholarships to be able to study further, undertake research, and specialize.
In the education section of your scholarship resume give basic details about the college you are studying at, the degree you are studying for, what your majors are, and when you are due to graduate.
Also, be sure to include academic and non-academic awards, honor roll mentions, published work in the field you are studying, and any previous scholarship you have had.
If the scholarship you want is aimed at academics with high marks, include your GPA, but only if it is higher than 3.0. Ideally, your major GPA will be even higher than your average, so include that too.
Generally, it isn’t necessary to include high school information, unless you are a freshman or you passed with exceptionally good marks.
Some colleges, including CIC, suggest putting your education stats at the beginning of a scholarship resume.
After sampling dozens of resumes to see which were the most effective, we concluded it is a good idea to list your education after an objective or statement of intended achievement if you don’t have the experience to show.
American University in Washington, DC
Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, 2017 – 2020
- Consistent GPA 4.0
- Enrolling for a Master’s in 2021
As a university student, the focus of your studies will be on your degree. However, there are often courses that can help increase your knowledge in certain fields, like computer and software skills. This depends on your interests and the career path you have chosen.
Mention these on your resume as well as any relevant seminars or training courses you have taken.
Scholarship applications often call for a scholarship essay or writing sample that you should submit together with your resume.
According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it should be about 300 words long and should start with a short introduction about yourself and your study plan.
If you already have a degree and are applying for a research scholarship, you need to detail your proposed research project, concisely explaining the purpose of your research. Include information that shows why and how the project is relevant.
Then summarize what you expect to learn and what skills you hope to develop. Include evidence of previous experience, for example, a research paper you presented at a conference.
Getting a research scholarship is a very competitive process, and it is vital that it is well written. If your writing skills aren’t up to scratch, consider taking a couple of short courses to improve them.
- American Red Cross CPR
- Microsoft Office
- Python 3.5 Programming Language
- Creative Writing & Editing
- Professional English Writing Workshop (3 weeks)
Complete scholarship resume sample
We are going to use the advert below to show you how to craft a resume when applying for a research scholarship.
Dean’s Graduate Scholarships are available to students enrolling for a Master’s degree at the New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study that allow students to design their own program to meet their career goals.
You will see that there are four scholarships available, each of which offers a further choice in a particular discipline.
These scholarships are only available for the first two semesters of their degree. They are not available in the fourth and final semesters when students are required to complete a thesis.
Terms of the application are clearly stated, and you will see that a writing sample (a short scholarship essay) is required. This is not included in the sample resume as it must be submitted as a separate document.
Remember that your objective, skills, and experience must all be relevant to the area of study you choose, as well as your proposed concentration.
BA Journalism graduate seeks a research scholarship in the Humanities – journalism and critical writing.
Communication | Confidence | Determination | Reliable | Objective | Ambitious | Enthusiastic | News writing | Computer | Research | Teamwork | People skills
Volunteer Content Writer, 2020 – ongoing
Writing articles that highlight the critical threat of pandemics like COVID-19. Focus on bringing content ideas to life with intending messaging.
- Delivered more than 40 articles, blog posts, and media snippets for use in the FightPandemics campaign.
- Collaborated with the company’s branding team to internalize the personality of my brand with the content I write.
- Assisted with marketing and advertising for the campaign.
- Developed and expanded online writing skills.
Simons Foundation, NY
Summer Writing Intern, Quanta Magazine, 2018 (3 months)
Worked 40 hours per week as a paid intern developing writing, research, fact-checking, and other important editorial skills. Topics were primarily scientific.
- Assisted editors and senior writers with research and fact-checking.
- Contacted scientists and press officers to verify information and get supporting material for articles and blog posts.
- Researched, pitched, and developed 25 feature news articles.
- Managed the magazine’s general email inbox.
The New Republic
Editorial Intern, 2017
Worked as an intern for three weeks to learn more about journalism and writing skills in an environment that offered exposure to contemporary culture, politics, and the arts.
- Undertook research for editors.
- Checked the facts in internet feature articles.
- Assisted in web production (WordPress).
- Did some copy-editing.
- Carried out administrative and organizational tasks as required.
New York University Gallatin School
Enrolled for an MA in Journalism, 2021
The City University of New York, Lehman College
BA in Journalism, 2017 – 2020
- Dean’s List Academic Award recipient
- Multilingual Media (Spanish)
Writing a resume for a scholarship is similar to resumes created for job opportunities. Like job resumes, scholarship resumes need to capture the attention of the person or committee that decides on which applications are worthy of attention.
- Resume objectives aren’t obligatory, but if included in the form of a short statement that outlines your career goals, an objective can make your resume stand out on a pile of documents.
- You need to identify the skills that are relevant to the scholarship you are punting for. Always include both hard and soft skills to show your learned knowledge and those that relate to your personality and approach to your career.
- Listing work experience can be a challenge, especially if you haven’t done any work in the field. That’s why it’s usually a good idea for students to volunteer in their fields of interest and/or get vacation (or longer) internships.
Tips from Experts
“A neat, well-written resume could assist you in your search for scholarship funds. Many scholarships require students to include a scholarship resume that outlines their personal accomplishments. Your resume is meant to introduce you and your background to a scholarship committee that has never met you. Stress the things that are most positive about you.” Kaplan Higher Education consultant
“All scholarship applications require a current resume which will be reviewed as carefully as your application. Your resume may include relevant experience and any record of community service.” – University of Massachusetts Amherst
“Scholarships are gifts. They don’t need to be repaid. There are thousands of them, offered by schools, employers, individuals, private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups, and professional and social organizations.” – Federal Student Aid, An Office of the U.S. Department of Education
You are ready to take your career path to a new level and need a scholarship to help you do this. That’s why you need a compelling resume to help boost your chances.
Use the tips we have provided in this article, but also be sure to meet the requirements of the college or organization offering the scholarship you are applying for.