10 Tips for Writing Your Scholarship Resume

Fall scholarship season is officially upon us, and so is the potential for big awards for students preparing to complete a certificate or associate degree or planning to transfer to a four-year college or university.

Through Phi Theta Kappa, approximately $520,000 is available now through December 1 on the Fall Scholarship Application, including the Hites Transfer, Guistwhite and GEICO Bachelor’s Degree scholarships and the All-USA Community College Academic Team Scholarship. An additional $37 million in transfer scholarships is available on CollegeFish.org – many exclusively for Phi Theta Kappa members. And the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship application is open now through December 2.

Scholarship applications are something nearly all students will face at one point or another in their college career, so it’s important to know the ins and outs of what makes an application successful. One key element is your scholarship resume.

“For many scholarships, the application will be your only chance in front of the judges, so you have to make it count by making a good impression,” said Christin Grissom, Phi Theta Kappa’s Director of Scholarship Operations. “A scholarship resume is a great resource to help you clearly outline goals, engagement, education, awards earned and leadership experience often required on applications, and it’s an excellent way to organize your accomplishments.”

Kaplan Higher Education, a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses, shares these 10 tips for writing your scholarship resume.

1. Keep your scholarship resume relevant. 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.

2. Limit your resume to one page. Use a font that is easy to read. The font size should be between 10 and 12; your headings may be larger. Ideally, margins should be one inch.

3. Be specific and truthful. Be complete, descriptive and specific without being too lengthy. Always be truthful and accurate without exaggeration.

4. Accuracy is important. Make sure your resume is organized and very neat. It should be free of any spelling or grammatical errors. Have an instructor, classmate or supervisor proofread and critique your resume.

5. Always use action words. Avoid passive or weak phrases.

6. Omit all personal pronouns. Examples include “I” and “we.”

7. Be consistent. Consistent punctuation, verb tense, dates and spacing gives your resume a neat and organized appearance.

8. Use bullets to list your achievements. Bullets help draw the reader’s eye down the page and convey that your resume is organized and concise. Begin each bullet with an action verb.

9. Personal information is irrelevant. This includes religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, marital status and age.

10. Organize your resume. You can organize your resume in many different ways, but the following order works well. Use it as a guide to help you get started.

  • Resume header: Type your name, address, phone number and email address at the top of your resume.
  • Career goals: In a couple of sentences, discuss your career goals. Keep this section concise, but include enough detail to show your reader that you have a plan for your future.
  • Work experience: Beginning with your current or most recent job, list your work experience. Include both part-time and full-time employment, if applicable.
  • Education: List your high school and any college courses you have completed and/or degrees conferred. Include your cumulative GPA only if it is 3.0 or above.
  • Honors and awards: List any honors and/or awards you have received.
  • Honors courses: Mention any honors courses you have completed or if you are taking courses beyond the standard course load.
  • Courses attended: Record any seminars or training courses attended (e.g., Red Cross training).
  • Languages: List your language skills.
  • Computer experience: List any and all experience you have with computers, using the actual names of the programs you are familiar with (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).
  • Memberships: List any affiliations, memberships and/or associations you belong to, including any leadership roles. Include any school-sponsored clubs and/or honor societies.
  • Community involvement: List any volunteer work or community activities.
  • Enrichment activities: List any enrichment programs, travel programs and/or hobbies that have expanded your educational experience.
  • Athletic achievements: Include any athletic achievements or memberships.
  • Visual and performing arts: List any achievements in the visual and performing arts.

Find more scholarship resources, including a sample scholarship resume, here.

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