The Power Of The Portfolio
Clinching a scholarship can be extremely competitive and cutthroat. Do not underestimate the use of a well-prepared portfolio to help you stand out from the crowd.
Let’s face it, it takes more than a stellar academic record to really impress these days. As the competition for scholarships gets tougher each year, relying on straight-As is no longer enough. When competing against other applicants who have results just as good as yours (if not better), you need something to really show that you can stand apart from the pack.
A strong personal portfolio is one of the tools that can be used to distinguish yourself from your peers. Showing solid examples of what you’re able to achieve is a good way to let potential scholarship providers know that you’re a talent that’s worth investing in; having an impressive portfolio might even be the key to getting that offer over others who might have performed better academically.
If you’re looking to maximise the impact of your portfolio, here’s some things to keep in mind.
Show Off Your Strengths
Include activities that you’ve contributed to or participated in that really show your strength, and make it clear how. For example, any voluntary work that you’ve done, interest groups that you’ve taken part in, competitions that you’ve been a representative for your school or community in – anything that shows your talent, personality, and gives scholarship providers a good idea of what drives you is great.
Once you’ve decided on the activities that you’ll be including in your portfolio, make sure you present them in a way that highlights exactly why these activities are accentuates your strengths. Perhaps you managed to balance your time well and organised a charity performance for your neighbourhood while still meeting your commitments in school. Remember, sometimes proper phrasing can make a difference.
Get Strong Referrals
While testimonials are a great addition to your personal portfolio, keep in mind that you don’t want your entire portfolio to consist only of testimonials. Try keeping it to a couple; perhaps a teacher who can strongly attest to your accomplishments, positive attitude, and commitment, and a community leader whom you’ve worked closely with that can vouch for your contributions to the community.
Display Your Work
Especially for those pursuing opportunities in the creative field, having a portfolio with examples of the work you’ve done can really help create a strong impression that can land you that scholarship offer. You’re not restricted to projects that you’ve done for school. Designers and photographers can consider including personal design and photo projects, while programmers can talk about websites or programmes that you’ve created in your free time.
Keep It Concise
One thing your portfolio should not be is a collection of anything and everything you’ve ever accomplished. Pick the activities and experiences that are the best reflection of your skills and abilities; remember, the scholarship provider is going to have sift through hundreds of other applications, and isn’t likely to have the time to read through the encyclopaedia of you. Make it a quick, snappy summary that provokes curiosity and prompts them to ask you more during your scholarship interview.