Get to know the Scholarship Portfolio

Aidan Harris, Reporter

Dear all students 9th through 11th grade: 

The time to start preparing for senior year is NOW. Scholarship Portfolios are the main stressors of senior year. Every December and January seniors scatter around the school, hurriedly putting together their portfolios, which they should have done months ago. This stress could have been completely avoided if they just would have started preparing for it before the due date.

A sure way to create a scholarship portfolio that will earn the most donations as possible is to start preparing for it as soon as you begin high school. You are bound to already have a full plate during your senior year, so preparing early will make it easier for yourself.  This sounds a little silly and overly proactive, but it really is the best thing to do. There are community service hours to acquire and certificates to be earned. The best thing to do is get involved in the school and community as soon as you can.

However, it is hard to start preparing early when you do not even know what to expect. This letter is to help all students to understand what to anticipate for their scholarship portfolio. This way, you will not be overwhelmed once winter of senior year rolls around.

The basic requirements for your portfolio are: a title page, a statement of purpose, a personal data sheet, two letters of recommendation, and four pages with pictures of your accomplishments and interests. The title page will include a picture of yourself with a caption of your name below it. The statement of purpose will tell the story of an event that bettered you as a person or influenced your character. It is recommend that you record any event that is important to you and changed the way you see things. This essay should also should include what career path you want to take and how you decided on that occupation. Also, a benefit to finishing this part early is you then have time to give it to any English teacher to revise.

The personal data sheet includes all of your community service hours, awards and honors, community activities, work experience, interests, and future hobbies. This is the page that I recommend you start preparing for now the most. It takes years to gather up impressive amounts of community service hours and awards. You could do it the month before you turn in your scholarship portfolio, but that makes it harder to earn hours.  The most important advice for your data sheet is: you cannot lie. It is smart to get involved in the community NOW so you can show it off in your portfolio later. The letters of recommendation are from your teachers and adults that know you very well. I would just prepare for this by being nice to all your teachers so you know that they will be willing to help you with the portfolio when you need it.

Lastly, is the four pages with pictures of your certificates or hobbies. It is important to keep EVERY certificate; trust me, you are going to need it. I did not know this, so I was careless, and by senior year,  I only had about two certificates. This meant I could not really prove all of my accomplishments that I wrote on my personal data sheet. Also, I would recommend every time you are volunteering or  doing anything with the school take lots of pictures so you can document them in these four pages. If you have a heart-warming statement of purpose, stellar data sheet with impressive accomplishments, and extraordinary pictures, you will maximize your chances of earning scholarships.

Now my last piece of advice is do not, under any circumstances, wait until the night before to print out your scholarship portfolio. I foolishly tried to do this, and it turned out horrible. My computer broke completely just as I was started to print my paper. That means I had to restart the whole entire portfolio on a different computer, without my pictures. This could happen to you. You never know what problems can occur until they actually happen to you. Learn the easy way and avoid having any complications by printing out your portfolio at least a week before it is due. This could also be beneficial because you can show your printed portfolio to any counselor a week before and they can tell you what to improve.

Now, if you are already completely overwhelmed from all this information, try to understand how much worse it would be if you were a procrastinating senior. It does not matter what grade you are in,  the only time to panic if  you are not prepared by senior year.  Hopefully this letter will save you the stress of running around last minute to put together a mediocre portfolio. If you start preparing now, you will surely have an impressive portfolio that will earn loads of cash. So take a deep breath and get it started.


 Scholarship Portfolio Yoda