Character Sketch Examples Essay For Scholarship

Examples of Follow-on Service Projects

Gilman Scholars have proposed and carried out a wide range of Follow-on Service Projects. As long as the applicant’s proposal will meet the goals of the Follow-on Service Project, there is no right or wrong projects. However, we encourage all applicants to propose a unique Follow-on Service Project that highlights their individual background, experiences, talents and skills. Listed below are some examples of projects Gilman Scholars have carried out. This is by no means an exhaustive list and we look forward to continuing to receive unique, individual proposals from all applicants. Remember, all projects must promote international education and the Gilman Scholarship.

K-12 Outreach

  • Conducting presentations on their country of study to local classrooms.
  • Working with a local teacher to connect with a U.S. classroom while abroad, via photos, letters, emails or Skype sessions, sharing information about their host country, experience abroad and the Gilman Scholarship.
  • Organizing and/or working with their university K-12 outreach program, to present and share information on their experience abroad and the Gilman Scholarship.
  • Participating in their local high school College Night to share information on study abroad opportunities and scholarships.
  • Working with/giving presentations on study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship to high school language or area studies classes.
  • Working with/giving presentations on study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship to programs that mentor high school students, such as Upward Bound.

Academic Department Outreach:

  • Development of a study abroad information page for the department or major website that lists a suggested academic timeline encouraging students to incorporate study abroad into their degree, in consultation with their department and study abroad office.
  • Organizing information on study abroad programs that offer coursework and academic credit in their field of study and links to Gilman and other scholarships and financial aid information that support these opportunities.
  • Presentations on study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship at academic club or honor society meetings.
  • Development of a brochure or informational flyer specific to the student’s academic department or field of study that is then posted in the study abroad office.
  • Serving as a mentor/peer advisor to potential study abroad students in their field of study.
  • Submitting an article to their academic department newsletter on their experiences abroad and the Gilman Scholarship either while the student is still overseas or upon their return.

Campus Office Outreach:

Students often propose to work with a specific on-campus office including the Diversity/Minority Services offices, Disability Services offices, Career Centers, Financial Aid offices, Student Leadership offices, and other campus offices. Examples of these projects include:

  • Promoting and encouraging study abroad opportunities and the Gilman Scholarship through presentations to student clubs and organizations and through office organized events
  • Posting information on the Gilman Scholarship Program in specific campus offices
  • Adding a web page to the office website that highlights study abroad opportunities, the Gilman Scholarship and information that would be of help/interest to students
  • Serving as an office representative at campus fairs and events by sharing information on study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship

Study Abroad Outreach:

This is the most common type of Follow-on Service Project students propose and can be very beneficial to increasing study abroad participation at your home institution. Consider consulting with the study abroad office to address any challenges or needs your home institution faces in order to offer support through your project and positively impact your campus and peers.

  • Volunteering or working in the study abroad office as a Peer Mentor/Advisor to potential study abroad students, sharing information about the Gilman Scholarship.
  • Representing the study abroad office and Gilman Scholarship at presentations/information sessions on study abroad.
  • Ensuring the study abroad office website has a Scholarship Information page and that a link to the Gilman Scholarship Program’s website is provided.
  • Submitting an article on their experiences abroad and Gilman Scholarship to the Study Abroad office newsletter for distribution or publication, either while they are still abroad or upon their return.
  • Developing an informational flyer/brochure on university-specific financial aid procedures for study abroad and available scholarships, including the Gilman Scholarship which is then housed in the study abroad office.
  • Participating in/organizing a Study Abroad Alumni society which assists returned and potential study abroad students, sharing information about the Gilman Scholarship.
  • Serving as a resource person for a specific country/program/field of study that would advise/assist potential study abroad students, sharing information about the Gilman Scholarship.

Other Outreach:

  • Submitting a weekly or monthly article on their experiences overseas to their campus or hometown newspaper while the students are abroad, thereby sharing information with a wide range of readers and including information on the Gilman Scholarship
  • Submitting an article or series of articles on their experiences abroad and the Gilman Scholarship to their campus or hometown paper upon their return to the U.S.
  • Working with another local organization to share information on study abroad and the country they studied in with their members
  • Presenting on study abroad opportunities and the Gilman Scholarship Program at Freshman Orientation or in First-Year Experiences courses thereby encouraging students to consider study abroad earlier rather than later.
  • Hosting a photography exhibit on their campus or in their community, sharing about their experience abroad, international opportunities that exist and the Gilman Scholarship
  • Presenting art created in or focused on their host country on their campus or in their community, including information on international education and the Gilman Scholarship.

Writing a Strong Scholarship Essay

The race to obtain scholarships can be fierce, and a well-written essay can place an applicant ahead of the competition. While each scholarship application will have its own unique requirements, understanding the basics can help with the process.

Analyze the Organization

  • Begin by researching the organization offering the scholarship; learn about its values and purpose in offering the award.
  • Read the organization’s mission statement to learn about core values and to understand the background of those making the decision. Gathering these facts will help to identify points in your own character or experiences that should be emphasized in your essay.
  • Locate background information on websites or on printed material published by the scholarship sponsors.
  • Contact the organization via email or phone for any additional information that is needed to complete the process.

Understand Your Purpose for Writing

  • Read the essay prompt several times to ensure a clear understanding of key elements.
  • Follow the guidelines for the topic, deadlines, and format for the essay in order to provide the scholarship committee with the information they expect.

Create Goals for Writing

Clarify the goals of the scholarship essay.

  • For example, the goal in responding to an essay might be to:
  • Demonstrate personal traits that are similar to the personal traits of the person for whom the scholarship is named. For example:
    • The Bill Buck Memorial Scholarship asks for a one-page, double-spaced essay on the applicant's career and personal goals and how his or her disability has impacted his or her life. Knowing about Bill’s altruistic character will help to focus the essay on how a disability has not kept the applicant from giving back to the community.

Begin the Writing Process

  • Begin by writing down the essay question, highlighting key words and instructions.
  • Break the prompt down into sections, looking for the specific elements required in each section and the required information.
  • Determine if the essay should be based on research or self-analysis.
  • Identify the purpose of the topic and what the audience (judge) is looking for.

The evaluation of character is based on more than just grades; the approach to challenges and evidence of a strong work ethic are also important factors. GPA may be some indicator of potential, but the ability to reach that potential is the characteristic that will set applicants apart.

Writing Style

  • Create a concise outline highlighting major points that demonstrate the qualities asked for in the prompts.
  • Use present tense and optimistic phrases to demonstrate community and civic involvement and highlight your personality.
    • Weak: I have worked with several health care agencies.
    • Stronger: I currently enjoy interacting with patients as a volunteer Nurse’s Aide at Flower Hospital and delivering food for Meals on Wheels.
  • Begin writing using vivid examples rather than just “telling.”
    Example: (Note vague adjectives creating nonspecific job activities)
    • Weak: I am really interested in medicine, so a lot of my time was spent on various activities of different natures at both the Red Cross and at the Toledo Hospital.
    • Stronger: My interest in medicine began when I was a Candy Striper and logged in over 500 hours of volunteer work at Toledo Hospital. It has grown in other capacities such as food delivery and transportation of patients, as well as volunteering as a first responder for my local Fire Department.
  • Use active verbs and precise nouns, and be concise.
    • Weak: I really like medicine, so for a long time I have worked with the Red Cross and at the Toledo Hospital.
    • Stronger: Because I am passionate about medicine, for over three years I have volunteered thirty hours a month administering screening questionnaires at the Red Cross Blood Bank and conducting patient orientations at the Toledo Hospital.
  • Create a strong introduction that pulls the audience in by raising a question or creating surprise.
    Here is a possible opening for a discussion of a student’s work with a Habitat for Humanity Project:
    • I am a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. I did not decide to do this work because studies report that 444,000 may experience homelessness or because 39% of these people are children. My reason for becoming a Habitat for Humanity volunteer was much simpler; I was one of those children.
  • Create logical transitions
    • Show the reader where he or she is going next and why it’s a logical next step.
    • Don’t use standard transitional phrases like, “Secondly” or “As a consequence.”
    • Try repeating the prior thought and connecting to the next task.
      Once I saw a smile in the eyes of the shut-in, I was hooked. I thought I could not spend enough time delivering meals to the ten lonely shut-ins.
    • Develop a compelling conclusion as in the introduction; don’t summarize.
      • Re-emphasize the main point or circle back to the beginning and tie the loop.
    • The body of the essay on delivering meals-on-wheels should have been about the student’s efforts as a volunteer, feelings about the difficulties faced by those who are homebound, and recognition of the importance of human contact. This story begs for a conclusion that answers the question, “Did the person continue to serve?”
      • One possibility:
        I continued my weekly visits to the ten shut-ins for over two years. Over that time period, I became very attached to the men and women on my route and looked forward to listening to their stories. Through my visits, I learned not only the importance of giving, but, more importantly, the value of human contact.

    Take Time between Revisions

    The most important component of the process is taking time to polish your writing.

    • Take a break between drafts and read each one out loud. This process will help you catch misused or missing words.
    • Use the Writing Center for trained reader feedback.

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