Scholarships and Fellowships – Chapter 2 – Making your application stand out

Scholarships and Fellowships – Chapter 2 – Making your application stand out


The experts agree that there are
a number of ways you can make your application stand out from
the pack. It begins with expressing your passion and showing the impact
of the work you propose to do. It’s important for the students to
prepare the application thinking about how they feel about the research
and why they’re excited about it, why this is an important problem
that’s worth them putting their time and energy into. And if you
are excited about it yourself and you try to get that across in the application,
that goes a long way. Because if, if the person writing
the application doesn’t seem to be excited about the problem,
it’s really hard for me to get excited about the idea
of supporting that application. Show clearly that you have a
thorough knowledge and deep understanding of your field.
Have your previous supervisor read your application, if you want.
It’s a great way of providing an appropriate description of the project. So an opening sentence that grabs
the reader’s attention and then leads into what they
really would like to do. Even though they may not solve
any of the world’s big global challenges but at least show they’re aware of
them and show that they can see where their research may ultimately play a role
in dealing with some of the challenges of the day. You don’t want your previous
thesis research to be a copy of what you’re going to put into
your proposed research. So forward looking things in
your proposed research, really illustrating your creativity,
highlighting what your strategy is to get the work done that you want to do, what the impact of what
you’ re going to do, how it’s going to impact essentially not only your, your colleagues in your research
lab but also perhaps Canada or the world. When you describe your accomplishments,
it’s important to make sure that reviewers are aware of your academic achievements and
the contributions you have made to advancing science. In the free form section following
the description of the contributions, we’re looking for the impact that
applicants have had in their fields. This involves everything that can show
that the work has been used. It can be citations. It can be someone
who uses the work in real life – anything that shows that the work
is important and has had an impact. Communicate how you’ve been successful
in the past with your research. So including not only what you’ve
achieved, but also any roadblocks that you had to move through,
any hurdles you had to overcome. Did you have to find any equipment
to make your research work? Tell me a story about yourself and,
and how you’ve really grown as a researcher and as a person that,
that wants to receive this investment. It’s very good if the student has won
awards for those oral presentations. The student must make sure that
they point that out. I’ve seen examples where the student
neglects to tell us that they’ve won an award, but fortunately,
they get a letter from someone who says look, at the regional
conference in whatever the discipline was, this student
won first or second place for their oral contribution.
Things like that are really important. Elaborate on, on what your role
was in each of the publications, your three most important publications.
Or if you have one publication, one publication, that’s fine, but really explain
what your role and contribution was. It’s not always easy to discern
from the author list, if you’re not the first author,
what your contribution was. And even if you’re second or
third or even later author, you could have played a key role
in that, so explain what that is. Members of the Selection Committees
also look for attributes beyond your research abilities.
It’s important to point out your strengths in other areas, such as
community participation and communication. We’re looking to support people
that bring the science out of the universities and into the
communities and into the industries. We’re looking for people who can
lead our country forward in science and that’s only done if we see that there’s
evidence that people really want to do that. Are they interested in being involved
in their university groups? Are they interested in going into
the community and showing their passion for science?
Can they communicate with their fellow scientists and their fellow
students about what it is they do? So it’s the extra things that really count, and
particularly communications and leadership. So if they, they need to really be able
to show, they can’t just say that they were secretary of the whatever
society at their university or that they were a social convenor.
They need to indicate what they did and activities like that,
and showing that they have developed their communication skills,
that all goes together with helping them to get a higher score in the competition. It’s the chance where you get to free
form and free style your application and it’s really important to take the time
to integrate that information together into a complete package that really
reflects who you are. And that includes things like
dance classes or music or sports that you may have been
part of as well. Volunteer opportunities are a really
great chance for the committee to really understand who you are.

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