04 Oct Scholarship Tips from All the Wisdom and None of the Junk: Share Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Arrogant
College and scholarship applications ask students to write hundreds of thousands of words all centered around themselves, and yet reviewers repeatedly say that arrogance is the number one thing that will turn them off from reading a student’s file. At the same time, there are students each year who are declined from selection processes not because they aren’t incredibly competitive and compelling, but because they’ve failed to fully own their achievements.
We get it. It’s a mind-bender.
That’s why we spend one whole section of our book, All the Wisdom and None of the Junk detailing strategies for how to own your accomplishments without sounding arrogant.
The trick to striking the right balance between humility and confidence is to objectively discuss your achievements in a straightforward and factual way. This will invariably serve you better than being overly humble and therefore masking your impact or being overly proud and thereby overstating your contributions.
So if you’re the president of the club, don’t tell us you “participated.” State the fact that you led it…and then stop short of aggrandizing yourself with modifiers that can rub committee members the wrong way. We give actual examples in the book, but some of these inflated adverbs are “single-handedly,” “expertly,” and “superbly.”
Simply tell us what you did and leave it to us and your recommendation writers to praise you for it. Better to quantify your contributions (like citing the number of people served or dollars raised) and let those accomplishments speak for themselves.
For deeper insight into this tip and other secrets of applying for college admission and scholarships, check out our new book All the Wisdom and None of the Junk. It gives students inside information – but only what they truly need to create exceptional college and scholarship applications. Learn more.