For current students interested in pursuing professional development opportunities
All of us wish to apply and get selected to opportunities. Having that coveted scholarship, an internship with your dream company and winning a challenging competition is a way of proving our mettle and also taking one step closer to our goals.
But when there is a lot of competition, how do we differentiate ourselves? How do we pick up the skills needed and build a profile that reviewers cannot say no to?
Let’s now look at some activities you can take up in this regard.
1. Own project
Doing a project is a great way to learn deeper about your interest areas. By practically working around themes of your choice and actually demonstrating outcomes, you portray that you have acquired the required skills to accomplish such outcomes. It also shows that you have practical, hands-on experience along with theoretical understanding.
2. Publishing your work
It is important not just to do things but also to talk about it or in other words, publish information online. Whether you do a project, work with an organization or win a competition, it is always good practice to share news about it along with your learning. So how did you find that volunteering opportunity? How did you prepare to win the competition? People like to know these things and you sharing all this information will only add to your accolades and make you deem trustworthy.
- If you code, try making open source contributions.
- If you have a leadership role in an organisation, write about your experiences, challenges and impact.
- If you are doing a project or researching on something, try and get it published in a journal or present it at a conference.
Volunteering with organisations is a great way to experience leadership, teamwork and also participate in creating real impact. You pick up a lot of real-world professional skills as well.
4. Conferences and Meetups
Conferences are networking events where you meet and interact with like-minded people. Attending conferences around your area of interest is a good starting point for you to network and discover the kind of activity happening around the space.
5. Involving in Communities
Communities are a thing these days. They are best known for bringing people with similar interests together and foster shared learning among them. Depending on your interests, locating and joining such communities might help you connect with people of similar interests and also learn from them.
6. Keep applying to opportunities
Keep applying to opportunities no matter what. Every time you apply, you learn something new and over time your application and knowledge about what works best for you become more clear.
It is only through experience that you can craft an application that truly stands out. It takes time, effort and requires you to keep applying until you break the code.
More guidance on writing a winning scholarship application
I’m Arya Murali, Director at Rethink and a recipient of multiple international scholarships (The WeTech Qualcomm Global Scholarship, Grace Hopper Scholarship, Fully sponsored scholarship to attend Google I/O). At Rethink, I help students in writing winning scholarship applications. So far, I’ve worked with 7000+ students and helped them secure scholarships worth 1 Million USD.
I have now compiled the guidance and tips around writing winning scholarship applications as a podcast. The episodes talk about topics such as discovering opportunities, dealing with your insecurities, creating your resume and writing compelling essays.
It’s short, useful, engaging and is designed for current undergrad and grad students. The podcast is quite recent and I roll out an episode every Saturday.
Here’s the link to my podcast: Writing A Winning Scholarship Application
But if you would rather read the content, then you can read my handbook that captures all my guidance and tips on handbook.aryamurali.com.