When I found out that I had been selected as a 2017 Loran Scholar, one of the first things that friends, family, and interviewers said to me was, “wow what did you do to win?”
Immediately I got caught up in trying to rack my brain to think of what it was that I had done that made Loran choose me. After approximately two minutes of strenuous thinking I began to laugh at myself. There was not one specific thing that I did to win the Loran Award. I didn’t
practice interviews with my principal for hours on end, or rehearse a script of all the things I did in high school. The honest answer to why I won the Loran Award (and if you are a nervous grade
twelve looking for the best tips to look good on paper, run away now), is because I went into the room being exactly who I am every day.
National scholarship programs do not care about how well you can shake a hand, or how well-spoken you sound when they ask you a personal question. Honestly, some of them probably don’t even care how amazing you look on paper once you get to the interview portion. Major
scholarship programs like Loran care about you. They are interested in your passions, insecurities, fears and goals. Not all of them want to know about how many hours you spent
volunteering at Relay for Life or at the local food bank (although that is very important), they want to know why you spent hours with these organizations. Some major scholarships are not
looking to hand out cheques to the best-on-paper candidate in the country, they are investing in
you. Programs like Loran see something in you that they want to foster and push to do amazing
things, not someone they can dispose cash to.
If I can tell you two things that I think you should take away from this, it is that:
- Major Scholarship programs like Loran are not about the money (no matter how many
times your uncle says, “now that’s a big cheque.”) These programs are programs not
scholarships for a reason. They are not just going to hand you the money and leave you
alone. They are going to check up on you (often), and their support is exactly what you
are going to need to make a difference in the future.
- The most important thing, hands down, to do in an interview, is to be yourself. Do not be
what you think the interviewer wants. Do not agree with the interviewer if they say
something against your morals or beliefs. Be your true self and make your mark.
If you read this entire article and are sitting here thinking “who the heck is Blair Crawford,
and why does she think she knows everything about scholarship programs?” Well, you might be
right. I did not go into Loran finals with a 99.29% average or with overwhelming amounts of
volunteer experience, and I am definitely not the most credible person to give scholarship advice.
I went into my Loran interviews with my goals, passions, inspirations, and honestly a lot of
stress sweat! I am not saying that this will work for everyone, there are lots of scholarships that
are looking for the highest GPA and largest amount of service hours. There are hundreds of tips
on how to succeed in an interview, how to write a perfect resume and how to out dress your
competition. I am not saying that those tips and tricks aren’t important, because they are, but if
you want a National Scholarship Program like Loran, be prepared to be yourself.
2017 Young Fund Loran Scholar