Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

“Scholarship weekend.” These words were ridiculously important to me during February of 2012. Sewanee University had invited me to their campus to vie for one of their prestigious (note: lots of money) scholarships, and Sewanee was one of my top schools, so I was obviously very excited but didn’t know what to do on one of these weekends. If you have been invited to a scholarship weekend, here are some do’s and don’ts I recommend for the whole process.

Things To Do

1. Make sure you have nice interview clothes. I was lucky. I had received some clothing gift cards and my best friend is a fashionista, so a week or so before the big weekend, we went to the store and she made me look all excellent. I still use those outfits to this day. I assure you, if they say they expect “nice clothing”, take it to heart. Borrow, purchase, whatever—just make sure you have good options.

2. If necessary, request financial assistance for travel. If you don’t live near the school that’s requesting your presence, they will possibly foot the bill. Some schools like Sewanee will be upfront about their willingness, but others may need some prodding. Don’t be afraid to ask. They want you to come, so they should be able to make that possible.

3. Ensure you have everything necessary for travel. You need some form of ID. This will probably be a state-issued ID, although if you’re under 18 they might allow you a school ID. But don’t take any chances. You don’t want to be held back due to a technicality. Other necessities include toiletries, clothing (as previously mentioned), other (light) luggage, and perhaps even a passport, if said university is across seas or borders.

4. Upon arrival, be awesomely courteous. The admissions officers deciding who receives the scholarships will definitely be watching. Everything you do should be in your best behavior. Speaking of your best behavior…

Things Not To Do

1. Go to parties. This is beyond not the time to go to your first college party with the cool new folks you met. It just isn’t a good idea, and, with some schools, it’s probably prohibited. If you’re caught intoxicated or doing odd things that tend to happen at college parties, you could get kicked out of the program and maybe even permanently rejected/rescinded from your dream school.

2. Talk whacky on social media. This is especially a no-no if you’ve already joined the Facebook group for your class. Be a good child. There are often older students and admissions officers who are members of those Facebook groups. They’ll be paying attention.

3. Ignore your student hosts. These are students who attend the school you want to be at! They will not only probably be evaluating you after the fact, but also are excellent resources to take advantage of. They’re at the place you want to be at next year! Don’t ignore them–ask them questions!

4. Ignore or rudely treat your fellow scholarship seekers. Sure, this is definitely a competitive time, but these could be students you will one day attend school with—plus it looks great if you’re seen as amicable and sociable. However, the “don’t ignore or rudely treat” rule goes for basically anyone you meet while at the program. This is not a time to make enemies.

5. Say what you think they want you to say. Obviously, one doesn’t want you pulling a Paris Geller in one of your interviewers, but the reason you’re being brought to this school for this big opportunity is so they can get to know you better. Let them. Be yourself, just the… well-behaved version of yourself.

Well prospies, the scholarship weekend can be a big one, especially if you really need the financial aid. Scholarship weekends have higher stakes than your typical financial aid processes. With merit-based, the kind of money you’re being offered is only offered to a small pool of students and this makes the situation highly stressful. Despite this, try not to think of the high-stakes situation you’re in as just that and try to enjoy yourself. You’re at your favorite school, with hopes to attend for less money. Turn the experience into what it is: being provided a chance to talk more and stand out from the crowd to your admissions officers. Seize that! Enjoy it! Good luck, kiddos.

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After applying to 21 schools partially for the fun of it and getting accepted to 17, Aida Guhlin decided on Texas A&M and is ecstatic about it. Aida is a sophomore, and since she’s noticed that there aren’t many others (yet) at The Prospect, she has to say that she is the loudest, proudest member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2016 ( A-A-A-A-A!). In Aggieland, Aida majors in Geography, minors in English, and is working to figure out whether minoring in Biochemistry can be thrown into the mix because she has some funny dreams to work at the CDC. She loves Doctor Who, food, the sadly cancelled Bunheads, and reading books. When not writing articles for The Prospect, she hopes to be accepted to A&M’s new literary magazine staff “The Eckleburg Project” and has fun nerding out at Quiz Bowl practice. She also works as a writing grader for one of the writing centers on campus, editing the errors of students. While Aida currently is hiding from her Twitter account as the school year rushes in, Instagram will get you videos of her puppy, her brother, and pictures of random things that she finds while walking. Also, if you have no idea how to say her name, say this aloud: “I-eat-a fajita.” You’re good.

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