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HONORS SCHOLAR PROGRAM. Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. ~ Yeats Presented by Barbara Clinton, HCC Honors Program bclinton@highline.edu.

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honors scholar program


Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.


Presented by Barbara Clinton, HCC Honors Program


personal statement
  • What is it and why should you care?
  • What should you put in it?
  • How do you get started?
  • What makes one effective?
what is it and why should you care
What is it and why should you care?
  • A Personal Statement is an essay about you…that can leave an impression of you beyond your transcripts and activities.
  • Impression Management can make the difference between being seen as unique and desirable or being seen as ordinary or unacceptable.
  • Many colleges are relying on personal statements and teacher recommendations more heavily in their admissions decisions than on transcripts.
what should you put in it
What should you put in it?
  • Answer the question!...
  • But read beyond the grammatical structure of the question to look for overlaps between the questions for different schools, and between schools and scholarships.
  • Most schools and scholarships really are asking for you to tell them something about
    • Your academic history
    • Your academic and career goals
    • Any hardships or challenges you’ve faced
    • Your experience with different cultures
    • Why you want to go to that institution
    • Why the institution should want to accept you.
  • To begin, make notes on specific facts that answer each of those questions.
how do you get started
How do you get started?
  • FIND A “STORY”: Spend some time thinking creatively and some time chatting with family and friends, thinking back over people in your life who have influenced you, significant books you have read, experiences that called for extraordinary responses and left distinct memories.
  • LET GO OF PERFECT: There is no single perfect story for you to write. There are dozens of choices. The one you want is the one that strikes a chord, lights a fire in you…the one that will feel good to tell.

THE CONTENTS ARE WHAT MATTER: It’s what’s in the car that matters, not the type of vehicle you’re driving. But the vehicle can make the ride more or less comfortable, let you squeeze in more or less contents, and make you look flashy or dull, expensive or cheap. Choose your vehicle carefully, but still remember …

it’s the contents that matter most.

  • Begin anywhere—middle, end, beginning—just start to write. Generate a rough draft of three pages or more for this two-page statement. Give yourself something to work with.
what makes one effective
What makes one effective?
  • An introduction that grabs the reader. (Members of the Admissions Committee are reading dozens of these each day. Make yours a “vacation” for the reader, a trip, a relief from the tedium.)
  • Pictures: You don’t like to be told what to think; neither do admissions readers. Remember the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words?” “Paint a picture” of yourself that gets the readers to draw the conclusion you want. Show, don’t tell. You want the readers to think you are responsible and hardworking? Show yourself acting that way.
  • Facts: Remember the contents…don’t just say you have academic and career goals; name them specifically. Don’t just say you’re a good student; give the evidence.
  • Homework: Check out college websites before you apply. Make certain they have the program you want to study. Find a class you’d be excited to take or a prof. who’s doing cool research. Include them.
hcc honors a program to be proud of
HCC HONORS—a Program to be proud of
  • Student Participation and Achievement:We piloted the program in spring of 2003 with 15 students. Spring term of 2004 ended with about 75-100 in the program, with graduates that year amassing over $150,000 in scholarships, grants, and aid as they continued on to four-year schools. Today participation soars.
  • Fall term of 2009 we begin with about 200 active Honors program participants and will end spring term with over 250.
  • The Honors Program students who graduated in ’09, reported themselves to be taking with them

Scholarships & Financial Aid worth over $2.5 million.