What are you going to do after you graduate high school?
You probably get asked that question a lot. But you already have an answer: trade school! You’ve found the place that will train you for a stable, lifelong career in the HVAC industry.
But the bigger question is, how are you going to pay for it?
Tuition and living expenses might be worrying you. An HVAC scholarship can help offset your tuition and other costs, but don’t be surprised if a lot of other people are applying for those same scholarships—they almost certainly are.
Scholarship committees go through a huge amount of applications before narrowing the applicants down to just one person. How are you supposed to stand out among a bunch of other equally qualified people who all want the same thing?
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A compelling personal statement can make all the difference in catching the committee’s attention and being passed over.
A personal statement translates into better odds, and we’ve got five tips that will help you wow the committee.
1. Start Drafting Your Personal Statement Early
You don’t want to wait until the last week or two before your application is due.
Start thinking ahead of time about how you want to present yourself:
- Your educational background
- Your life experiences
- Challengers and personal setbacks you’ve overcome
- Why you’d benefit from the scholarship
- Why you’re the right person to receive the scholarship
The earlier you start, the easier it will be to write a winning personal statement.
2. Create a Rough Draft of Your Statement
So you wrote your personal statement. You’re all done, right?
Wrong. Writing a personal statement with that “wow” factor is hard, and it will probably take a couple of tries to get it right.
Write down ideas that you want to include in your personal statement. Your rough draft should contain information relevant to your HVAC training program:
- Educational qualifications
- Life experience
- Personal goals
- Specialized knowledge
You want your draft to be a detailed outline about you and why you would make a great candidate for the scholarship. You might also want to include information about the cost of your training program and what financial resources you have at your disposal.
If you apply for multiple scholarships, make sure that you adjust each personal statement to the scholarship for which you are applying.
3. Identify a Theme
Next, you need to organize your personal statement. It needs to have a clear theme and purpose if it is to be memorable and make an impression.
You want to tell a story that clearly shows who you are and what you’re aiming for in your education and career. It can take on a number of forms:
- Why you chose to pursue HVAC training
- A particular specialty you want to learn
- An event or person who has helped you learn the responsibility, self-discipline and perseverance
4. Follow Instructions
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget even the basics of applying when you’re trying to organize your thoughts and put together a knockout application.
Check the information provided by the organization’s website to confirm that your statement meets the requirements. If you’re submitting more than one scholarship application, make sure to look up the specific instructions for each one.
At the same time, bear in mind that scholarship granting organizations receive lots of applications. Scholarship committee members may not have the time or will to read a statement that doesn’t meet basic requirements.
5. Check for Errors
Attention to detail counts for a lot when you’re submitting an application.
Once you have finished writing your personal statement, check it for any errors: factual, spelling and grammatical. Reading your statement out loud can also help you catch things you might have overlooked.
A second (or third) pair of eyes can go a long way in catching mistakes that you’re blind to. If you’re already taking courses at a technical school, you may be able to get help from a counselor or advisor. Otherwise, consider asking a friend and/or family member to go over your statement.
Writing a winning personal statement is hard, but putting in the effort can seriously raise your chances of getting the scholarship you need to afford HVAC training.
If you want to learn more about finding funding for your training, check out our guide to HVAC scholarships.