Our philosophy is embodied in a simple slogan: "It's not the prize but the process that matters."
Being a viable scholarships candidate typically entails the careful composition of an honest and compelling narrative regarding how your life experiences, scholarly interests and achievements, ethics, and personal aspirations constitute a coherent whole. Applying for a scholarship can significantly enhance healthy self-awareness and offer, as a byproduct of hard work and a touch of luck, the chance to earn a potentially life-changing opportunity. Win or lose, applying for a scholarship can be inherently satisfying, and the self-presentation skills and personal insight you can develop in the process can make application to graduate school, jobs, and other scholarships more rewarding than might otherwise have been the case.
Many of the scholarships put greater emphasis on cumulative GPA (many seek candidates at or above 3.75) and/or leadership qualities than do others. Those that emphasize leadership will seek evidence that you are a "change agent"—that you possess the insight and commitment to identify and address issues of societal or global import and can motivate others to act as well. However, you do not necessarily need a long list of distinctions to demonstrate leadership qualities because a particularly revealing incident or a strikingly original initiative can sometimes enable a scholarship selection committee to see significant leadership potential in you.
If you think you are interested in pursuing a scholarship and hope to make the process worthwhile, make yourself an informed explorer and be prepared to work hard—perhaps harder than on any single college assignment other than your senior thesis. Carefully read the websites of the scholarships of interest and start writing early; for instance, it is advisable to have first drafts of application essays by mid-June for scholarships with campus deadlines in September. The most effective and satisfying applications are end products of a long process of writing, reflecting, discussion, and rewriting, rewriting, rewriting.
The scholarships with which the Dean's Office is most familiar generally require candidates to be nominated or (as in the case of Fulbright) evaluated by a campus nominating committee; all such scholarships are identified with an asterisk on the list of fellowship opportunities.
Whatever type of scholarship might interest you, there are people at Haverford who will do their best to advise you; if you are interested in seeking such assistance, contact the CCPA. Although the scholarships with which we are most familiar are almost exclusively for advanced study after college, it is arguably never too early to have a conversation regarding whether you might be a plausible candidate for a scholarship. In addition, it is also usually never too late to explore your options, as many candidates have applied successfully after graduating from Haverford. Everyone, from first-year students to alumni, is therefore welcome to be in touch.
One last bit of advice...
Haverford's Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC) provides opportunities for current Haverford students to pursue projects both domestically or abroad that lay at the intersection of their scholarly training and their desire to promote peace, social justice, and global citizenship. In conjunction with a focused personal academic program, community service, and/or other internships, a successful CPGC project can help lay the groundwork for viable applications for future scholarship opportunities offered by organizations external to Haverford College.