Each year, Ball State University’s Department of Journalism offers nearly $8,000 in freshman scholarships. The Freshman Scholarship application closes Feb. 1, so here are some tips for putting together a great application.

Provide a variety of strong clips

The application asks for 3-5 clips, so include only your best work. If you don’t have five great clips, then don’t send in three good ones and two mediocre ones. Don’t feel pressured to send more than the minimum — but if you have five, definitely send them all!

Also, be sure to send in a variety of clips. Show that you can write news, sports and feature stories; or you can design news spreads and infographic pages. Or maybe, you can do both writing and design, so make sure to showcase that. Variety shows that you have a diverse set of skills and have knowledge in multiple areas, making you a more appealing candidate. That being said, if you are a fantastic writer and an average designer, it’s okay to just include writing clips. Remember, these clips are meant to showcase your best work.

Have an online portfolio

The application gives you the option to provide a link to an online portfolio, and you absolutely should do it. Online portfolios give you the freedom to give your site a bit of personality and include all of your clips from print, online and other platforms.

Update your resume

You also have the option to upload your resume to the application. This would be extremely beneficial to you because it would show the selection committee what relevant work you’ve done that would make you the best candidate for a scholarship. Here are some tips for updating your resume:

  • Include work relevant to journalism first. This could include positions you’ve held in your high school media, any internships or volunteer work that are related to media (maybe you ran a social media campaign for a local nonprofit), skills you have with related programs (like InDesign, Illustrator, WordPress), awards you’ve won (at state/national contests), etc. Make sure to describe what you did/what roll you played in each project/position if you have the space.
  • Then be sure to include your leadership positions in various organizations (whether in school or outside of it), accomplishments (Honor roll, NHS) and any other involvement.
  • Also make sure you include your contact information and your educational history (including your high school and GPA).
Be intentional in who you pick as your recommenders

Obviously if you have an adviser, that person needs to be one of your recommenders, but make sure to pick another adult from your high school who can really attest to your work ethic and accomplishments. Choose someone you have a pretty good relationship with, whether it be a coach, tutor or other mentor.

Don’t be afraid to apply for as many scholarships as possible

There are eight freshman scholarships to apply for, and don’t be afraid to select as many of them as you can. The scholarship lists who the preferred recipient would be, but if no one who fits that description applies, then you could be selected! Just make sure you match the actual requirements first.