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Have you thought about applying for a scholarship ?

'be one of those people who do ask and if you work hard then a scholarship is easily within your reach.'

As I approached year 11,  I asked myself what I wanted to do next.

And so in year 10 I started looking around local colleges. All of them had good qualities; however I felt that with science and drama as my main subjects that perhaps I needed to widen my field. I dreamed of a college where I could release my full potential and grow into the person I aspire to become, having extra-curricular opportunities and a science and drama department that I could flourish in.

So I began to look into scholarships, with the phrase “you never know if you don’t ask” running through my head. I must have sent for about 10 prospectuses from both private and public schools. With my mentor, Mrs Wayde’s, help I researched the schools that most interested me. After thinking and discussing with my parents, my family and I thought that it would be better for me if I went to a school in the Norfolk area.

My parents and I looked around the Leys College, Cambridge, The Norwich School and Gresham’s. I then decided to take academic and drama scholarships at Norwich school and Gresham’s. Mrs Wayde gave me advice on how to prepare for the scholarships.

 I put together a portfolio of my greatest achievements ranging from my first school up to the present and also wrote a summary about myself and my aspirations and my main life experiences (e.g., what I have learnt from some of my travels, how I have benefited the community). My mother took me to buy a blazer and skirt, as I believe that first impressions are vital and so I ensured I would look my smartest. With the help from a mock interview workshop at school and with Mr Spalding I received advice on how to improve my interviewing skills. I made sure I had an answer for questions that may be asked and also a string of questions to ask and most importantly I learnt that the main thing you need to be in an interview is yourself.

The scholarships did push me a little bit out of my comfort zone but I believe that it is all part of the experience. Even if you are not successful in actually gaining a scholarship, I believe it is still worth it, as you gain so much confidence. After my scholarships I didn’t try to think about what it would be like to get one, as I thought the chances of me getting one were pretty slim. It turned out that I got three out of the four scholarships I went for. I still can’t believe it and I am so glad I did ‘ask’.  I have accepted a place at Gresham’s School with two scholarships and an additional bursary grant. I believe Gresham’s is the school that suited me most and I am certain I shall be very happy there.

If scholarships interest you then you should seize the opportunity with both hands. The best advice I can give you is to just look and investigate different colleges, and to work as hard as you can at school. Get involved in as many activities as possible within your school, giving yourself more and more opportunities. You may think, as I did, that gaining a scholarship is unachievable but in reality it isn’t. Colleges offer Scholarships and Bursary funding and if you try for one it could be you who they give their money to. “You never know if you don’t ask”, be one of those people who do ask and if you work hard then a scholarship is easily within your reach.

Jodie Randell