At this time of year, regardless of all else that is happening in the world, there will be many pupils who are thinking about applying for scholarships, November is indeed National Scholarships month. The concept behind a scholarship is to reward the individual for their outstanding achievement in a specific area of endeavour. At Leweston we offer scholarships in seven different areas (music, drama, art and design, academic, pentathlon, equestrian and sport), but I am often asked the very sensible question, ‘should I go for this?’
This is, like so many, a multi layered question. In the first instance, my answer would be simply to look at the reasons for not applying. If you believe you have the talent and meet the criteria, then go for it, there is never anything to lose. The very act of application is itself a learning tool. The process teaches us to focus our minds on what makes us suitable for an award and what makes us stand out from others. It allows each applicant to learn how best to ‘sell’ themselves and understand how to put across their strengths and achievements in a clear and concise manner. I am always hugely impressed by the letters of application and even more so by the mature conversation I have with each candidate at the interview stage.
Secondly, and I feel strongly about this, as with all aspects of good education putting yourself forward, taking a risk and then failing to succeed is important and necessary. If you are thinking ‘should I go for this?’ and the only thing putting you off is a fear of failure; then I would say – do it! When we try something and fail, we are not a failure, we are just not there yet. Nobody can be undefeated all of the time. Learning from losing out makes you stronger, but only if you recognise what you need to do next – which might just be, keep trying!
Finally, applying for a scholarship need not, and should not, just be about you. At Leweston, I would expect and require the scholars to think about what they can do for others, to encourage and excite a love of the awarding subject or field. Any applicant thinking ‘should I apply?’ would do well to think about what can they do to make the scholarship more than just about their own success.
In summary, if you are considering a scholarship but want to know if you should apply. The answer is yes, if you feel you have the talents. Yes, if you want to learn from the experience regardless of the outcome and yes, if you think you can make your success a wider success for those around you. Good luck!
Mr Paget-Tomlinson, Senior School Head