BLOOMINGTON, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In today’s competitive landscape, high school seniors applying to colleges and for coveted scholarships may find it difficult to stand out from the crowd.
Perhaps it is the result of a couple of decades of power parenting, in which an entire generation has been raised to believe they must perform or perish, but the pressure on students today to resume-build is enormous. The outcome: applications that are quantitatively impressive, but lack character.
Ah, character, that forgotten trait; so lost in our accomplished world that it rarely comes up on college or scholarship applications. Questions like: “What accomplishment are you most proud of?” have nudged out any consideration of moral fiber. And yet, when scholarship committees are asked why certain applicants are chosen for awards, the typical answer seems to focus on it.
“It’s not about the numbers,” said John Schwietz, Director of Development for Minnesota Masonic Charities (MMC) and a member of the organization’s Scholarships Selection Committee. “We represent the charitable interests of Minnesota Masonry, and Masonry is all about building a strong character. So it’s not necessarily about your GPA or the length of your list of achievements, it’s about your values.”
Indeed, MMC’s so bent on the concept, its singular essay question on many of its scholarship applications simply asks, “What are your values and how do you apply them?”
“We find that the essays are more genuine and thoughtful,” said Schwietz. “They tend to reflect who the student really is and give us an idea of their potential. People who facilitate change in the world aren’t always the straight-A students or the captains of the football team. It’s the kid that helps an elderly person across the street. It’s the person who does good deeds without anyone looking.”
Schwietz also points to letters of recommendation when searching for applicants of strong character.
“The letters that express a stand-out quality about the student, those are the ones that make an impact,” said Schwietz. “I’ve already got the student’s class schedule. I don’t need to know they took Calculus with you. What I want to know is, will you remember that student? Why?”
Minnesota Masonic Charities is one of the largest providers of scholarships for high school seniors and undergraduates in the state. In 2014, the organization plans to distribute over $700,000 in awards – all of them renewable and substantive. For example, MMC’s Signature Scholarships provide $5,000 annually for up to four years to recipients. The MMC Scholarships Program runs from November 1, 2013 to February 15, 2014. Interested applicants may find forms and additional information online at www.MnMasonicCharities.org.
Only quality characters need apply.
About Minnesota Masonic Charities
Minnesota Masonic Charities (MMC) is the nonprofit charitable organization of Minnesota Masonry. The organization promotes greater levels of Masonic charity by uniting and combining contributions to charitable causes, as well as directly aiding Masons, their families and society through its grants and services. MMC's total charitable grants average nearly $5.6 million a year as part of yearly services totaling nearly $70 million. These services include support for cancer research and treatment, scholarships for Minnesota students, housing and healthcare for seniors, and community support of youth, family and school programs throughout the state.