Getting involved with your high school's student council is an extracurricular activity that can help improve your chances during the college application process. Often, student council involvement can even pay off in the form of scholarship funding that can help defray the costs of tuition. Scholarships designed to reward students for their involvement with student council are available from national associations, state organizations or even directly from the high school. Student council scholarships are intended to encourage and reward leadership.
Pursue Student Council Scholarships
Scholarships help mitigate the high cost of a college education. Many national and state associations for student council organizations offer grants and high school scholarships to qualifying students. For example, the Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC) promotes a number of scholarship opportunities available to students exhibiting leadership qualities, such as the Mel Guemmer Memorial Scholarship. Recipients are awarded an expense paid trip to a week long summer leadership camp. MASC in collaboration with the Missouri Society of Association Executives also awards a $1,500 Excellence Through Leadership Scholarship to graduating seniors to help defray college expenses. The National Association of Student Councils (NASC) endorses leadership scholarship opportunities, including the NASSP/Herff Jones Principal's Leadership Award.
Visit Your Guidance Counselor
Meet with your high school guidance counselor for information on scholarships available through your school, national foundations and from local service organizations. Even if the award is not specifically earmarked for student government association participants, involvement in high school SGA activities can be advantageous when competing for any type of leadership grant or scholarship. Your high school's guidance office can explain out how to apply for these awards. Also ask if your high school principal submits applications to the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. This prestigious award is jointly sponsored by the Prudential Foundation and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Each year students can be nominated by their school for leadership awards. State honorees receive a $1,000 award, and national honorees are awarded an additional $5,000.
Meet Eligibility Criteria
Eligibility for high school student council scholarships is typically extended only to student council members, although not all leadership programs demand it as a prerequisite. Criteria for scholarship eligibility typically focus on a student's leadership ability, grade point average, volunteer service and activities; financial need is sometimes considered on a case-by-case basis. Often, students must be graduating seniors who plan on attending a two- or four-year college directly after graduation.
Submit Timely Application
Students are typically required to fill out a one- to two-page scholarship application. Application forms ask for basic biographical information, including name and address, as well as career objectives, extracurricular activities and any awards or honors earned while in high school. Scholarship applications also generally include a few questions on your high-school experiences and contributions to school life, or one long student council essay of 1,000 words or more detailing your qualifications for the award. Essay questions often ask for examples of projects you initiated and completed in your student council role. You can increase your odds of landing a scholarship if you can describe how you helped other students such as organizing a fundraiser for a student injured in a car accident. An application may also need to include a high-school transcript, a letter of recommendation and signed forms to indicate volunteer service.