By: Deanna Green

The Insight Resume is a critical part of our scholarship applications. Each year, the responses we receive help tell the stories of thousands of incredible students. What does “incredible student” mean to you though? Many imagine a straight-A student, an accomplished athlete, a talented artist or an avid volunteer. These are all commendable accomplishments, but each represents a single facet of student success.

That’s why our scholarship program takes a holistic approach to evaluating applicants. The Insight Resume allows us to delve into noncognitive variables. Unlike grades, these are intangible qualities that reflect a student’s character and mindset. Why, you might ask, do we place so much emphasis on these seemingly elusive traits? Because we recognize that success isn’t only about what you know; it’s about who you are and how you navigate the world around you.

Insight Resume Tips and Examples

Speaking of navigating challenges, I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips on how to craft compelling responses for our Insight Resume. In total, it’s made of six questions that are also often found on other scholarship applications. In fact, we mirrored our questions to those included on the Washington State University admissions application. Knowing that, I’ll start with a general tip before getting into the specifics of each question.

Save your responses!

Many scholarships use similar prompts, so save copies of your essays in a working text document. This way you don’t have to start from scratch. It’s much easier to copy, paste and customize your response for each application. Then, update your essays each year to put your most recent achievements forward.

Question 1: Leadership and Contributions

Tip: Leading isn’t about a title or role. Highlight instances where you took initiative, assumed responsibility, stood up for someone or collaborated with others.

Example: Describe specific projects or actions — both in and out of school — where your leadership had a positive impact on a group. Whether a club, team, workplace or household; it all counts.

Question 2: Knowledge and Creativity

Tip: Showcase your depth of knowledge in a particular subject, interest or hobby. Also, share how you incorporated other points of view or applied this knowledge.

Example: Tell us about a research or passion project that led you to a deeper understanding of a subject. Bonus if you came away with original ideas or uncovered new perspectives about yourself, your culture and the world around you.

Question 3: Adversity

Tip: You don’t have to write about the hardest thing ever. Pick something that tested your determination, flexibility, problem-solving skills and perseverance. Discuss how you handled it well and call out anyone who was integral to your success or development.

Example: Narrate a significant challenge. Explain the steps you took to persevere and the personal growth or insights gained through the experience.

Question 4: Community Service

Tip: Think broadly. Include service outside of formal volunteer work. Talk about actions that showcase strong evidence of your involvement and contributions to a community over time. The community can revolve around faith, family, culture or even a hobby.

Example: Describe formal or informal community service projects or activities you’ve been part of. Detail your length or depth of involvement and the impact it had on your community and you.

Question 5: Systemic Challenges

Tip: Choose one situation that demonstrates the impact systemic forces have in our lives and society. Highlight any actions taken to improve policies or procedures for the betterment of all.

Example: Share an experience with discrimination or disenfranchisement. Explain your reaction and how the experience motivated you to contribute to your future community.

Question 6: Goals and Commitment

Tip: Provide evidence of your commitment to long-term goals and diligence in completing tasks. Start with something you have achieved and work backward, identifying your steps.

Example: Articulate educational or career goals you have set. Discuss the steps you have taken — or are taking — to achieve them, and highlight your work ethic.

Using Deeper Insights to Improve Success

Hopefully, our Insight Resume tips have painted a more clear picture of what makes an incredible student. Don’t worry if your responses to these questions seem different than the “typical” definition. That means you have something unique to say, which is more reason to apply. Your perspective is invaluable. By sharing your story authentically, you enrich our understanding and world.

Considering factors like leadership, creativity, service and perseverance offers a more complete picture. We begin to understand your unique journey, strengths and aspirations. These details are what determine your potential to thrive in college and beyond. It all ties to our core belief that every individual has an innate desire and ability to contribute.

So, to all our applicants, thank you for courageously sharing your stories and dreams with us. We are honored to play a part in helping you continue your journey.

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About The Author

Deanna Green

Deanna was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington and graduated from both Clark College and WSU Vancouver. Her personal and professional experiences have made her passionate about providing equitable opportunities for students. Outside of work, she enjoys spending free time with her family and friends, attending community events and taking spontaneous drives through the Columbia River Gorge.