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Scholarship work helps build self-reflection skills

I recently delivered a Scholarship Essay Writing Workshop at a school for the blind and visually impaired. When reviewing the essays, I was amazed by the rich and meaningful experiences the students have had.

However, like many students I work with, they had very little experience with self-reflection. They needed some external insight into how much their lived experiences matter, how they have overcome challenges, and how it can help shape their future.

Self-reflection is such an important skill for young people to develop.

When teens learn to reflect on their experiences and think about their motivations, actions, and what they learned from them, it has several benefits:

a) It helps them discover their values, which helps them make better decisions.

b) It helps them discover their motivations, so they can apply it to other situations.

c) It helps them to gain confidence in their ability to learn from different things, especially "failure", and to trust that good really can come from bad.

Generally, it helps them gain more agency in their life. They feel more in control of their behaviour, actions, skills, and decisions. This is a huge benefit because, in my experience, some young people don't feel like they have a lot of control over their lives.

Self-reflection is one of the parts of my work that I enjoy the most. I ask students the right questions to help them understand their motivations. We go beyond the surface and get into the life lessons they learned from their experiences. One of my most favourite things to hear from my student clients is, “I never thought of it that way before.”

I know self-reflection is a critical part of successful scholarships and personal statements for admission. But I also know that when we're doing the work together, I'm also helping students learn an important life skill that will help them long after the application is submitted.

Want to learn more about how I can help you win scholarships? Please visit my services page.


Janet MacDonald is a Scholarship Coach with mycampusGPS Education Consulting. She is a former university admissions officer, and she was the coordinator of a scholarship program at a major Canadian university. Janet has helped her student clients win hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships.

You can find her at, and on LinkedIn.


Learn more about Janet MacDonald by visiting the About Page.

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