I was judging scholarship applications over the weekend for the Hispanic College Fund and I thought it might be useful to pass along these observations and tips.
1. Write for your audience. This is basic advice for most business writers, but for some reason it is lost on many applicants. Think about your audience and what will move them to give you a good score.
2. Spelling and grammar count. I was amazed at how many spelling and grammar errors I found in the applications I was judging. I try not to judge others harshly for their errors (I’m not perfect either) but this is a highly competitive scholarship process and spelling counts.
3. Answer the questions. Community service was a big part of the application but several people didn’t address this in their essay. They might have had a great record in community service, but I couldn’t tell from their application.
4. Sell yourself. There’s a fine line between selling yourself and bragging, but successful applicants will walk that line and sell the attributes that make them stand out from the rest.
5. Tell me a story. Everyone loves a good story. Everyone hates reading “dry” applications. Make it a good read. Tell me your story, evoke some emotion, make me identify with you.
6. Use the letter of recommendation to add to and amplify your application. It seemed that a lot of applicants asked someone to write a letter and were happy to include anything they received. Make sure your recommender reads your application before they write their letter and ask them to amplify and confirm what you’re telling me. If you’ve done a good job in the application, this will be easy for them.
7. Ask several people who are knowledgeable about scholarship applications to read your application and make suggestions on how you can make it better. Expect to write several drafts until you feel it is perfect.
Good luck to all scholarship applicants and I wish you the best in all of your endeavors.
As a diversion to our current economic upheaval, I’ve been meaning to post this article about America growing older and more diverse by 2050.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, minorities, now at about one third of the population, will become the majority population in 2042 and will make up 54 percent of the country by 2050.
The shift among children is astounding. Today, 44 percent of children are in minority groups. By 2050, 62 percent of children will be minorities. Maybe by then we’ll have to stop using this word “minorities.”
Hispanics will nearly triple between now and 2050, eventually making up about a third of the total population. That’s amazing.
Non-Hispanic whites will grow by only less than 2 percent over this time period. The 85 and over population is expected to triple and the percentage of Americans who are working age will drop from 63 to 57 percent. By 2050, minorities will also make up the majority of all workers.
It’s gonna be a brave new world.
Recently, my work in the radio industry and my interest in mobile marketing have crossed paths.
Thanks to my colleague Doug Zanger at Small Plate Radio, I’ve found myself in several radio industry posts. I’m on the radio jury for the London International Awards, I’m the moderator for the Radio Suits group on the radiocreativeland talent pool and I handle media relations for the soon to be launched Good Radio Stories, an online PR service showcasing the charitable acts of radio stations across the country. GRS is a Radio 2020 project commissioned by the Radio Advertisers Bureau, National Association of Broadcasters and HD Radio Alliance.
The more that I play in the radio world (I have a broadcast journalism degree) the more clearly I see synergies between radio and mobile marketing. As I pointed out in my post “Drive to Mobile,” one of the best attributes of mobile marketing is the ability to “capture” an audience no matter where they are or what they’re doing.
Where people can often be found is listening to the radio in a car, at home, at work or in someone else’s store, gym or drycleaner. Radio therefore is a perfect medium for Drive to Mobile because it is ubiquitous and can be accessed from anywhere (just like mobile phones).
This fact is not lost on mobile marketing providers. Companies like HipCricket and Spark Network Services offer radio stations turnkey mobile solutions to further relationships with listeners and provide stations with an additional revenue stream.
HipCricket has also just signed a deal with the Spanish Broadcasting System to build loyalty groups via text. I know from my work in the Hispanic market that Hispanics are a great target for text campaigns.
When it comes to building Drive to Mobile campaigns, radio is a terrific medium.
My friend Robert Powell, editor of Virginia Business magazine, asked me to write a column about the importance of multicultural voters in the 2008 presidential election. I really didn’t know what I would learn when I started writing (that’s what’s fun about pretending to be a journalist), but in the end I was impressed by how much power Hispanic voters will wield in November. Hispanic voters may hold the key to the identity of our next president. Many thanks to my street-smart colleague Mark Magaña and to USC’s expert-in-residence Harry Pachon for their very generous contributions to this article.
UPDATE: Scramblewatch ’08 has a great post about McCain’s Latino Problema and chronicles how many Latinos shifted away from the Republican Party (2006 being the Republicans’ highwater year) and toward the more friendly-to-immigration arms of the Dems.
Kids Show It's Easy Being Green
According to Kids and and Tweens in the U.S., a new study from Packaged Facts, kids and their parents have become increasingly interested in protecting the environment. As a result, eco-friendly products are beginning to make headway among children ages 3 to 11. And companies that produce and market products to these kids and their parents are starting to take heed.
Kids ages 3-11 in the U.S. have personal incomes totaling $19 billion, the study found, and is expected to reach $21 billion by 2012. Parental spending on food, clothing, personal care items, entertainment and reading materials reached $123 billion.
Marketers that promote eco-friendly products may find success in tapping that spending. Based on data from Simmons Market Research Bureau, the study found that a significant majority of kids 6-11 express concern for environmental issues. Nearly three-quarters believe people should recycle; 40% say you should buy recycled paper products.
More than half of kids 6-8 encourage their parents to buy green products. Hispanic kids are far more likely than kids in other population segments to push their parents to buy green products. This underlying demographic characteristic may explain why kids living in the Pacific region—which has a relatively large Latino population—have a higher likelihood of trying to get their parents to go green.
Perhaps we should be inviting these kids to our NLCCC briefing in New York. After all, the goal of educating Hispanics about the importance of Global Warming is to help insure that our kids and all future generations can enjoy this planet as we have.