Tips for Completing State Award Application
Read and follow all of the instructions and requirements
The selection committee pays close attention to the requirements; you need to do the same. Points will be deducted for not following application instructions, especially formatting.
QUALITY COUNTS, not quantity
More information does not mean your application is better. List and discuss your most important achievements. Achievements that illustrate excellence in your project area and your ability to go above and beyond the norm are what makes your application stand out.
The selection committee judges based on what they can see
The selection committee judges only the information they are provided. When explaining achievements be as specific and as clear as possible. Assume that the reviewers are familiar with the 4-H program, but not specific information.
Activities/Achievements may overlap in several sections, But DON’T REPEAT YOURSELF
It is important to get credit for all of the things you have achieved in your project area, but repeating the same activity or achievement in the same exact language in several different sections will do more harm than good. When something applies to several sections it is important to put it in the context of that section. The judges notice if you cut and paste!
Give all the information
Make sure you give all the information when making a statement remember to include: what you did, how you did it, the scope, how long you did it and the impact it may have had.
Tell your own story
Each summary section is in place to provide the selection committee a different part of your story. The picture pages, your 4-H story and your creative work are opportunities to give them the entire picture. Each individual achievement or activity is part of your overall project experience. The committee is looking for excellence overall.
It is all about how you say it...
Tips for Describing Your Achievements
- Use words like: presented, delivered, taught, contacted, wrote and other verbs to describe forms of communication
- Don’t forget to include scope if applicable. How many people did you present to and how many times?
- Try to show your range of skills by including a variety of achievements, both written and presentation.
- Having a role on a committee or a board does not illustrate communication skills. However presenting updates or information at a particular meeting is applicable.
- Goals should be directly related to growth within your project area
- Listing goals over a 3 year period should show where you started and where you are now with the project.
- Goals should be challenging
- Make sure you talk about why the goal was set, how it was achieved/not achieved, and challenges you met along the way.
- Learning is why we have project areas, therefore it is one of the most important parts of the application.
- Don’t just list information you have learned, but how you learned it and what impact it has had on your project area.
- This summary should not be a list of, “I learned...”
- Some language to use other than “I learned”: discovered, found, became skilled at, became aware, acquired the knowledge to...