Advice from 2022 finalists for top scholarship

Access their insights when it's convenient for you
By Annalea Soudry-Maurer
Published May 6, 2022

Missed our calls this spring with the 2022 finalists for the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship or want to reference them as you apply?  You can watch the videos now – featuring insights and guidance from each of the finalists – as you prepare your materials for the 2023 competition (due May 23 by 12 p.m. ET):

“Do your research and be confident in the stance that you take in your essay,” Sabrina Leibowitz of Drexel University advises. “Make your decision on what your topic is going to be about on something that you care about, because that will come through in your writing.”

As for producing the personal brand video, use these tips and look to Robert Davison Long of Columbia College Chicago (the top recipient in the 2022 competition).

“I was just my authentic self. What helped me was to focus on what I wanted the judges to know about – my passion for retail, why I’m in retail, what I’ve gotten from retail,” Long says. “Eye contact is very important – and speaking with authenticity and passion. Be yourself.”

“One of my biggest pieces of advice is to stay up to date with retail news,” Sarah May of Indiana University says. “You’re going to be asked for your perspective on the industry, so make sure to subscribe to the NRF SmartBrief and read the news.”

With the application for phase one of the competition due by 12 p.m. ET on May 23, you will need to focus and move quickly.

“I carved out time for myself to do specific parts of the application with goals attached,” Marcel Smith of LIM College says. “It’s very practical and seems simple, but it was invaluable to me during this process.”   

Also, be sure to ask questions (I’m available to discuss your questions about the application on May 9 between 5 and 6 p.m. ET – drop in using this link) and get additional assistance.  

“Reach out to your network to check your work before you submit,” Brooke Williams of Ohio State University says. “If you have a draft or questions about your essay, reach out because people are always willing to help.”

For more inspiration and insights, check out our video features with each of the 2022 finalists and see additional tips to help you apply by the May 23 deadline.

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