The Scholarship Merit Badge: Your Ultimate Guide In 2024


If you’re a Scout with a lot of school smarts (or would like to become one 😉 ), Scholarship is the perfect badge for you to earn next! The Scholarship merit badge not only teaches you how to get better grades and take charge of your learning but also equips you with organizational skills that will serve you for a lifetime!

You’ll begin the badge by examining your current academic standing, either maintaining at least a B-average or showing overall GPA improvement to complete requirement 1. Next, we’ll explore educational resources outside the classroom and discover tools and methods to learn more effectively. Along the way, I’ll also tell you about my best study methods, and share resources so that you can find an ideal study system of your own!

If youd like my help with any Eagle-required badges, you should definitely check out my Difficulty Ranking Guide to Every Eagle-required Badge. There, you’ll also find the links to my other merit badge guides, as well as a description and summary of each badge’s requirements. I know this resource will be helpful to Scouts on their road to Eagle!

Also, remember that ScoutSmarts should serve as your starting point for merit badge research. In school, we’re taught not to plagiarize, and the same is true for Scouting worksheets. Answer these questions in your own words, do further research, and I promise you’ll gain much more from every merit badge you earn!

Beyond academics, you’ll reflect on the importance of teamwork and speak with your principal about your behavior, leadership, and service. Finally, you’ll reflect on the value of education and your goals through a short, thoughtful report. This badge is all about embracing learning and preparing for a bright future!

Are you ready to embark on this educational journey with me? Let’s get started by thoroughly understanding the Scholarship merit badge requirements and learning how to fulfill them. Then, we’ll be diving into each requirement so that afterward, you’ll not only become a better student but also a lifelong learner. Let’s go, Scout!

What Are The Scholarship Merit Badge Requirements?

  1. Do ONE of the following:
    1a. Show that your school grades have been an average of B or higher (80 percent or higher) for one term or semester.
    1b. Show that for one term or semester you have improved your school grades over the previous period.
  2. Do TWO of the following:
    2a. Make a list of educational places located where you live (other than schools). Visit one, and report on how you used the place for self-education.
    2b. With your counselor’s and your parent’s approval, interview two professionals (other than teachers or other professionals at your school) with established careers. Find out where they were educated, what training they received, and how their education and training have helped prepare them for the career they have chosen. Find out how they continue to educate themselves. Discuss what you find out with your counselor.
    2c. Using a daily planner, show your counselor how you keep track of assignments and activities, and discuss how you manage your time.
    2d. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of research available to you for school assignments, such as the library, books and periodicals, and the Internet.
  3. Get a note from the principal* of your school (or another school official named by the principal) that states that during the past year your behavior, leadership, and service have been satisfactory.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    4a. Show that you have taken part in an extracurricular school activity, and discuss with your counselor the benefits of participation and what you learned about the importance of teamwork.
    4b. Discuss your participation in a school project during the past semester where you were a part of a team. Tell about the positive contributions you made to the team and the project.
  5. Do ONE of the following:
    5a. Write a report of 250 to 300 words about how the education you receive in school will be of value to you in the future and how you will continue to educate yourself in the future.
    5b. Write a report of 250 to 300 words about two careers that interest you and how specific classes and good scholarship in general will help you achieve your career goals.

*If you are home-schooled or your school environment does not include a principal, you may obtain a note from a counterpart such as your parent.

Do ONE of the following:
1a) Show that your school grades have been an average of B or higher (80 percent or higher) for one term or semester.
1b) Show that for one term or semester you have improved your school grades over the previous period.

Improving your grades is a fantastic goal that can unlock future opportunities and build your self-esteem, but it doesn’t happen overnight! Achieving better marks in school really can only be done through hard work, effective study habits, and identifying the learning strategies that work best for you. 

If you’re currently earning a B or higher, fantastic work! You’ve just finished requirement 1a. However, if you’re not yet in that grade range, in this section I’ll be sharing some of my best tips so that you can improve your scores and become an academic ninja! Let’s get to it. 😀

Establish a Consistent Study Routine

This may sound a little obvious, but it’s crucial to develop a consistent study schedule with specific times each day or week dedicated to studying. Use a planner to keep track of assignments, and figure out what strategies — like practice quizzes, flashcards, outlining, spoken memorization, or idea mapping — help you do your best.

Scouting Tip: It helps to choose a comfortable study spot where you can focus without distractions! Some people like music or background noise, while others prefer quiet. I challenge you to experiment, pay attention to what works best for you, write those insights down, and create the space that fits your study needs!

The video (10:15) below will give you some helpful advice on how to establish an effective study routine for school. Once you find a rhythm of work and organization that works for you, you can transfer that skill to become even more efficient in other areas of life!

Set Clear Goals

Remember when we said that academic improvement happens step by step? That’s where goals come in! Setting goals for academic success was personally a game-changer, and helped me to increase my average grades from C’s and B’s at the start of middle school, to mostly A’s by the end of university. The same can be true for you too! Just start by defining your academic goals for the term or semester. Then, break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks to track your progress effectively!

Setting manageable goals can be something as simple as not missing any homework assignments or scoring a grade higher on your next test. Just identify the pieces that lead to success, and follow through by accomplishing them one after another! This is the essence of SMART goals, which are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound! The video (4:08) below is a great intro guide on how to set SMART goals for academic success.

Organize Your Resources

Growing up diagnosed with ADHD, staying organized has always been a challenge for me. The same may be true for you too! However, by following a few key principles, keeping our study materials organized suddenly becomes a whole lot easier! In addition to a planner for tracking assignments and due dates (which I’ll cover in requirement 2), use folders, binders, or digital tools to manage notes, textbooks, and handouts for each subject. This organization will make it easier to locate and review materials when studying!

There’s another reason not to just shove loose papers in your backpack and dump them out on your desk: it’s hard to keep your thoughts straight when your workspace is a mess! Here’s a helpful video (5:34) with 6 tips for creating a clutter-free, organized workflow.

Effective Time Management

In our busy lives, time is one thing we can’t seem to get enough of — so it’s crucial to manage your time efficiently. Prioritize tasks by creating a to-do list or using a planner. Also, be sure to budget your time wisely, and allocate more focused study blocks to challenging subjects or areas that could use improvement!

One popular technique to increase efficiency is time blocking. This informative video (6:30) gives you some tips and tricks to get started. Remember, some people find time blocking super helpful, but others might prefer a different strategy. Really, academic success is all about finding solutions that work for you which you can stick with for the long haul!

Active Study Techniques

As I mentioned earlier, you should try out various study methods based on your learning style to discover what method sticks best in your memory. If you’re a visual learner, use diagrams, charts, or flashcards. Auditory learners may benefit from recording notes and listening to them. Hands-on learners (also called kinesthetic learners) can create games or mental models related to their subjects!

Before you use these specific styles of learning, it’s important to find out what kind of learning style is yours! The video (6:32) below should help you to identify your learning style so you can choose the best techniques to help you study. 🙂

Review Your Notes

Learning is all about the repetition of information, so don’t wait until the last minute to study. Review your class notes and materials consistently after (and, if possible, before) each lesson! You can even go through and highlight key points. Revisiting your notes frequently helps reinforce learning and aids in long-term retention.

Remember, good note-taking is more than just writing down everything you hear. If you’re finding that your notes aren’t helping you study, check out the video below (6:36). Taking effective notes is key to helping you review for exams and retain the information discussed in your classes!

Seek Clarification

Don’t hesitate to ask your teachers for help! It might feel intimidating, but your teachers want to see you succeed. If you’re unclear about a topic, respectfully approach your teacher for clarification! Utilize additional resources like tutoring, study groups, Chat GPT for practice questions, or online educational platforms if needed. Remember, if something isn’t working well, it’s your responsibility to notice that and find a solution! 😀

Practice Self-Assessment and Monitor Progress

This is the tip that really boosted my test scores, so listen up! Be sure to regularly measure how well you understand the material you’re learning through practice tests or quizzes. Pay attention to what topics are the most challenging, and be sure to learn from your mistakes. Self-assessment helps identify areas where you need more focus and reinforcement!

It can be disheartening to look at exams you may have scored poorly on or read through questions you have answered incorrectly. However, this is actually a gift because, in the long run, this sort of review is your opportunity to understand your mistakes to correct them! Self-assessment is the best way to find any gaps in your knowledge.

As you assess yourself, be sure to track your progress by maintaining a study log or planner. Record the subjects covered, study duration, and the questions you missed to focus on later on. Over time, you can reflect on what study methods were effective and make adjustments accordingly! 🙂

Healthy Study Habits

Finally, while it may be tempting to focus all of your energy on school, you won’t do your best work if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Ensure you get enough sleep, keep progressing in Scouting, exercise regularly, maintain a balanced diet, and have a little fun from time to time. Taking breaks during study sessions can also improve focus and prevent burnout!

Have you ever worked so hard at something that you lost your energy and motivation? That’s called burnout, and you should never ignore the signs that it’s coming on. The helpful video (6:30) below will help you to identify the symptoms of potential burnout and give you some key tips to prevent it!

Do TWO of the following:
2a. Make a list of educational places located where you live (other than schools). Visit one, and report on how you used the place for self-education.
2b. With your counselor’s and your parent’s approval, interview two professionals (other than teachers or other professionals at your school) with established careers. Find out where they were educated, what training they received, and how their education and training have helped prepare them for the career they have chosen. Find out how they continue to educate themselves. Discuss what you find out with your counselor.
2c. Using a daily planner, show your counselor how you keep track of assignments and activities, and discuss how you manage your time.
2d. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of research available to you for school assignments, such as the library, books and periodicals, and the Internet.

For requirement 2, I’ll be covering points 2c) and 2d) which will help you to create an organized planner, and then become a research whiz! However, if you’re interested in looking into educational places in your area such as libraries, museums, and community classes, requirement 2a) may be perfect for you. And, if you’re interested in a specific career field, you may want to work on requirement 2b). As always, I recommend you allow your curiosity to lead the way! 🙂

2c) Using a daily planner, show your counselor how you keep track of assignments and activities, and discuss how you manage your time.

Keeping a daily planner is an effective way to keep track of everything you’ve got going on, allowing you to plan out assignments and activities all in one place. These days, I use a daily checklist as my planner which helps me to stay organized, accomplish the most important tasks, and make the most out of my day. To help you do the same, below I’ll teach you how to use a daily planner, discuss time management with your counselor, and complete this requirement!

Selecting a Planner

Choose a planner that suits your needs, whether it’s a physical notebook, a digital app, or an online calendar. Ensure it has ample space to write down daily tasks, deadlines, and important dates!

This video (6:36) provides some helpful tips for picking a planner that you’ll actually use. While you might be drawn towards the planner with the most pages or the coolest design, sometimes just a simple calendar can be the most effective tool for you! I’d recommend thinking back to when you’ve been the most organized, and using that as a starting fort for the type of planner you’ll test out.

From there, use your daily planner to jot down assignments, project due dates, extracurricular activities, and any other commitments. That way, nothing sneaks up on you! If you want to be extra-organized, assign specific time slots for each task to ensure they are completed on time. I’d also recommend adding post-it notes to your most important pages like monthly calendar views and your current week so that you can flip to what’s going on.

Prioritizing Tasks

Your next step is to organize your tasks by priority. Assign deadlines to each assignment or activity and categorize them based on their urgency and importance. You can even use symbols or color-coding to differentiate between different tasks!

Sometimes sorting tasks by their urgency can get a little overwhelming. You certainly don’t want to spend all your time deciding what task to do first! This quick video (3:05) below is a good guide to assist you in knowing how to prioritize your tasks quickly and effectively.

Once you have an organizational system that you can stick to, regularly review your planner to stay on top of upcoming assignments and events. This will help you keep things fresh in your mind. Moving forward, be sure to update your planner whenever there are new tasks or changes to your schedule so that you can ensure everything is taken care of!

Time Management

During your meeting with your counselor, explain how you’ve utilized a daily planner to manage your time effectively. You should make sure to discuss the strategies you’ve selected such as prioritization, regular review, and effective note-taking, to balance academic responsibilities, extracurricular activities, and personal time. 🙂

You can also share any tips or techniques you’ve found helpful for managing time. For instance, if you use the Pomodoro Technique (25 minutes of focused work followed by a 5-minute break), discuss its effectiveness. This is a big time management tool for me, so I’d suggest you give it a try too! Also, make sure to talk about how you overcome procrastination or handle competing priorities!

Speaking of which, procrastination is becoming easier and easier to fall into with the rise in social media usage. Here’s a video (8:52) on how to cure yours! Personally, I try to leave my phone in another room while doing work. Once you’ve found good techniques to stay productive you’ll be amazed at how much of your day you free up.

Lastly, if you faced any time management challenges in the past and found effective solutions, share these experiences with your counselor. Reflect on how you adapted your planner or schedule to overcome these hurdles! For bonus points, share your findings with your fellow Scouts too, since one of the best ways to fully master a lesson is to teach it. 😀

2d) Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of research available to you for school assignments, such as the library, books and periodicals, and the Internet.

When it comes to school assignments, different research methods offer distinct advantages and disadvantages. Remember, using a variety of research methods while critically evaluating sources can improve the credibility of your work and help you do a more thorough job! Here’s a chart covering the main research methods:

Research MethodAdvantagesDisadvantages
Library ResearchLibraries provide access to a wide array of resources like books, encyclopedias, journals, and reference materials. They offer reliable information curated by experts. Libraries even have librarians who can assist in finding relevant resources.Limited hours of operation might restrict access. Some libraries may not have the most updated information on certain topics. Finding specific resources may take time, and borrowing limits can hinder long-term access.
Books and PeriodicalsBooks and periodicals offer in-depth and detailed information on various subjects. They’re credible and have undergone editorial and peer-review processes. Some periodicals are updated frequently, providing current information.Books might be outdated, especially in rapidly evolving fields. Limited availability of certain books or journals may restrict access. Obtaining specific publications could involve costs.
Internet ResearchThe Internet provides quick access to a vast amount of information. Online databases, scholarly articles, and educational websites offer up-to-date content. It allows for multimedia content like videos, infographics, and interactive resources.The quality and credibility of online sources vary widely. Information may not always be peer-reviewed or accurate. There’s a risk of encountering biased or misleading information. Internet distractions can hamper focused research.

As you can see, various resources are available to you for research. Any and all of them can be helpful, but it’s important to use them in a smart, efficient way. Also, you should use the resources recommended by your teacher first and foremost, since your tests will likely be based on the material covered there. When discussing these research methods with your counselor:

  • Highlight the strengths and limitations of each method.
  • Emphasize the importance of discerning credible sources, regardless of the method chosen.
  • Discuss the value of using a combination of these methods to gather comprehensive and reliable information for assignments.
  • Address strategies for evaluating the reliability of online sources, such as examining the author’s credentials, publication dates, and corroborating information from multiple sources.
3) Get a note from the principal* of your school (or another school official named by the principal) that states that during the past year your behavior, leadership, and service have been satisfactory.

For this requirement, remember to approach the principal or designated school official respectfully and provide clear and concise information about what you need for this requirement.

Here’s an example of what you can say or send as an email to them: Hi Principal (their name), I’m (your name and grade), as well as a Scout. To complete requirement 3 for the Scholarship merit badge, I was tasked with getting a note from you stating that my behavior, leadership, and service have been satisfactory or better over the past year. If possible, I’d sincerely appreciate it if you could write a few sentences that I’d be able to share with my merit badge counselor. Thank you so much for your time, as well as for all the work you do to keep our school running smoothly!

You can also share with them some of your contributions to the school, and let them know that you only need a few sentences, or at the very least their signature on a note you write yourself. Additionally, ensure the note specifies the necessary details for your merit badge counselor to understand your performance has been satisfactory. To fulfill this requirement, follow these easy steps:

Approach Your Principal or Designated School Official

  1. Request a meeting with the principal or an official appointed by the principal to discuss your merit badge requirement. You can also email them if that’d be easier.
  2. Explain that you need a note confirming your satisfactory behavior, leadership, and service during the past year for the Scholarship merit badge.
  3. Present the requirement from the merit badge handbook for reference.

Discuss Your Performance

  1. During the brief meeting, discuss your involvement in school activities, leadership roles, volunteer work, academic achievements, and any other contributions you’ve made to the school community.
  2. Highlight instances where you demonstrated leadership qualities, exhibited good behavior, and offered service to others within the school!

Request the Note

  1. Politely ask the principal or designated official if they would be willing to provide a note verifying your satisfactory behavior, leadership, and service.
  2. Emphasize the importance of this note in completing your Scholarship merit badge.

Follow-Up

  1. If the principal or official agrees to provide the note, express gratitude for their support.
  2. Ensure that the note includes details about your positive conduct, leadership qualities, and contributions to the school community within the past year.

Review the Note

  1. Once you receive the note, carefully review it to ensure it accurately reflects the information discussed during your meeting.
  2. If any details are missing or inaccurate, politely request revisions or additions to accurately represent your achievements.

Submit the Note

  1. Provide the note to your merit badge counselor as proof of meeting this requirement.
  2. Write a thank-you note to your principal for taking the time to help you fulfill this requirement. Great work, you did it!
Do ONE of the following:
4a. Show that you have taken part in an extracurricular school activity, and discuss with your counselor the benefits of participation and what you learned about the importance of teamwork.
4b. Discuss your participation in a school project during the past semester where you were a part of a team. Tell about the positive contributions you made to the team and the project.

As a Scout, you know that teamwork is an important life skill — whether you’re staying safe in the wilderness, playing sports, or completing a group assignment in school. Well, this requirement is all about discussing how you worked as part of a school team with your counselor! Here’s an example of how you might discuss your participation in a school project.

Sample Description of Group Project Experience

During the past semester, I was part of a team project in my history class where we were assigned to research and present on significant events of the American Civil War. I actively engaged in the group project by assuming the role of a primary researcher and presenter.

Positive Contributions

  1. Leadership and Coordination: As the primary researcher, I took the initiative to organize our research efforts. I created a shared document outlining different topics to be covered, assigned specific areas to each team member, and set deadlines for gathering information.
  2. Thorough Research: We conducted extensive research on the Battle of Gettysburg, analyzing multiple historical sources and gathering comprehensive data. I made sure that the information we compiled was accurate, relevant, and contributed significantly to our project’s depth and credibility.
  3. Effective Communication: Throughout the project, I maintained open communication with my team members. I regularly shared my progress, findings, and relevant resources with the group, facilitating a collaborative environment. Then, we worked together to hone our presentation so everyone could speak equally.

This quick example illustrates how you might outline your role, contributions, and positive impact within a team project. Now, it’s your turn to brainstorm some wins you created as part of a team which you can discuss with your counselor!

Do ONE of the following:
5a. Write a report of 250 to 300 words about how the education you receive in school will be of value to you in the future and how you will continue to educate yourself in the future.

5b. Write a report of 250 to 300 words about two careers that interest you and how specific classes and good scholarship in general will help you achieve your career goals.

Writing a report can be a tricky requirement, especially on something as important as your education. However, properly structuring your report is a crucial aspect of making it effective! Also, no need to worry, because below I’ve put together a handy guide on how to write an effective report on your educational journey. 🙂

Writing a Report on the Value of Your Education

Introduction (Approximately 50-75 words):

  1. Setting the Context: Begin by briefly explaining the importance of education in personal and professional growth.
  2. Thesis Statement: State your viewpoint on how your school education will benefit you in the future and your plans for ongoing learning.

Body (Approximately 150-200 words):

  1. Value of School Education:
  • Knowledge: Highlight the specific subjects or skills learned in school that you believe will be valuable in your future endeavors.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Discuss how school education has honed your critical thinking skills and helped you tackle challenges.
  • Preparation for Career and Life: Elaborate on how your school education has prepared you for future career paths or life skills.
  1. Continued Learning:
  • Lifelong Learning: Explain your commitment to continuous learning beyond school. Discuss the importance of staying updated in a rapidly changing world.
  • Learning Platforms: Describe how you plan to continue your education, whether through higher education, online courses, vocational training, or self-study.
  • Personal Development: Discuss how ongoing learning will contribute to your personal growth and success.

Conclusion (Approximately 25-50 words):

  1. Summarize Key Points: Briefly recap how your school education has prepared you and emphasize your dedication to lifelong learning.
  2. Closing Statement: End with a statement that reflects your enthusiasm and commitment to ongoing education!

Tips for Writing

  1. Be Specific: Provide examples or anecdotes (quick stories) to support your points.
  2. Stay Focused: Keep your writing concise and relevant to the prompt.
  3. Positive Outlook: Emphasize the benefits of education and your eagerness to learn in the future.
  4. Proofread: Review your report for clarity and grammar before running it by your counselor.

Remember, the aim is to share how your time in school has been valuable and how you plan to continue furthering your education in the future. This is also a great opportunity to reflect on the WHY behind your education and consider your larger goals in life. From this, you’ll create the perfect reminder that all your hard work is worthwhile! 🙂

Conclusion

Amazing work, Scout! By earning the Scholarship merit badge, you’re building a foundation for lifelong success. Once you discover your best learning style, improve your grades, and identify the WHY behind your education, nothing can stop you! Stay curious, stay organized, and always strive for excellence. You’ve got this!

If you found this post helpful, I’ve also written guides to many of the Eagle-required merit badges. I’d definitely recommend checking out my comprehensive difficulty rankings for every Eagle-required merit badge if you haven’t seen it already!

Thanks for stopping by ScoutSmarts! Once you’ve earned your Scholarship badge, be sure to come back and check out some of my other guides to awesome badges like Weather and Indian Lore. With the learning methods we covered, I’ll bet you can earn your badges even faster now! Until next time, I’m wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle. 😀

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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