TIPS ON A SUCCESSFUL SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION
Scholarship Application Tips
- Make an impression with admissions offices as you apply to colleges. Colleges and universities award a large number of scholarships to their students. Oftentimes, you are automatically considered for these scholarships when you send in your application. Individual institutions also often award scholarships and grants specifically to minority students. Scholarships are not guaranteed with acceptance to a college or university, though. They are often awarded to students who wow admissions committees with impressive applications, stellar essays, and extensive community involvement.
- Estimate how much money you will need in terms of loans and scholarships. If you demonstrate a significant amount of financial need, there is a good chance that you will receive a significant amount of funding from your college and/or the federal government. This may not cover all of your costs, however. Use financial aid calculators to figure out how much money you’ll need from third-party scholarships and loans to cover the rest of your expenses. This will help you figure out which scholarships to apply to and how aggressively you should try to win scholarships.
- Create a spreadsheet of scholarships with deadlines. As you research scholarship opportunities, keep a list of the ones you want to apply to in a spreadsheet. This will help you keep track of deadlines and any other applicable information you will need later when you start applying. Staying organized will help you ensure that you don’t forget to apply to any scholarships or miss any deadlines.
- Ask for letters of recommendation early. The majority of scholarship applications ask for letters of recommendation. When you ask teachers and mentors to write letters of recommendation for your college applications, you may also want to ask if they would feel comfortable giving you copies. You may be able to use these in scholarship applications, which means they won’t have to take the time to upload or send additional letters when you apply.
- Make sure you let your personality shine in scholarship essays. If you’re applying to minority scholarships or any type of scholarships, you want to stand out. Being a good student isn’t always enough to win you a scholarship. Write about any challenges you’ve faced, and write about what it has been like to be a minority student in high school. If you can insert some humor into your essays, go for it. The more memorable and unique your essay, the better.
- Treat applying to scholarships as a numbers game. There will be several other qualified students applying to the scholarships on your radar. Keep this in mind, and try not to take it personally if you don’t get chosen for certain scholarships. Keep applying. The more scholarships you apply to, the more likely you are to be chosen as a recipient.
- Watch out for scams. Unfortunately, some people make up fake scholarships to get personal information from students and exploit them. Make sure you do enough research to guarantee that a scholarship is credible before you apply. Do not give any personal information to a scholarship fund that doesn’t seem legitimate. Additionally, if a scholarship’s website seems as though it hasn’t been updated in a couple of years, you might want to consider passing on it.
- Tailor your application to your audience. Take a good look at each scholarship foundation’s mission and try to envision what type of applicant they are most likely to select. In your application, highlight aspects of your background and experience that you think are aligned with their mission. If they mention that they value community service, for instance, make sure you mention your volunteer work in your application. You should not expect to turn in the same essay to every scholarship foundation. Figure out what each one is looking for specifically.
- Show, don’t tell. You may have heard your English teacher say, “show, don’t tell” regarding good writing. This essentially means that you provide concrete examples instead of making broad statements. You should try your best to do this in your scholarship applications. For instance, rather than writing that you “are a hard worker” in your essays, consider outlining your specific academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, and part-time jobs. This will show that you’re a hard worker.
- Triple-check your applications. Careless mistakes and omissions can sometimes cost you a scholarship when the competition is fierce. Make sure you thoroughly review each application before you submit it to ensure that you aren’t forgetting any important points or neglecting to fill in any mandatory fields. It can also be beneficial to have a friend or family member look over your applications before you submit them. They might notice small errors you missed.