Navigating the scholarship application process
Planning and preparation can help provide smooth sailing through the scholarship application system. To create a stress-free application process, follow these guidelines for planning and creating a thoughtful, meaningful and professional scholarship application.
Do your research. Search and apply for scholarships that match your specific interests and career goals. Utilize websites and search engines to find scholarships geared toward your interests. Talk to your guidance counselor about scholarships available through the school. Search locally – look for scholarships offered through area banks, schools, churches, clubs and businesses.
Don’t underestimate the power of the essay. Take the time to write well-thought-out essays. Often, scholarships that require students to submit an essay have fewer applicants, increasing your chances of being selected. It is worth the extra effort. Let your personality shine through. Present your ideas in a focused, thoughtful and meaningful manner. Write in a natural style and support your ideas with specific examples.
Pay attention to deadlines and details. Use a calendar, make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Stay organized and know the deadline for each scholarship for which you are applying. Applications submitted past the deadline are not considered.
Gather application materials early. Give yourself plenty of time to complete each step. Preview the application first to make sure you have everything you need to complete the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Keep an updated, ongoing resume of activities and achievements. This is a good way to outline your thoughts and keep records of accomplishments.
Choose wisely when selecting recommendation sources. Choose people who can be available upon request to articulate your strengths as well as your ability to overcome your weaknesses.
Choose wisely when selecting an email address. Students may want to consider setting up a separate email account for scholarship applications. Email addresses for regional, state and national scholarships are often shared with multiple entities.
Keep a copy of everything you submit.
Avoid scams. Be wary of any site that charges a registration fee or search fee for its database of scholarships.
Avoid online writing services. Students who use paid services to write or edit their scholarship essays are less likely to be chosen because schools will notice a marked difference between their application and essay.
PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD! Ask a friend or teacher to proofread your essay and application. Have them check spelling, grammar, flow and overall application.