Scholarship Application Process
Before you can apply for scholarships you must first put together a list of scholarships you're interested in. Then you must organize them according to application deadline, prioritizing those with the earliest deadlines. The next and final step is to sit down and actually go through the application process for each scholarship. The more scholarships you apply for the greater your chance of receiving a scholarship award. However, don't hurry yourself. The quality of each application you submit is just as important as the number of applications submitted. The tips below will help you maximize the effectiveness of the scholarship application process.
A scholarship application requires more information than just a name, citizen status, and birthdate. You'll be required to provide more than just basic contact information. Most scholarship applications require letters of recommendation from teachers or employers, academic transcripts, cover letters, resumes, essays, and multi-page personal statements. And nearly every scholarship has an application submission deadline. To ensure you meet application deadlines, start gathering everything you need, begin brainstorming for personal statements, and request letters of recommendations months ahead of time. Don't begin writing your personal statement or essay the night before the submission deadline. A key to obtaining scholarship awards is starting the application process long before the submission deadline.
Don't loose focus of the detail.
Applying to several scholarships is the best strategy for maximizing your chances of receiving a scholarship award, but be careful. When students are applying to several scholarships, it's not uncommon for them to mix up the details of their scholarship applications. Make sure you know the specific requirements for each scholarship for which you apply. Overlooking critical detail, or neglecting just a few requirements, can disqualify you from a scholarship award. Read the directions for each scholarship carefully. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to the scholarship provider via email or a phone call. Believe it or not, scholarship providers are eager to answer your questions and assist you.
Imagine that you're asked to review a thousand scholarship applications and to determine which applicant should receive a scholarship award. After reviewing all one thousand scholarship applications, you're about ready to keel over from exhaustion and boredom. All one thousand applications re really good. All the applications included the requisite number of personal statements, letters of recommendation and essays. They all followed the application guidelines perfectly. But they were all pretty much carbon copies of one another. None of the applicants stood out from one another as original or unique.
When preparing your scholarship application, it's important you follow all application rules and submission guidelines. This does not however mean you shouldn't be orginal. Remember, scholarship judges are people just like you and me. The last thing they want to do is review one thousand scholarship applications that are essentially the same. As you prepare your scholarship application, include information and exhibits that will help set you apart as interesting, unique and especially deserving.
Pay attention to presentation.
Pay attention to the presentation of your scholarship applications. Sometimes, presentation is just as important as content. If you've written a great essay, and meet all the scholarship requirements, but submit an application that is sloppy, you could jeopordize your chances of receiving the scholarship award. All things being equal, the student who submits a neat and professional looking application is going to have an advantage over other applicants. Even if it's not required, you should type your responses to essay questions. If you must fill out the application itself by hand, use your very best pennmanship. Never submit an application with with smudges, white out or other blemishes.
Have someone else review your application for errors.
Whether you're applying for one or a hundred scholarship awards, it's easy to make mistakes on a scholarship application. However, the likelihood of making errors will increase, if you're applying for several scholarships. Before submitting your application(s) have good friend, maybe your parent, review your application(s) for errors. A second pair of eyes will often spot errors that you missed.
Have someone review your essay.
Just as critical as the application itself, is the application essay. With respect to flow of thought, clarity and grammar, your essay should be flawless. We recommend having your teacher read your essay and provide feedback. If your teacher isn't available, find a school counselor, qualified adult or even a friend who can review your essay for you. A second pair of eyes will be able to identify issues with incohesiveness and grammar that you are not. Ask your reviewer to make sure your essay adequately addresses and proves your thesis. Also, ask them if they like your essay or have any other feedback. Don't forget, the scholarship judges are people just like your teacher, parent and friend. If the person you have review your essay finds it compelling, the judges probably will too.
Follow all application submission rules.
You've written the perfect essay. You've completed the application. Now it's time to submit your application. When submitting your scholarship application, follow submission instructions precisely. Neglecting to do so could cost you your scholarship. Most scholarship committees have very specific application submission guidelines. It's important you follow these guidelines. Some applications can be e-mailed. Others must be submitted via U.S. Mail in a plain white envelope with a stamp. If you're not familiar with the submission guidelines for a scholarship, find out. Call or write the scholarship provider, if necessary. Not following submission guidelines can automatically disqualify you for consideration.
Always be professional and courteous when addressing members of scholarship committees. Many people are impressed by professionalism, and even if you're not awarded a particular scholarship, committee members could recommend you to other organizations offering scholarships.