Preparing a well-written scholarship application is often a difficult process.
This post includes ten essential tips for perfecting your scholarship application. The tips included here will help you meet the deadlines, please the scholarship sponsor, perfect your essay and more!
1. Identify and Meet the sponsor’s goals.
Who wins scholarships? The student who best meets the sponsor’s formal and informal requirements. Therefore, to win a scholarship, you need to meet a sponsor’s goals.
As simple as this may seem, many students simply meet the sponsor’s bare requirements and hope for the best. Do not do this!
Read through all the scholarship information watching for details and clues about what the sponsor’s formal and informal requirements. By meeting the sponsor’s goals you increase you chance of winning exponentially!
2. Participate in extracurricular activities.
Surprisingly, most scholarship committees do not simply choose the student with the highest grade point average (GPA) or SAT score. Instead, most scholarships are equally interested in a students extracurricular activities.
Are they involved in their community? Do they have an after-school job? Did they start their own business? What hobbies do they have? The scholarship coordinators are interested in giving the award to the person they consider the most well-rounded student.
Grades are important, but they are only half the story. Therefore, it is to your advantage to participate in extracurricular activities. Join 4-H. Volunteer at your local library. Start a business. Find a hobby. All these activities will help make you stand out to scholarship sponsors.
3. Watch the deadline like a hawk.
We will never know how much scholarship money is lost simply because the applicant missed the deadline. When students are applying to many scholarships at once it is easy to confuse the deadlines and send the applications on the wrong date.
To avoid this danger, students should keep a calendar either on paper or online. On you calendar, write the name of each scholarship in red on its deadline, and in black one week before the deadline. Try to get scholarship applications in before the black (early) deadline but make sure that you get it in before the red (final) deadline.
4. Proofread your application one more time.
How can you increase your chance of winning in under 5 minutes? By proofreading your application.
Most scholarship committees do not even consider scholarship applications that have major blunders. Did you get your address right? Did you get the scholarship name right? What about the coordinator’s name?
Once you have verified the information on the application, read through you essay once more. Are their any major spelling errors? What about grammar errors? Is the header of the essay formatted correctly? Simply spending a little more time can vastly increase your chance of winning.
5. Search, Search, SEARCH!
Persistence is the key to getting a scholarship. Finding good scholarships is often a difficult job.
When you have spent two hours looking through scholarships without finding one that’s a good fit, you’ll probably feel like giving up. Don’t. You can stop for the day if you get too tired, but keep on looking the next day.
Think of it this way. The harder a time you have finding a scholarship; the less competition you will have! So, keep on looking and eventually you should get a scholarship.
6. Organize your surroundings and your time.
Keeping organized is one of the most important habits all college students should develop. It helps with study time, and it helps with scholarships.
When your surroundings are organized, is easy to concentrate on your application. On the other hand, when your surroundings are disordered, it is easy to get distracted or loose important papers.
Organizing your time is equally important. When your time is well-scheduled, you can reduce “dead time” and meet your deadlines. However, when your time is not ordered, it is easy to miss important deadlines or schedule two things for the same time. Keep both physically and mentally organized!
7. Watch for scholarship scams.
Sadly, there are many scam artists who try to make money off gullible students. College scholars loose millions of dollars every year to these scholarship scams!
That is the bad news. Thankfully, there is good news – most scholarship scams are easily recognizable if you know the signs. The cardinal rule of scholarship scams is: “If it takes money to get money, it is probably a scam.” After all, aren’t scholarship sponsors supposed to be giving you money?
Strictly following this rule will help you escape most scams, but some scams are not so easily caught. Certain scholarship scams do not ask for money. Instead, they request personal information, so they can commit identity theft or other crimes! For more information on avoiding scholarship scams learn the 23 Warning Signs of Scholarship Scams.
8. Write an Accomplishments Resume.
Often when writing scholarships, it is difficult to remember some important piece of information. The date that you started work at a certain job. Or what your boss said about your work.
Looking for this information can break your concentration, lower your writing quality, and decrease your chance of winning the scholarship. Before you start applying for scholarships, write an accomplishment resume. On this resume include all the important information such as dates, a summary of your work, and recommendations.
9. Use concrete examples in essays.
If the scholarship requires that you write an essay (and most do), don’t simply use abstract information – use concrete examples. For example, instead of writing an abstract essay about volunteering in college, write about your experiences while volunteering.
This is an excellent time to use your accomplishments resume. Scholarship sponsors want to hear about you and your experiences, not about some abstract topic.
10. Double check the eligibility requirements.
Does the scholarship require demonstrated need? What about full-time enrollment? Or a minimum GPA? Double checking the eligibility requirements will save you time spent in writing unnecessary scholarship applications.
Armed with these ten must-have tips, you should be able to make your scholarship application and essay more noticeable to the scholarship evaluation committee.
What are your favorite for scholarship applications tips?
It’s easy to get caught up in the academic aspects of a college application, spending every spare second focusing on your grades.
With so many educational commitments, it can be tempting to drop everything else in order to maintain your grade point average. However, colleges like to see other aspects on the application in addition to academics. They love extracurriculars.
Every student, whether a freshman or a senior, needs to factor in time for extracurricular activities. By taking a little time to prepare, students can juggle school, extracurriculars, and college admissions simultaneously and achieve that well-rounded look that every college dreams about.
Time to Sign Up
At the beginning of the school year, students should be aware of the extracurricular options available to them. Freshmen, this is the perfect time to explore. By the time you are a junior or senior, you should be able to narrow down your extracurricular activities to a few key favorites. Seek out activities with opportunities for service and leadership – these are key qualities to have under your belt come time for college. Try some new things and go out of your comfort zone.
If you’re stuck for ideas or have limited options, start your own club or organization. Dig in deep and involve yourself as much as you can handle. Your persistence will pay off.
Time to Decide
By the end of sophomore year, students should start to focus in on a couple of key extracurriculars. In order to really become a leader and stand out in your activity, you have to prioritize and that might mean cutting out a few activities. Pick two or three other clubs/activities to really commit yourself to. Talk to your leaders for ideas on gaining leadership opportunities within your activities. Plan outings or service projects with your team. Show colleges what you’re passionate about and prove it with the depth of your involvement.
Time to Apply
Uh-oh. It is senior year and you are reading this for the first time. It’s time to apply to college and maybe your list of extracurriculars isn’t as long as you’d like. However, there’s still hope. Redemption can be found in your essay.
Your college essay is the perfect time to highlight a particular strength or interest you have that may not appear in your extracurriculars. Perhaps it is a hobby like writing or even listening to music. Write your essay in a way that demonstrates that you have not just been slacking off outside of school, that your mind and body have still been active. Specify your strengths, interests, and personality and the lack of extracurricular activities will be forgotten.
The whole point of extracurricular activities is to demonstrate that you have more in you than academics. Otherwise, on paper, you seem like a robot – not someone admissions personnel can relate to and certainly not someone they want at their school.
Extracurricular activities show leadership, service, and dedication, all admirable qualities in a college student. Whether you are signing up for activities freshman year or writing your first draft of your college essay, you need to keep this in mind and consider all the advantages to extracurricular activities.
Need Money to Pay for College?
Every semester, Fastweb helps thousands of students pay for school by matching them to scholarships, grants, and internships, for which they actually qualify. You'll find high value scholarships like VIP Voice's $5,000 Scholarship, and easy to enter scholarships like Niche $2,000 No Essay Scholarship, and internships with companies like Apple, Google, Dreamworks, and even NASA!
Join today to get matched to scholarships or internships for you!