Maximize Your Scholarship Application

school scholarship application form and booksGetting a scholarship is easy to do if you have a good application to turn in. You can’t change the way the scholarship committee reviews your application. However, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of being accepted. Here are tips on how to apply for a scholarship so you can start paying your tuition.

Understand the Purpose of the Scholarship

Why did the organization decided to create this scholarship? What are their goals? What do they stand to gain from helping people like you get through college? By understanding the true purpose of a scholarship, you can adjust your application to better respond to the questions at hand. This allows you to convey specific information you feel will best appeal to the scholarship committee, and demonstrate why you deserve the financial reward without question.

Write Down Your Accomplishments

Before you fill out your application, write down a detailed list of all your major accomplishments. This information will allow you to create the most appealing application possible. Refer to your most current resume to complete your scholarship application since it has all your accomplishments listed.

Make It Personal…

Most aspiring college students are strictly conventional and do not focus on creating a  personal connection with the individuals reviewing their application. While your essay questions and short answers should definitely be academic and profession. That does not mean you have to keep the subject matter rigid and formal. The key to a good scholarship application is to make the committee feel as if they truly know the person you are and the person you are going to become. Make them feel confident that you are going to put your scholarship funding to good use.

If an essay prompts you for a personal story, think about an event that has changed your life for the better. It could even be something as simple as a compliment someone paid you which in turn inspired you to create something amazing. Make sure your personal story reflects your character so the review committee will be sure to connect with you.

… But Don’t Get Sappy

While you want to add a personal story, don’t assume that a sad story is going to make the review committee feel sorry for you. They read countless sob stories every year, so chances are they have already heard of someone worse off than you. Rather than seeking their sympathy, consider writing your application in a way that demonstrates your strength through struggle. You can remark on a hardship you experienced and overcame, but do not make it overly depressing. The committee will admire you more for your perseverance and determination than your grief and sorrow.

Support Statements With Facts

If a part of your essay includes assertions or generalizations about a certain topic, make sure you back it up with solid proof. For instance, if you are referring to statistical data that emphasized the importance of an event, cite the source from where you obtained the data. Creating a footnote with a link in the bottom of the essay will prove to the committee that you put serious effort into writing your essay.

Apply Early and Often

Applying early may not necessarily improve your chances of winning a scholarship, but it will ensure that you have more time to register to as many awards as possible. Making this part of your weekly, monthly, or even daily routine will boost your aid opportunities.

Explore All Your Options

Don’t make the mistake of focusing only on one type of scholarship – if you are qualified, apply to all the financial aid possibilities available. An award that may not seem suitable for you may have low competition, therefore making you a prominent contender.

Record Your Answers Aloud

If you struggle writing essays, think about creating a video as a response to an essay question. You can then transcribe the recorded information into a physical application. Save more time by use your smartphone’s speech-to-text function. Just make sure you read over your answers thoroughly before submitting them (because sometimes AutoCorrect has a mind of its own!)

Work With a Separate Program

Instead of writing your short answers directly in the browser, use programs such as Microsoft Word, Google Drive, or a simple e-mail. Although these programs automatically save a draft, get in the habit of saving your work in case something goes wrong (like your computer crashing) while you are writing. Make sure to use the spelling and grammar check so your application will be free of mistakes.

Think Outside-the-Box

Scholarship committees love reading unique application. If you catch them by surprise, your application will be noticed. One of our scholarship winners shared an instance where she won a grant for her creativity.  She was asked to talk about someone that has made her into a better person, and she chose her estranged father. Why? Since he walked out of her life when she was a child, it forced her to toughen up and fend for herself. You weren’t expecting that, right? Devise a way to make your story stand out and you will get a better reception.

Tell the Truth

It may be tempting to fabricate your accomplishments and experiences, however, that is not a good idea. Many scholarship committees run background checks to verify that the information you provided is accurate. If they catch you in a lie, they will immediately dismiss your application.  Be honest about your achievements, even if they’re not as outstanding as you had hoped.

Do Not Miss Deadlines

Deadlines are extremely important so make sure you don’t miss an award opportunity.  Typically, an ample amount of time is provided for completion of all needed scholarship application requirements, so pleading a case for consideration after the deadline has passed, doesn’t do much good. Check all deadlines carefully and use a calendar to keep track. Try to leave yourself reminders one month and two weeks before the application is due.

Review, Review, Review!

Before you submit your application information, re-read it a few times. If you need to, let it sit for a day then come back to it with a fresh eye. The people reviewing your scholarship submission do not know you. Your application is their first impression of you and will reflect badly if you have tons of typos and incomplete sentenced. To be safe, ask an instructor, teacher, parent, or friend to review your information.

Make sure to double-check all your personal information such as your name, email address, and telephone number. If this information is incorrect, the scholarship committee may have no way of reaching you.

Not sure where to start with finding scholarships? We have tips on where to look!