(Little ways to help win big bucks)
Scholarships are awarded to the students who can show on paper that they are the most qualified applicants. Incomplete and messy applications may be passed over in favor of neater and thoroughly completed applications. Careful preparation will increase your chances of success.
Deadline: don’t miss it. Start early, especially if you need references or transcripts.
Follow directions exactly: Many applications are designed to check how well you follow directions. Instructions mean what they say: “In your own handwriting” (print neatly), “Typed” (printed from computer), “In the space below” (write here not on attached paper), etc.
Neatness: Print using black ink. Word process whenever possible. Most applications are available online and should be completed on a computer. Some can be scanned in, completed and then printed for a neater appearance.
Spelling and grammar: Use a dictionary and spell-check. Read it back to yourself out loud. Have a teacher or parent proofread the application.
Answer everything: Don’t leave any blanks empty (unless told to), write “none” or “N/A” (not applicable) where appropriate.
Choose carefully: Be sure what type of references are requested (sometimes a teacher of a specific class or an advisor of a particular club). If unspecified then give a variety of carefully chosen references. Good choices include pastor, employers, teachers, counselor, club advisor, or long-time family friend (not a peer or family member).
Ask: ALWAYS GET PERMISSION BEFORE USING A PERSON AS A REFERENCE.
Attached recommendations: If letters of reference are to be included with the application:
Give the person at least 2 weeks to write the letter. You will get a better reference.
Tell them about the scholarship and what the judging criteria are. For example if it is based on leadership skills, communication skills, sportsmanship, volunteerism, etc., the person can specifically address their knowledge of you in that area.
Short Answer or Essay-type Questions
Thorough and exact: Thoroughly answer all parts of the question asked.
Length: Follow guidelines for length; more isn’t always better.
Proofread: Write a rough draft, proofread, and then copy onto the application. Concise, well-worded, neat, and grammatically correct answers will impress.
Keep a file of your important information handy and updated so you don’t have to look it up each time. Jobs, clubs, awards, activities, references, etc. Save copies of applications and essays, often you can use the same thing again with minor changes. This includes papers you have written for school. Sometimes you can use an application essay to meet the requirements of a class assignment and get double benefit for the time you spend.