Scholarship Application Tips

Completing a scholarship application can be a difficult task.  Below are some tips to help you complete your application and essay(s).

  • Pay close attention to scholarship application deadlines as applications submitted past the deadline will not be considered.  The first scholarship deadlines begin in the fall for the following school year.

  • Prepare a resumé.  This is a good way to outline your thoughts and showcase your activities and achievements.

  • Consider submitting additional materials with your application unless specifically directed otherwise.  These materials will help the scholarship committee get a more complete picture of who you are. Ideas include additional activities, awards received, a resumé and writing examples such as research papers, essays or news articles.

  • Prepare letters of recommendation.  Ask a few people to write letters of recommendation on your behalf so you will have them ready for future scholarship and college applications.  To avoid generic recommendation letters you want the letters to showcase your talents and personality, and demonstrate why you are an outstanding and talented individual.  If you will be asking someone for 20 different letters of recommendation throughout the year offer to lessen the workload. 

  • When writing your essays let your personality shine through.  While scholastic achievements are important, in most cases, they are not the only items considered.  Think about including your club, sports, volunteer and community involvement, honors and achievements, financial need, personal stories or valuable lessons learned.

  • Proofread your essays and applications in addition to having at least one other person proofread your application.  Spelling errors or poor writing skills will have a negative effect on your chances of receiving the scholarship.

  • Keep a copy of everything you submit!

  • If you are notified that you have received a scholarship always send a thank you note to the donor.  If appropriate, continue to keep the donor informed of your progress throughout the year.

Avoiding Scholarship Scams

To avoid scholarship scams the Federal Trade Commission cautions students to watch out for these key phrases:

  • "The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back."
  • "You can't get this information anywhere else."
  • "May I have your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship?"
  • "We'll do all of the work."
  • "The scholarship will cost some money."
  • "You've been selected by a ''national foundation'' to receive a scholarship" or "You're a finalist" in a contest you never entered.

For more information on scholarship scams check out this government sponsored website.