Application Tips

Top Ten Tips for a Successful Scholarship Application

  1. Apply for anything and everything. If you think you are eligible to receive the scholarship, apply for it! If you’re not sure of your eligibility, call the sponsoring organization.
  2. Complete the application. If something is not applicable on the application, mark it as N/A or “does not apply.” Do not leave lines blank.
  3. Follow directions. Do not supply things that are not requested (i.e. transcripts, resumes, etc.)
  4. Neatness counts. Make photocopies for working drafts. Save everything, including a copy of your applications, in a special scholarship file.
  5. Make sure your essay leaves an impression. Be personal and specific. Include concrete details. Be complete and concise but also creative. If you use an example of some sort, explain it enough so that the committee understands your situation. The scholarship application is a representation of YOU!
  6. Watch all deadlines. Have a self-imposed deadline two weeks prior to actual due date. Use this as proofreading time. Utilize a separate calendar to keep track of all deadlines for all scholarships you have applied for. Do not wait until the last minute!
  7. Give it a final ‘once over’ before you submit your application. Proofread (and have someone else proofread) the entire application carefully. Ask for help if you need it and do not hesitate to call the funding organization if you have questions.
  8. Never assume! Just because you were a 4.0 student and scored a perfect ACT score does not necessarily mean you get an automatic scholarship. You have to work at it too! Yes, good grades help, but they need to be supported with substance and a well-rounded student who will represent the scholarship well.
  9. Take steps to make sure your application gets where it needs to go. Make a copy of the entire packet and keep it for your files. Make certain that your name appears on all pages. Follow up with the organization or school to make sure your application really got there or hand-deliver it yourself. Many applications are submitted online so they should appear instantaneously.
  10. Never doubt yourself! You are good enough to receive an award, you just have to apply. Do not be discouraged if you did not receive a scholarship. Scholarship money is very limited and the application process is highly competitive for every scholarship, even the smaller ones. It may take many applications, but your potential for receiving an award will increase with confidence.


Based on “FastWeb’s Tips for College Students” April 2000