Some scholarship funds receive many more applications than they can possibly fully consider. Therefore, you need to have a great application to get past the “first round." The judges' first evaluation of your application is a quick one, usually only 15-30 seconds. This strategy reduces the application volume to a more manageable size.
- Are all of the required documents included? Be sure you are not leaving out references, transcripts, photographs or anything else the application requires.
- Do you qualify? Do you meet the minimum requirements? Many scholarships require a minimum grade point average. It is important to have a competitive GPA.
- Watch deadline dates. Send in applications as early as possible. Late applications are not usually considered for a scholarship.
- Tailor your application to your sponsor’s goal. Pay attention to detail. Read all of the information provided carefully and follow the instructions. If you need to send in 6 images of your artwork, do not send in 10, thinking that more is better. Scholarship committees are looking to see if you can follow directions. You may be eliminated by sending in more than the requirements specified.
- Participate in extracurricular activities. Are you involved in your community? Do you have a part time job? Do you volunteer for events such as ArtPrize? Do you give blood? Are you a member of one of the Kendall Student Organizations? Were you on a sports team in high school? If you have limited extracurricular involvement, show how you may be particularly involved with your family or within classes you have taken, such as being a leader in a group assignment.
- Write a great essay, if required. Proofread, proofread, and proofread one more time. Most scholarship committees will not even consider a scholarship application with major blunders. Are there major spelling errors? Are there major grammatical errors?
- Special circumstances. If you have overcome any obstacles, let the judges know without being too overdramatic. Do not beg for money. Be positive and tell the judges what you have accomplished.
- Demonstrate that you are a unique person. The judges like to feel that they can relate to you and feel confident that you will be worthy of their award. This will give you the edge in applying for outside private scholarships.
Treat scholarship essays as an opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you deserve a scholarship, rather than as if writing an essay is a chore. Remember that most scholarships are extremely competitive – you will not get a second chance to elaborate about your accomplishments or to provide further explanation about your motivation. The essay is your one chance to sell yourself. The following tips are designed to help you make the most of writing essays:
Sources: Scholarships.com, internationalstudent.com, and finaid.org.