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Etiquette and the Scholarship Search

Today finding scholarships is easy for students—the Internet has made it so. With scholarship databases containing millions of dollars in financial aid at your fingertips, like Scholarships.com, you can earn a scholarship from a business or organization with which you have no affiliation. Getting out of the car, opening the door, and walking in to the scholarship provider’s office to pick up an application is a method of the past because of the effort and time it involves.

Scholarship providers want thousands of students to have a chance at earning their scholarship, and so many choose to list their scholarship awards in databases like Scholarships.com to make their gifts available. Most have even gone so far as to encourage students to apply online. When you apply for scholarships, consider the things that each scholarship provider has already done to make the process easy for you and show your appreciation accordingly. Think about it: They haven’t even determined that you will be the recipient, and yet they have stretched to extraordinary lengths to make the chance at financial assistance easy for you to take.

When Requesting Information About a Scholarship:

  • Write a letter expressing your interest in the scholarship and request an application if the scholarship application is not available online.
  • Look for answers to your questions about the scholarship online before making a phone call or sending an e-mail. Take the initiative to find the scholarship information in the materials they have made available to you because usually it is actually there.
  • If the scholarship is discontinued, do not write unreasonable e-mails or letters expressing your contempt for the removal of the award. Scholarships are gifts and, as such, nobody owes you one. Move on to another scholarship and apply elsewhere.
  • If you place a phone call to the organization, be patient, polite, and appreciative even if you are just requesting certain information about the scholarship. Thank them for offering the award.

When Submitting an Application:

  • Follow the guidelines for submission that the scholarship provider has given you exactly. They’re considering giving you free money for college, comply with their instructions and pay attention to detail.
  • Include a cover letter if the application is submitted by mail, unless the scholarship provider specifically requests that you don’t. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope with the correct amount of postage.
  • Proofread any materials that are submitted along with your application and take any scholarship essays seriously. There is nothing that puts off a scholarship provider like an apathetic student applying for free donations.

When You Receive the Award:

  • Send a hand-written note thanking the provider for the scholarship money. This is very important. Too often, as soon as the cash is in hand, students forget to acknowledge who gave it to them. Scholarship providers are anxious to hear from you and excited that they are helping you attend college. The silence that falls when they hear nothing from a recipient after they have cut them a check for several thousand dollars is disheartening to say the least.

One Year After You Receive the Award:

  • Say thank you one final time if the award is not renewable.
  • Write your scholarship provider and tell them about what their award has helped you accomplish in the past year, even if the award was small. Such a gesture will be greatly appreciated.
  • If your scholarship is renewable you should still express your gratitude for their continued support and give them an update about your academic progress.

Thank you in advance for using proper scholarship etiquette. By doing so, you will help ensure that scholarship providers will continue to reward deserving students in the future and help another student like yourself attend college.

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