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Scholarship Strategy

The Scholarship Application Process

You’re ready to begin applying. You’ve determined which scholarships you are interested in and organized them based on the priority that their deadlines have designated. For the record, you’re farther along than many students and that much closer to earning financial assistance towards your college tuition and you are most certainly headed in the right direction.

The next step is sitting down and actually applying for the scholarships. If there are a hundred awards that you want to compete for, don’t worry about applying for them all in one day. Pressuring yourself will cause the quality of the applications and essays you submit to diminish and this will only encumber your chances of earning a scholarship. To avoid this dilemma, set a goal for yourself. Decide how many thoroughly completed applications you can send in a week. Maybe it’s 20 or maybe, if the scholarships that you want to apply for require intense preparation it’s only two. Either way, designate a goal for each week and stick to it.

Things to do when applying:

  • Pay attention to detail.

    When you are applying to several scholarships at once, it is very easy to confuse the requirements specified by each and overlook critical details. Read all of the information provided carefully. When in doubt, make a phone call. What many students fail to realize is that scholarship providers are in the business of awarding scholarships and they enjoy helping students get the financial assistance they need. Most will be more than willing to answer your questions.
  • Presentation, presentation, presentation.

    Always type responses to essay questions. We live in a time where the computer has taken the place of the family dog — it's man’s best friend. Take the time to type any responses, even those that seem informal. It can’t hurt you but it can always help. Additionally, if the application itself must be filled out by hand, use your best penmanship. No white out, smudges, smears, ketchup, etc.
  • Get help reviewing your application.

    Have a parent or friend review the information on your application. Plain ol’ paper isn’t yet equipped with spell check so an extra pair of eyes will help you identify any errors.
  • Have a teacher give you feedback on your essay.

    This is critical. If you can’t find a teacher to read your essay, find an adult or even a peer who will. They can tell you if it is cohesive, if the piece directly addresses and proves your thesis and if a judge will like it. Scholarship judges are people just like your parents and teachers (sometimes students forget this), so any feedback that they can provide you with is an invaluable resource. The editing process can be tedious, but it always pays off.
  • Follow the submission rules precisely.

    Don’t eliminate yourself because you sent your application in the wrong color envelope. Scholarship providers typically outline very specific submission rules and it is important that you follow their guidelines. Find out whether your scholarship can be e-mailed or if a stamp and envelope is necessary. If you are unsure about a rule, call or write the scholarship provider in advance. Don’t wait till the last minute.

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