Five Tips to Make Your Scholarship Application Shine

February 22, 2012

Check Qualifications before Applying

You may think that you can bluff your way into a scholarship, but just think about all the other applicants and their qualifications, too. Most likely, you’ll just end up wasting the time of the scholarship committee and your own. However, eligibility rules can be really cryptic, so be sure to read them to yourself and talk it over with a parent or friend so that you have a second set of eyes in case you missed anything. You should read the directions and requirements very carefully and write down each thing that you have to do. You don’t want to spend time on something and realize too late that you missed a key part of the process.

Create a Plan

Some scholarships will take more time than others. For that reason, it’s important to plan out each step and figure out what you need to do to get the process started and finish the project. For some applications, you’ll simply need to fill out a form and commit to an essay, but writing that essay will be the hardest part. You have to make sure that you are writing something unique and engaging while still complying with the rules of the application. Others will take several steps, including an essay, project and artistic element, each of which you’ll need to plan for.

Standing Out from the Crowd

There will likely be thousands of other applicants for certain scholarships, particularly if they are national scholarships with big awards. Even a smaller, local scholarship can have a variety of well qualified candidates. The important part is that you have to find a defining quality about yourself and show that in your essay or project. You want to allow your confidence to shine through as well as what makes you different. You should answer application questions honestly, including questions about any weaknesses or troubles that you have. Turn something into a positive when you approach this question and show no fear.

Professional Second Opinion

It’s okay to let your friends and family read over an application, but you actually should have a teacher or professor look at a scholarship application and essay to give you some pointers. In general, you want to start early so you can make any changes after a professional critique. This is especially important for scholarships that are requiring engineering projects or artwork. You may also have missed something in your design that can be improved or even get ideas that will change your project into something extraordinary. It’s important to go outside of the normal for evaluations as well. The more people who read your essay and look at your project, the more opinions you can gain from those experiences and make those tweaks to pull off a finished product.

Always Apply for Other Awards

You shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Once you finish an application, continue to apply for other scholarships and grants. There are plenty to choose from and you increase your chances of winning an award if you apply to more than one.

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