Scholarships are highly competitive and it can be difficult for even the most stellar students to get the money they need. There are some things you can do on your scholarship application that will catch the committee’s attention and give you a better chance of winning. For the best chance at getting much-needed scholarship money, follow these 7 simple tips and watch the money roll in:
- Meet deadlines – Make sure you complete your application and send it in as early as possible. When you wait too close to the deadline, you risk missing out on the scholarship because you missed the due date. To be sure the application arrived, send it registered mail or with a return receipt requested. This demonstrates your seriousness and professionalism to the scholarship committee.
- Include a thank you letter for the cover – Keep the letter simple and professional and thank the committee for making scholarship opportunities available to college students. This shows respect and will help you to be seen in a positive light.
- Keep it organized and complete – This should be a no-brainer, but many applicants mess up by sending in incomplete applications or those that are poorly organized. Compile application materials in the order in which they are listed on the application. Do not mix separate items on the same page, and add extra items at the end that will make you stand out from the crowd. Be careful, however, to not add anything extra if the application specifically tells you not to. It is vital to demonstrate that you can follow directions.
- Include extras – There are many extra items that you can include in your scholarship application to improve your chances of winning. Even if no essay is required, include a one-page essay detailing your educational and career goals. Include ways that the scholarship will help you reach these goals. You may also include any awards, letters of congratulations, or other honors you have received to show how hard you have worked. If the scholarship can be used at any college, be sure to include any letters of acceptance you have received. This demonstrates that you are serious about your education and are on track to get started right away. You can use any combination of extra materials, but limit yourself to no more than 3-4 so you aren’t overdoing it.
- Get personalized letters of recommendation – When you ask for letters of recommendation, make sure to get the personalized for the scholarship committee to whom they will be sent. This shows that you took the time and effort to make it special. If you are requesting many letters of recommendation, ask the writer to write one and save it to the computer so you can personalize it for each recipient. Then, all the writer has to do is sign the completed letters.
- Proofread everything and keep it neat – Nothing will kill your chances for getting a scholarship faster than making spelling and/or grammatical errors. If you need help, ask a teacher to help you with proofreading. This will ensure that your application is not dismissed during the first screening simply because it looks unprofessional.
- Submit materials in a clear folder – Presentation is everything. Place all of your materials into a clear plastic folder with a side lock. Place the thank you letter on top and include a wallet-sized photo of the student in the lower left. This will create an eye-catching presentation that will guarantee that your application gets a second look.