How To Apply For Scholarships

Let’s face it – there aren’t many people out there that can afford to attend college without any financial assistance. That’s why is it extremely important to apply for all the financial aid you are eligible for. Besides filling out the FAFSA, make sure you research available scholarships. Every dollar you receive can really help out!

Here is How to Apply For Scholarships:

1. CONFIRM THAT YOU MEET ALL THE ELIGIBILITY criteria of each scholarship you want to apply for. Don’t waste your time and apply for a scholarship if you only “sort of” meet its requirements or meet “almost all” the criteria. You won’t be considered, and you will only annoy the application evaluators. It is better to take time and research scholarships that are specific to you.

2. CONFIRM THE DEADLINE for each scholarship and mark on a calendar when you need to have each scholarship in the mail. Applications that are even a day late will not be considered, so mail everything early, in case there are mail delays or complications. If you have to fill out an online application in addition to mailing supporting documents, make sure you set some time aside so you can thoroughly complete the online application.

3. ORGANIZE YOUR SCHOLARSHIPS BY DEADLINE and make a list of all the information each application requires. Most scholarships will ask for:

  • Application form (check for a downloadable form in PDF format)
  • FAFSA, or your income and personal assets
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) and transcripts
  • Proof of enrollment or acceptance for admission from your school
  • Your education goal depending on the type of scholarship you’re applying for, you may also be asked for nomination from the scholarship representative at your school
  • Personal or professional references (include an up-to-date phone number, email address, and mailing address for each reference)
  • Community or education achievements
  • Commitment to a service obligation
  • Essay

4. GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR REFERENCE WRITERS. Some scholarships will require reference letters – make sure you contact the people you want to write them ahead of time so they have more than enough notice. If the writer has enough time to write your letter, and it’s not a last-minute thing, you will likely get a more positive reference that way.

5. RECYCLE YOUR ESSAYS. If you find you’re writing more or less the same essay for each scholarship, reuse one you’ve already written and modify it to respond specifically to each scholarship’s topic. Obviously do not send exactly the same essay to the different scholarships you are applying for, but find a way to repurpose what you have already written – to save time, and save you some stress!

6. PROOFREAD YOUR APPLICATIONS AND ESSAYS carefully for misspellings and errors in grammar and word usage. For example, watch out for mistakes with your and you’re; its and it’s; were and we’re; their, there, and they’re. This is very important: if you’ve reused an essay, make sure you’ve changed the name of the scholarship or organization everywhere it can be found!

7. REVIEW ALL THE PIECES of your application packet. Make sure you have everything required, and do not include things that the scholarship instructions didn’t ask you for.

8. MAKE COPIES OF EVERYTHING in your application packet before you mail it. You want to make sure you have copies of all the paperwork needed in case something gets lost in the mail.

9. SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION packets early, rather than “right on time.” Just in case!

10. FOLLOW UP WITH EACH SCHOLARSHIP sponsor to verify that they have received your application packet. Did online application forms send you a confirmation email?

Check out StudentAdvisor’s Guide: Scholarship Secrets 2010 for more advice and tips!