7 Must-Know Scholarship Application Tips
Did you know that when applying for scholarships, your chances of winning one is 12.5%? And 17% of students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher win private scholarships.
These statistics might have you feeling disheartened. But keep in mind this doesn't mean it's impossible to get some financial aid. By utilizing some scholarship application tips, you can turn the odds in your favor so applying to college isn't so worrisome.
Read on for 7 must-know tips that'll help you succeed!
1. Play to Your Unique Traits and Strengths
It's no secret that scholarships are inundated with applicants. So what you want to do is improve your odds by playing to your unique traits and strengths.
Sit down and write down everything that makes you you. This includes things like:
- Languages you speak
- Your ethnicity
- Sports you play
- Instruments you play
- Hobbies you have
- Your major
There are so many scholarships out there that you'd be surprised to see some of them that fit your unique characteristics. And if you're able to apply for those, you'll have a much better chance of winning some money.
For example, you might not stand a chance if you're looking at a scholarship that's open for all high school graduates. But you might be a top contender for a scholarship that's only open to LGBTQIA+ applicants who play the pan flute.
2. Follow All Instructions
All scholarships will have their own particular set of instructions. Take these very seriously, as your application can be discarded if you don't follow them.
So once you're interested in a scholarship, read those instructions, and reread them a few more times. That way, you make sure you know what's required of you.
This also gives you some time to plan ahead. For instance, if the scholarship says you need 2 letters of recommendation, you can ask your teachers or coaches in advance so they have plenty of time to write you high-quality letters.
3. Go Above and Beyond
In addition to mandatory instructions, scholarships may have some optional requirements. You might want to take the easy way out and only submit your application with the bare minimum, but that's only shooting yourself in the foot. Chances are, everyone else is doing the same, so you want to do them one better.
It might seem tedious to fulfill the optional requirements for every scholarship you apply to. But trust us, it'll definitely be worth it.
This shows the scholarship several things. For one, it proves that you're taking the scholarship application seriously. It also shows that you have drive, motivation, and initiative.
For all these reasons, you're certain to make an impression on the judges.
4. Always Attach Letters of Recommendations
On that note, not all scholarships will ask for a letter of recommendation. But considering that it's very likely that at least one you're applying for will, it certainly wouldn't hurt to attach the same letter to all your applications.
It won't take much effort and it can show that there are people who believe in your capabilities.
Some good people to ask are your teachers, sports coaches, and music instructors. Make sure you give them ample time to write you a good letter, as there's a good chance they have busy schedules. You don't want them to rush this important piece of paper, after all.
5. Gather All Documents Early
Scholarships will typically involve quite a bit of paperwork. Not only do you have to write an essay, but you'll also have to provide things like letters of recommendations, high school transcripts, your parents' tax return (if you're a dependent), and even a clear photo of yourself.
Needless to say, you shouldn't leave these things until the last minute. Even before you figure out exactly which scholarships you want to apply to, you should request these documents so they're ready to go.
Even if most scholarships don't ask for all the documents, at least you're prepared. It's better to be safe than to be sorry!
6. Keep Editing and Proofing
There's no such thing as too much editing, so feel free to go crazy here. This is where starting early will help a lot.
You can get the first draft out, walk away from it for a little bit, and then reread it to see if you still like your scholarship essay. From here, you can tweak the weaker sections and repeat this process again.
Then, in the end, do some serious proofing. Get as many people as you can to help proofread.
7. Always Track Your Scholarships
Most likely, you're applying for more than 1 scholarship. In that case, it can become quite messy and hectic trying to keep track of everything.
Before you start applying, make yourself a chart to record all your scholarship applications so you don't lose track of any. Some key columns to include are:
- Scholarship amount
- When you've submitted your application
- When you've heard back (so you can check it off the list)
When you can get a general overview that's neatly organized, it can take a lot of stress off your shoulders. Not only that, but it can also help you keep track of things so you minimize mistakes.
Good Luck in Applying for Scholarships
When applying for scholarships, it's important that you keep the above tips in mind. By playing it smart, not only will you be able to up your chances of winning a scholarship (or two!), but you'll also be able to save some time and effort.
Applying for a scholarship and winning it can mean all the difference between affording college or not. So get yourself some financial aid now!