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How To Apply For Scholarships

THE BASICS   |   HOW TO FIND   |   TYPES   |   HOW TO APPLY   |   GLOSSARY

How To Apply For Scholarships

Applying for scholarships can be a very time-consuming process, but it’s definitely worth the investment. This section will introduce you to all the basics needed to complete your scholarship application.

Follow this checklist to simplify the application process:

  1. Get organized and make a list
  2. Read all the application instructions carefully
  3. Get feedback from teachers, parents, or peers
  4. Double check. Take a second look at your application before sending it
  5. Apply for as many scholarships you can, the more you apply the better chance you have of receiving one!

Documentation For Scholarship Applications

Personal essays, recommendation letters and transcripts of your grades are the essential components of a scholarship application. The more familiar you are with terminology for scholarships and aid, the more prepared you'll be for your application.

Scholarship Essays

Personal essays are meant to showcase your creativity, ambition and the goals behind applying for each scholarship. You may be asked to describe a pivotal life experience, your career goals or why you require a scholarship. 

Regardless of the topic, many students feel overwhelmed when beginning the writing process. To avoid this pitfall, you can try these tricks:

  1. Brainstorm your ideas using a chart
  2. Select the best ideas and narrow your topics
  3. Make an outline of the structure of your essay
  4. Using the outline, begin to write your first draft
  5. Have at least one person proofread it. Make corrections and you are ready to submit!

Recommendation Letters

Recommendation letters are to highlight why you are the most suitable applicant to receive a scholarship. The letter should strive to address your strengths in character and your personal achievements. 

When you first hear of a personal recommendation, you might think of asking someone close to you such as a family member or a friend. This is generally not the best approach as most scholarship organizations prefer an objective source for your letter.

The best people to ask for recommendation letters are teachers, employers or organizations you may have volunteered for. Letters of recommendation for your scholarship are an important aspect of the application process, so make sure to ask for the letter at least 3-4 months in advance. This will guarantee you and the writer plenty of time to get your letter ready for the application deadline.

Transcripts

A transcript is a record of your academic grades and is a common component of an application for scholarships. There are two different types of transcripts: official and unofficial. Official transcripts are issued directly from the university and need to be sealed and directly delivered to the recipient. Unofficial transcripts are printouts of your grades and achievements, and are not sealed or issued directly. Make sure you carefully read which type of transcripts are required for your application and plan enough time for delivery along with the application deadline. 

Deadlines & Application Times

Each scholarship application has its own deadline. There are thousands of scholarship programs with spring and summer deadlines, and thousands more with fall and winter deadlines. The key is to never stop searching for new scholarship leads, even after beginning the freshman year in college. A good rule of thumb is to continue searching for scholarships for the duration of your college career.

Every scholarship application has different guidelines for the required documentation. Make sure to allow yourself ample time to organize yourself and complete your application. This will allow you to avoid stress while producing the best application possible!

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Last update: 21 Sep 2017