How do you win the scholarship that you’ve dreamed of getting? Do you just send in an application and hope for the best? Not if you want to win! While there’s no surefire way to guarantee that you’ll win a scholarship, there are some things that you can do to help your chances. Check out these 8 tips for writing a scholarship application so that you’re ready to apply!
1) Determine Who Is Accepting Applications
First, you have to determine whether you will be submitting your application electronically or by mail. Some scholarships don’t accept Scholarship Application unless they are emailed directly from your school email account. If so, head to Step 4. If not, skip down to Step 3.
2) Don’t Overestimate Your Qualifications
While it’s important to highlight your accomplishments, you should also be careful not to make yourself seem more qualified than you actually are. Overestimating is especially common among young students with little work experience, and it can easily backfire on them later. Be honest about your accomplishments and you won’t have to worry about making yourself look like a liar in front of decision-makers. For example, if all you’ve ever done is volunteer, don’t say that you have 5 years of volunteer experience in animal welfare. Instead, say you have 8 months of animal welfare experience from volunteering at XYZ organization once or twice per week. When applying for scholarships, honesty is always going to get you further than anything else.
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3) Perfection is Impossible
While every scholarship application is different, there are some things that all of them share. Specifically, all scholarship applications should have certain parts: an essay, information about your academic history, and recommendations from teachers and guidance counselors. With all of these pieces in place you will have covered what’s expected in most cases and will only need to focus on making yours stand out from others. The biggest thing to remember when writing a scholarship application is that no matter how much time you spend on it or how many drafts you go through, perfection is impossible and probably not even worth trying to reach for.
4) The Importance of Grammar and Spelling
No matter how well you write a Scholarship Application, grammatical and spelling errors can turn off scholarship judges and make it clear that you don’t take your academic performance seriously. First impressions count—and so do second ones. So even if English isn’t your best subject, take time to review your essays before submitting them. You’ll be glad you did!
5) Showcase Your Accomplishments
If you have good grades, volunteer experience, or any other notable extracurricular activities, showcase your accomplishments by including them in your application. It’s important to show an admissions officer that you have more than just solid grades and can be involved on campus. For example, if you are applying to enter nursing school, make sure you include any community service work or healthcare experience in your application. If you’re hoping to join law school, don’t just write about your high GPA; talk about how well-versed you are in political matters and current events. There are plenty of ways to demonstrate what makes you stand out from everyone else – use them!
6) Consider Essay Length
When you’re writing an essay, it’s generally accepted that shorter Scholarship Application is better. The more words you write, the greater your chances of missing something important. It also increases your chances of repeating yourself or saying something you’ve already said before. Use fewer sentences, paragraphs and pages to get your point across—it will likely be easier to read and write, too.
7) Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Prompts
Not sure where to start? Scholarships commonly ask students to write about themselves and their accomplishments. But that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. Instead, get creative by thinking about what you can say in 500 words (or less). Some good prompts include: Explain how your academic performance has changed over time; Tell us what you did last summer and how it impacted your future plans; or even Describe why we should fund your education. In other words, don’t ignore that prompt! You have something special to say—now get out there and tell them!
8) Edit, Edit, Edit!
Sure, it’s tempting to slap on some highlights and send in your application. But you’re probably not going to get an award if you don’t take the time to proofread your essay and make sure it fits within program guidelines. Even small typos and grammar mistakes can be glaringly obvious in an essay, so double-check (and triple-check) everything. Proofreading tools like Word’s spell check aren’t always helpful—make sure you’re using them correctly!