By Raven Wilkinson
The process of applying for a scholarship can be overwhelming. However, despite how difficult and unlikely it may seem, it IS possible to win a scholarship. This will help ease the financial challenges that come with attending university. So, here are some tips to make your scholarship application stand out!
Read ALL The Instructions
The most important part of applying for a scholarship, or doing anything really, is reading the instructions. You may think you know what the application is looking for and what you need to do. However, it is key to make sure you understand every single requirement, deliverable, and form. Review these instructions before AND after you complete the application to confirm you have all the working parts. This ensures you don’t forget an important step. For example, applicants may be disqualified for writing their name on an essay that is meant to maintain anonymity.
Take Your Time
You may not be familiar with every essay topic, so take time to reflect on the question asked. Write a list of ideas and think about how you can weave in personal anecdotes or apply concepts you are familiar with. It may also be helpful to create an essay outline to stay on track, even if it’s a personal essay. Moreover, begin early to avoid rushing through it, so you can produce a quality application that makes you proud.
Show Your Personality
Yes, it’s important to remember the mechanics of the English language and write your application based on the level of formality required. But don’t forget to show who you are in your writing. This is particularly important when the scholarship application requires an essay. Therefore, don’t be afraid to write with humour and use your unique writing voice to make a lasting impression on the evaluators. They are looking at TONS of essays, so your unique style might be what raises their eyebrow or causes them to take a second look.
Have Multiple People Review It
Once you write a solid draft, ask people to review it. A teacher or professor will likely tell you what the evaluators are looking for, while a family member might remind you of a relevant anecdote to illustrate your point. Either way, you’ll gain outside perspective and can pick and choose which feedback to incorporate while keeping the application true to you.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Similar to the first tip, it’s important to set aside time to proofread. Scan the paper for major errors, and then go through it with a fine-tooth comb to catch minor spelling or grammar mistakes. Then, wait a couple of days and do it all over again. Take a break in between editing days to help you see the paper with fresh eyes each time. This way, you can identify errors you missed the first time. You may also want to have someone else give it a read to ensure the application is polished and ready to submit.
Prepare Your References
If the application requires letters of recommendation, ask your references far enough in advance and give them an idea of when to expect your final draft. In addition to sending your application draft, you can also send them your resume, a summary of your extracurriculars, and what your goals are for the future. This will help your teacher or former supervisor highlight your accomplishments and future plans.
If you’ve done everything required and submitted an application you’re proud of, the results are out of your hands. Also, even if you don’t win that scholarship, you are in a much better position to nail the next one.
Therefore, stay positive, do your best, and be proud of your efforts. Now make that scholarship application stand out. You’ve got this!