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Ten Steps to a Strong Scholarship Application

How to simplify applying for scholarships

Scholarships do not have to be repaid, which makes them an excellent way to pay for college. There are thousands of scholarships available, so, to increase your chances of getting an award, apply for more than one. Begin researching scholarships and requesting applications throughout the spring and summer of your junior year of high school. This will give you time to meet each application deadline. Here are ten suggestions for simplifying and streamlining your scholarship application process.

  1. Get organized. Purchase an expandable file. This will allow you to keep and protect copies of your scholarship applications or printouts of applications that were submitted online.
  2. Have your photo taken. Some applications request a photograph, which should be a simple head shot.
  3. Draft a good resume. Prepare an academic resume that includes all organizations, clubs, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities you have participated in. Include honors and awards you have received from the ninth grade on, both from your school activities as well as from non-school activities.
  4. Request recommendations. Gather at least three recommendations. Ask teachers, counselors, and members of the clergy early. Avoid including recommendations from family members or fellow students.
  5. Obtain your high school transcript. Keep copies of your high school transcript available in case it is requested as part of an application. If a scholarship committee does not specifically ask for an official transcript, include only a photocopy. If the committee requests an official transcript, request one from your school.
  6. Write general essays ahead, then customize. Essays are often one element of a scholarship application. You can draft up something general on your goals, achievements, and financial need. Always be sure that you tailor your response to address the specific topic.
  7. Set up a simple, conventional email address. Make sure you set up and use an email address that represents you well and that doesn't sound odd or offbeat.
  8. Track due dates. Pay close attention to all due dates and track them on a calendar. Applications will not be considered if they are not received by the due date.
  9. Submit your application exactly as requested. For example, if the scholarship committee asks for the application, transcript, resume and two letters of recommendation, make sure the documents are presented in that order.
  10. Make copies before submitting. If you have a paper application, make a copy for your records before sending. It is recommended that you send an application with delivery confirmation so you have proof that it arrived before the deadline.

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