Scholarship loadingWelcome to the first installment of the Scholarship Application 101 series! Over the next couple of months, I will be going over some of the basic components that appear in most scholarship applications, and what you can do to complete them to the best of your ability. The next few months (January-April) are peak scholarship time, so there’s no better time than the present to become a scholarship pro!

In this section, we’re going to discuss some of the basic information that may come up on a scholarship application. In future installments, we’ll go over essays and letters of recommendation. Let’s get started!

Personal Information

Every scholarship application has a version of this section, although some go more in-depth than others. Some common information requested includes name, address, phone number, email address, etc. A few applications may still request your social security number (SSN), but many scholarship providers have stopped requesting it for privacy and security reasons. Most of the information in this section is intended to help the provider identify you and be in contact with you if needed, but if you have any questions about what your information is used for, it doesn’t hurt to contact the provider and ask.

Academic/College Information

Academic information will vary based on the type of scholarship that you’re applying for, but can include the name of your college, your current or intended major, test scores (ACT or SAT), school transcripts, and grade point average (GPA). If you don’t already know this information or have access to it, it is a good idea to talk to your school counselor and gather your academic information for scholarship purposes. It will save you time in the long run.

Résumé Items

Some scholarships will request information about your volunteer experience, work experience, and extracurricular activities, as well as any awards, honors, or leadership positions earned while participating in those activities. If you don’t already have a resume, now is a great time to start one! Use EducationQuest’s free Activities Resume to record your activities from the past few years.

Financial Information

Financial information can be confusing for a lot of students, but a lot of scholarship applications ask for it in order to make sure that they are providing funds to students who really need the money. If you are asked to provide information about finances, you will likely need information from your family’s most recent tax return and/or data from your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is currently open for the 2021-2022 school year, so fill it out if you haven’t already!

The information requested on a scholarship application is intended to tell the scholarship provider about you, whether you meet their eligibility criteria, and whether you would be a good fit to receive funds from them. Fill out the information requested of you (neatly), and if you have any questions about the information that you need to provide, talk to a trusted adult or the scholarship provider.

Keep an eye out for next month’s entry in the Scholarship Application 101 series, where I’ll discuss scholarship essays!