The scholarship application process can take a lot of work and organizational skills. Scholarships can seem intimidating, but if you take the time to prepare in advance and follow a few simple rules while applying, you will increase your chances of winning money for college!

Before the Application Process

  • Research potential awards: If you have a list of scholarships in advance, it will take a lot of work off your plate while applying. Talk to your school counselor, check out your college’s website, or use online resources like ScholarshipQuest to create your list of awards, and arrange them by difficulty of the application and the due date.
  • Prepare for essays: Although you do need to write a new essay for every scholarship, a lot of essay prompts are similar enough that you can create outlines for future essays. Check out this page for some common essay questions.
  • Ask for letters of recommendation: Nothing can slow down your application process like trying to find a recommender last minute. Start early and ask some recommenders before you work on applications, that way you have an idea of who you can ask when you are actually working on applications. Click here for some letter of recommendation tips!

During the Application Process

  • Start early: It is tempting to put off scholarship applications, but last minute work equals sloppy applications, which decreases your chance of winning. As soon as you find a scholarship that you want to apply for, note the due dates and what application materials are required. Give yourself at least two weeks to work on your application a little at a time, especially if there are letters of recommendation involved.
  • Read (and follow!) the instructions: The only surefire way that your scholarship application will be considered is if you meet all of the eligibility requirements and if you follow all of the instructions. Scholarship providers can be reviewing anywhere from dozens to hundreds of applications for one scholarship, so they probably won’t have time to chase you down if you forgot something. Do yourself a favor and make sure you are submitting all of the materials in the correct format to the correct place by the correct day and time.
  • Put your best foot forward: Neatness and accuracy do count in scholarships, so make sure that your application is not crumpled or dirty, and make sure that it is easy to read. Additionally, make sure that you have someone proofread your application before you submit it. Last, don’t be shy about your accomplishments! You are trying to convince this scholarship provider that you are the best candidate for their scholarship. It may feel like bragging, but in this case it isn’t.

The scholarship application process is time consuming, but with a little organization and prep work, you can make it a lot easier on yourself. What are your best scholarship application tips? Leave them in the comments below!