Once a student reaches their senior year of high school it can sometimes feel as though they have spent their entire life preparing for college. Then that year is spent looking at colleges, thinking about majors, weighing up all the pros and cons of each learning institution they are considering. Another thing that many students have to fit in, and do right, is complete scholarship applications in the hope that they can get that little bit of extra help paying for the education that they have been planning to undertake for so long.
There are very few scholarship applications that simply involve filling in a demographic form. Almost all scholarship applications are far more complicated than that and the way they are completed will, of course, be a large part of the decision whether the student is awarded funds or not.
Tips for Completing Scholarship Applications
Every scholarship comes with its own unique set of requirements that have to be met but there are some similarities that apply to most scholarship applications. Supporting materials that have to be submitted along with your scholarship applications usually include at least one or two letters of recommendation from a teacher or supervisor at a job or a volunteer position, as well as high school transcripts, a well-written cover letter, a small photo and usually some kind of scholarship application essay.
The scholarship essay is the part of scholarship applications that most students worry about the most, even those who actually enjoy writing essays as a rule. The majority of the essays you will have to write for scholarship applications will be on a specific subject though, which at least gives you a good starting point. It is worth remembering that every aspect of your submission – including how it is presented – will be scrutinized so it pays to take your time. Once you believe you are done have someone else look your essay over as often a fresh set of eyes can spot mistakes that you may have overlooked.
When it comes to the cover letter often a single cover letter can be reused several times for different scholarship applications with just a few minor tweaks. Keep your cover letter short and to the point and most important of all keep it polite, simple courtesy can count for an awful lot. Please always make sure you meet any obligations when it comes to making payments regarding study loans that you may have received.
Who Should You Ask for a Recommendation?
Some scholarship applications will specify who they want a letter of recommendation from (for instance, if you are applying for a soccer scholarship they will request a letter from your coaches) Other scholarship applications though will leave it up to you to decide who you want to recommend you. Don’t ask your cousin or your neighbor choose someone who might impress the people awarding the scholarship. Teachers, clergy people, community leaders, or your local librarian are all good choices.
When approaching people to give you a recommendation give them ample time to complete it. Asking for a letter of recommendation when you know that your scholarship applications are due in just a few days is not only impolite but also very poor planning on your part. So make sure you won’t go against any norms!