College students are always looking for the “edge” on how to beat out their scholarship competition. The truth is, there are many factors that go into determining who wins scholarship awards, and the factors can be widely different depending on each scholarship opportunity. Though each scholarship contest has different requirements and is judged independently, there are 3 steps every scholarship applicant can implement (regardless of scholarship) to help put forth their best possible scholarship application.
Follow Directions: You may be surprised how easy it is to omit your application from the contest, simply because of failing to complete the minimum requirements. Each scholarship will have a list of requirements, which could included transcripts, letters of recommendation and/or other supporting documentation (in addition to the application). For every scholarship you apply for, make certain you meet ALL of the eligibility requirements, fill out the application COMPLETLY, submit ALL required materials, and submit your application BEFORE the scholarship deadline. Failing to do any of these could automatically take you out of the running for the scholarship award.
Stand Out From The Crowd: Most scholarship applications include some type of personal statement section or required essay. This is arguably the most important section of the scholarship application. Remember, everyone who is applying for the scholarship has likely met the GPA requirements, test score requirements, etc… so the essay and/or personal statement is where you really need to sell yourself. Use your best attributes, accomplishments, and/or unique experiences to really stand out from the crowd.
Double Check Everything: Before sending in your scholarship application, a “double check” of everything can be extremely helpful. Make certain you have all the materials required by the scholarship, and then get a friend or family member to double check your application and/or essay for grammatical errors and anything you may have missed. Having a complete scholarship application, free of grammatical and punctuation errors, already places you one-step ahead of the applicants who failed to do this.