Many scholarship applications require a personal essay or statement of purpose. Your essay should be 400-500 words. The essay is usually the most important part of a scholarship application. Although good test scores, a high GPA and a solid list of activities are vital, judges frequently give the most weight to the essay because it distinguishes you from all other applicants.
Your essay is the window into who you are, your passions and your potential for being a good match. It gives applicant panels a chance to get to know you without meeting you. Your essay is how you stand out — or how you fall flat.
We encourage you to follow these helpful tips and guidelines when applying for scholarships:
Create a realistic timeline for locating and applying for scholarships.
Manage your time wisely; recycle your applications and essays.
Remember to be as distinctive as possible and separate yourself from the competition.
There is no single source that allows you to locate a comprehensive list of scholarships for which you may be eligible. Instead, you'll need to access a variety of sources such as scholarship books and databases, search online and make inquiries through academic departments. We recommend that you use a few different databases in addition to our database because none is comprehensive.
Perform an extensive search of books, print listings, identified online databases and recommended websites to understand what is offered.
Get to know the full range of scholarships available and write down current and future deadlines so you do not miss out on anything.
Add deadlines to your calendar. Most deadlines occur at the beginning of the calendar year.
Plan to start applying for scholarships at least 6-9 months before you need the money.
If the scholarship has closed for the current year, make a note to apply prior to the deadline the following year.
Once You’re Familiarized
Read the description of each award to make sure you qualify.
Read through the criteria listed carefully to make sure you qualify.
Gather required documents of support (for example, current FAFSA app, personal essay, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) as far in advance as possible to avoid missing deadlines.
Create a spreadsheet that indicates the due date of each scholarship, the required supporting documents for each and when you will receive these documents to submit your applications.
Proofread, check spelling and make sure you have provided everything that is required.
Make copies of every application sent and provide contact information.