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9 Killer Mistakes That Destroy College Scholarship Applications

Are there mistakes that can disqualify a college
scholarship application? You bet. Generally speaking, most local scholarship committees may find a few minor mistakes acceptable, but the higher the level of competition, the less tolerance there is for a faux pas. And when you go for the gold at the national level of competition, no mistake is permissible. Even at the local level, if the competition is heavy, one error can result in the loss of money.

Even small spelling mistakes can cause an application to be thrown out. A judge reviewed a submission from a girl who was second in her class. She had a 3.95 GPA. The problem? She misspelled salutatorian. Believe it! How does that happen? Surely, it should have been noticed. Was it a keyboarding error? Maybe.

Another application from a boy on the baseball team noted that he won the league batting title with a .259 average. Know anything about baseball? Most likely, the number 2 should have been a 3, 4, 5, or even 6.

Yet, another listed the applicant's age as "88." Do you suppose she was the oldest high school student in the the world? But wait, she listed her birth date as eighteen years earlier. Those are the kinds of silly little miscues that can disqualify good candidates. Use the computer spell check and have someone read for context and spelling problems. Most people cannot do a good job of proof-reading themselves. Why take a chance?

Another blunder is leaving blank spaces. This is not a good thing. The committee may think that you are trying to hide something. If the question or statement is not applicable to you, write DNA on the line, which is the standard abbreviation or acronym for Does Not Apply.

Use a computer and keyboard whenever possible. Investigate the many inexpensive and free form-filling computer programs. No long hand here. Never write in pencil. And, NEVER, NEVER. EVER, EVER use whiteout.

Follow directions exactly. It is not unusual to see lists where paragraphs are required and vice versa. Sometimes a signature is needed with the name printed. A simple YES or NO may be necessary, Instead, an opinion is given.

Here's a tricky one that trips many juniors and seniors with honor roll credentials. After ten years in school, they still have problems using to, too, two, and they're, their,there.

Oops! I saw a sure regional and possible national winner disqualified, because her application missed the deadline one day. Always beat the deadline. Mail early.

How could this happen? An app arrived without the parent permission slip signature.

Check, Check, Check.

This bears repeating: most mistakes can be eliminated when others proof the application. Then read it aloud while someone else listens.

What can you do, if the mistake cannot be corrected? Be sure to make a copy before you start. If it says "copies are not permitted," go back for one or two more originals.

Planning produces positive outcomes when the scholarship effort is truly a family affair.

To learn more about planning to win scholarships, visit:


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