Finding a scholarship that suits your requirements and for which you are eligible can be a time-consuming and difficult process. Unfortunately, many students spend hours and hours finding a scholarship yet fail to put an equal amount of effort into their application. The application is by far the most important part of your scholarship search; make sure you spend as much time on it as is necessary to get it right.
When you apply for scholarships, it is important to be clear on the scholarship requirements. After all, you want to be sure you are eligible before you apply for scholarships. If you are not, you are wasting your time, as well as the time of the business or individual offering the scholarship.
Scholarship Requirements Different scholarships have different requirements and use different criteria to select scholarship recipients. Consider the following as you start your scholarship investigation:
• You may be required to write an essay, pass a written exam, or complete a project demonstrating your potential.
• Programs may specify how scholarship funds must be used, set time restrictions for disbursing the funds, or set a ceiling on qualifying family income.
• Scholarship funds may be paid directly to the college.
• Failure to meet certain requirements could jeopardize your ability to keep the scholarship.
Make sure you get as much information about the scholarship as possible. Write, call or e-mail the provider of the scholarship to ensure you have full details of application procedures and what will be expected of the successful applicant. If the scholarship entails a particular project, find out the full objectives and intended methodology of the project. If the scholarship is being funded by a private enterprise, gather as much information as you can about the company, its philosophy and its goals. You can never have too much information.
In addition to making sure you are eligible before you apply for scholarships, understanding the requirements also helps guide you through the application process. Failure to follow the application requirements correctly when you apply for scholarships will almost certainly result in denial of the scholarship. This can include failure to include a specific form or even filling out the forms with the wrong ink color. Therefore, you absolutely must read all of the requirements and guidelines when you apply for scholarships. If you do not, all of the work you put into the scholarships will be wasted because your application will not even be considered.
If you have heard about a particular scholarship and you are not sure of the requirements, it is perfectly acceptable to write to the company or individual to request an application packet. Even if you do have application guidelines, be sure they are the most current versions before you apply for scholarships. Scholarship guidelines routinely change from year to year.
If a particular post-secondary institution has already accepted you as a student, you might also apply for scholarships offered through the college or university. To learn about possible scholarship opportunities, contact the financial aid office of the institution. Once again, be certain to follow the guidelines exactly as they are described in the scholarship packet and personally check up on the scholarship application if possible.