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Application Components

There are several common elements to a scholarship application:
·       Personal Information
·       Academic Information
·       Essay
·       Letter of Recommendation

Essay Writing Tips:
  • Writing a scholarship essay does not have to be different from another scholarship essay, the focus might be different however.
  • Do some research. If you learn a bit about the scholarship funder or organization, you can keep your essay topic relevant and perhaps relate it back to the organization’s own goals. Plus, it also shows initiative on your part.
  • Be sure to read the directions carefully, as they will describe what the essay needs to address.
  • Try to be unique. The best way to have your scholarship application stand out is through your essay. Add a life experience or a past accomplishment. Be descriptive. Tell a story to make your essay more personable and memorable. The direction you want to take your essay is up to you as long as you follow the guidelines.
  • Make sure to review and edit your essay. Try and remove any extraneous text, and look for spelling and grammar mistakes. Be sure to have someone else review your essay as well, as they may find errors that you have overlooked.
  • Remember to be true to yourself. Write what you want to write – being sincere goes a long way (don't just focus on what you think the funding organization wants to hear).

Letter of Recommendation Tips:
  • Some scholarships require one or more letters of recommendation. You will be given the option to waive or maintain your right to access the information written in support of your application. Be aware that maintaining access may impact what the writer feels comfortable stating, so be sure to consult with your reference!
  • Some letters of recommendation come as a form with space to write in information, while others are comprised of a letter (usually on letterhead) that the recommender has to create from scratch. Be sure you understand the kind of reference the scholarship to which you are applying requires.
  • Choose your reference person carefully! The one you are asking to write a letter of recommendation for you should know you well and be able to speak about you in an informed way. Think about asking your professors, your boss, volunteer coordinator, pastor, or someone you feel could best represent you (not a family member or personal contact!).
  • Once selected, provide your reference person with the information needed to write the most informative letter possible. Provide them with the details of the scholarship to which you are applying, a copy of your resume, and your own words about why you are applying, as well as why you are a good fit (it can be helpful to share your scholarship essay draft with your reference person).
  • Be sure to ask the recommender well in advance of the scholarship application deadline. A strong letter of reference is carefully written and may take the writer several weeks to get it done, depending on how busy they are.