We have been talking about the main sources and types of scholarships on the previous posts. Now it is time to see how we can actually apply for a scholarship program. It is always nice to have a clear process and plan in mind before applying. The checklist below is a good start to simplify the scholarship application process:
- Getting organized and making a list of the required documents
- Reading all the application instructions carefully
- Getting feedback from teachers, parents, or peers
- Double checking
- Apply for as many scholarships you can, the more you apply the better chance you have of receiving one.
Documents necessary for scholarship applications
Essays, motivation letter, recommendation letters, transcripts of your grades from previous studies, the actual certificates of your previous studies, English proficiency proof (if required) are all essential components of a scholarship application. In the next post, we will cover scholarship terminology, understanding the proper vocabulary is very practical when preparing the necessary documents.
Now let’s break these documents down a little bit.
What are scholarship essays? They are meant to showcase your creativity, goals and objectives, passion, at times even your personality and interests. Throughout this essay you have the chance to talk about the activities you are involved with, real-world cases (in relation to the course you are applying to) to show your way of thinking, illustration of your problem solving abilities and passion to make a difference, talking about people who have inspired you and your plan for future etc. So really this letter is one of the most important parts of this application, it is where you can basically tell the committee who you are as an individual, not only academic wise but as a person.
Regardless of the topic, many students feel overwhelmed when beginning the writing process. To avoid this difficulty, here are some tips:
- Brainstorm your ideas using a chart or any sort of visual thing that is helpful for you
- Select the best ideas and narrow your topics
- Make an outline of the structure of your essay
- Using the outline, begin to write your first draft
- Have at least one person proofread it. Make corrections and you are ready to submit.
Recommendation letters are also very critical. They are written by your previous professors, employer teachers, organizations you have volunteered for and so on. The aim of a recommendation letter is to highlight why you are the most suitable applicant to receive a scholarship. The letter should strive to address your strengths in character and your personal achievements. Scholarship committees are looking for an objective source for your letter, therefore, take this into account at all times. Sometimes the person who you have asked to write the letter will take a long time, hence, be sure to ask for the letter way in advance to avoid missing the scholarship deadline.
A transcript is a record of your academic grades and is a common component of an application for scholarships. There are two different types of transcripts: official and unofficial. Official transcripts are issued directly from the university and need to be sealed and directly delivered to the recipient. Unofficial transcripts are printouts of your grades and achievements and are not sealed or issued directly. Make sure you carefully read which type of transcripts are required for your application, a lot of time people don’t read the instructions carefully hence submit the wrong documents and therefore miss the deadline.
Each scholarship program has a different application guidelines and deadline. Many scholarship programs have Spring/Summer deadline and many more Fall/Winter. A good rule of thumb is to continue searching for scholarships for the duration of your college career.
In sum, every scholarship application has different guidelines for the required documentation. Make sure to read each guideline thoroughly, follow the instructions accordingly and as long as you have everything in order and a strong unique letter you should be good to go!!