This post is for all of the newbie scholarship hunters and appliers out there. Today, a university student contacted me and asked about the steps that she should take after finding a scholarship program that she’s eligible for. I’m pretty sure many of you have the same question, so this quick guide is for all of you first timers. Once you find a scholarship program that you’re eligible for, take these six steps.
- Immediately find out the application deadline: You want to give yourself at least 2 weeks to complete the application (I recommend that you give yourself more time, preferably 3 to 4 weeks). Then mark your calendar or agenda to make sure you submit the application on time.
- If the application requires recommendation letters, request them immediately: Always give your teachers and professors enough time to write and submit their recommendations. Give your recommenders at least 2 weeks (preferably more time) to get the job done. Be sure to ask for recommendations politely and give soft reminders as the application deadline draws nearer. You don’t want to miss out on scholarship money just because you asked for recommendations at the last minute.
- Figure out the application requirements: Does the application need a resume, a personal statement, and a writing sample? Or does it just require you to fill out a form? Find this out. Start preparing all the materials that you need.
- Prepare all the pieces of the application: Put together that resume/CV, draft that personal statement or essay, fill out the application form. Just finish each document one at a time.
- Get the application proofread and edited: Go to your college’s writing center and get your essays edited and make revisions. Visit the campus career center or your school’s guidance counselors’ office to get your resume in great shape. If you aren’t able to find free writing services and counseling resources at your university or school, ask a teacher, professor, or fellow student to help you proofread and edit your application.
- Submit the application on time: Now that your application is complete and has been proofread and edited, it’s time for the final step— to submit! Avoid submitting the application right before the deadline; at that time, the site servers tend to work slower and are more likely to have glitches. I’ve heard horror stories about students not being able to submit their applications because the site crashed due to a large number of applicants trying to submit their applications at the same time (usually minutes before the deadline). Don’t be like most students; submit your application a little earlier. It saddens me to see students miss out on scholarships and funding due to procrastination.
I hope that this quick guide was useful and encourages you to start applying for scholarship and student funding programs. You can start finding scholarship programs that you’re eligible for by making a Fastweb account.
As always, good luck! And I’d love to hear about your scholarship success.