TIPS ON SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION FORMS
SCHOLARSHIPS are not handed out like sweets. Scholarship panels & committees need to ensure that only deserving candidates i.e. those who meet their minimum standards and criteria, are awarded scholarships.
While there are no ‘One Size Fits All’ tips on securing scholarships, remember to always put your best foot forward and you do so by putting forward a strong case to back your application; simply pleading poverty will not cut it. Competition is fierce so if you cannot dedicate the time and effort required to complete this application form project (and it is a project as anyone who has successfully completed a scholarship application form will vouch), then there will be plenty of other candidates who are willing to do so.
Many candidates fail at the start: by not submitting an application form at all or, missing the deadline. Don’t be one of these statistics. Below are some tips we share with you – this list is not exhaustive…
SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION FORM TIPS
- IDENTIFY YOUR COURSE AND THEN LOOK FOR SCHOLARSHIPS – Which Undergraduate or Post Graduate courses are you interested in? Review the course you wish to study FIRST not the scholarship. Three to five years is a long time to dedicate to a course in which you have no interest or passion. Some people have contacted us to get details on scholarships in any course but this my friend, is the road to nowhere and your journey will be short lived.
- MISSING DEADLINES – Many people often fail at the first hurdle: Missing the deadline. This is one of the most common reasons for people missing out on scholarships. Deadlines are there for a reason – do not miss these.
- DOES THE UNIVERSITY ITSELF OFFER SCHOLARSHIPS? Once you decide on your university course (assuming you meet the minimum criteria), contact friends and/or Alumni who have completed this course and ask them whether anyone they know, was awarded a scholarship then contact the person concerned (to get application form tips) or, the organisation that awarded this scholarship (start first by visiting their website to see whether you are eligible to apply (if you are an international student).
- ELIGIBILITY – Only apply if you are eligible for specific scholarships i.e. if the scholarships are for US citizens or only engineering students and you are not, then do not apply, unless they are willing to look at other applicants.
- LEAVING APPLICATION FORM SECTIONS BLANK – Do NOT leave sections blank. If a question does not apply to you simply write N/A or Not Applicable.
- SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION IN FULL (Including supporting documents) – Where you are asked to submit: an essay, academic transcripts, or letters of recommendation, then ensure the application form you submit, has all these documents attached. Not doing so may render your application form incomplete and/or disqualified.
- NOT FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS – Only submit documents which you have been asked for. In other words, follow instructions to the letter. Do not submit documents which are not required. Once again, not following instructions could cost you this application.
- ESSAY STATEMENT – If you are required to submit an essay, then nothing beats passion and your own personal story. Write and re-write your essay until it is perfect. In addition, ensure you do NOT exceed the word count. If they ask for xxxx number of words then give them that. Keep to the essay theme i.e. address the topic at hand; do not go off course; address this point. If you are asked how you personally achieved or led a community project then you focus on YOUR personal contribution that led to the success of the project, not what was generally achieved by the organisation or team, as a whole.
- KEYWORDS – Identify the keywords used in the scholarship statement and use these in your essay. Another tip: get the reader engaged from the opening of your essay; perhaps use a quote. Scholarship committees/panels get flooded with application forms so ensure yours stand out.
- SCHOLARSHIP FRAUD – Ensure you research the organisation that is offering the scholarships. Do not give your personal details to just any organisation. Do your background research and beware any organisation that guarantees you a scholarship.
- STUDENT VISAS – Securing a scholarship does not guarantee you an entry visa to the country (if this is abroad), so ensure you also speak with the Embassy in your country.
- MAKE YOUR APPLICATION RELEVANT – Tailor your application to the sponsor’s goals. Read and follow the instructions carefully
- CARELESS MISTAKES – Proof read your application form – you should not submit an application form full of typos and grammar errors. Scholarship application forms cannot be rushed. Competition is often fierce and you will be competing with students who are willing to put in the time
- IS YOUR FACEBOOK PROFILE LETTING YOU DOWN? Make sure your online footprint is clean i.e. no compromising photos of you on Facebook or hate messages online.
- Last, but not least: BE CONSISTENT, COMPREHENSIVE AND SINCERE!