- Start gathering material on yourself and build a file or resume.
Things to include:
- Grade point average, class standing, courses selected (know area of study)
- School and community activities (high school and college)
- Honors or awards (high school or college)
- Hobbies or interests
- Work or volunteer experience- Special or unusual learning experiences
- Talk with someone about what you've done. Many times what you think is insignificant could be valuable to put on an application.
- Continue to examine and refine your personal goals.
You may be asked to write essays which include these topics:
- What are your educational and career goals?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- What are your three best characteristics?
- Contact three individuals (generally faculty) to act as references. The best references generally come from instructors who have taught you recently, and better yet, have had you for more than one class. Check to see if they would be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you. Be sure to allow them at least two weeks to prepare the recommendation and be sure to let them know what the deadlines are.
- References: This part of your application is extremely important
- Pick references who will give you a good recommendation. Ask them if they have any problems writing a letter for you.
- If you have a choice, pick references who know you rather than those with prestige.
- Pick references who will get their letters in on time.
- Give them adequate notice and information to write a good letter of recommendation. A copy of the scholarship application, your resume, etc.
Beginning the Application Process
- Start early. Most scholarship applications require one or more of the following: an application form, a personal statement, a proposal, a copy of your academic transcript, and letters of recommendation. Allow at least one month to complete the process. For some, it may take as long as a semester.
- Complete the application form. Generally it is wise to answer all the questions on a computer, then you can transfer your answers to the application form.
- Draft your essay. Don't expect your first essay to be perfect. Allow enough time to evaluate and rewrite your essay. You may edit them ten or more times in order to make them convincing.
- Be aware of deadlines. A late or incomplete application may automatically disqualify you. This applies to both the scholarships which require a UPS nomination and those you will send directly yourself.
Completing Your Application
- Should you type it? Yes, unless otherwise specified. Some applications list a preference. Regardless of preference, the application should be neat and legible.
- Retain a copy for your records.
- Deliver all forms and transcripts on time.
Follow Up Your Application
Thank those who assisted in the application or wrote letters of recommendation. A thank you note would be especially nice.
If You Receive the Scholarship
- Acknowledge the scholarship donors. It is especially crucial to maintain contact if the scholarship is renewable.
- Clarify terms for scholarship renewal. Find out if you must meet specific conditions to have your award renewed (if applicable) .