Applying for college can be an overwhelming process for any student. However, if you plan on applying for scholarships as well, there is a good chance you’ll feel like your head might explode before you complete all your submissions – or worse, you’ll miss a crucial application detail or deadline.
The key to a smooth scholarship submission process is organization and the earlier you get organized, the better. Start by making a generic intake form and checklist that you can use for each scholarship application. These two documents will ensure you’re vetting each opportunity with the same criteria, developing and submitting all of the required materials and most importantly, meeting all your deadlines.
Here are a few items that I’d encourage you to include on your own personal intake form:
Name of Scholarship (and school)___________________________
Deadline date for submission____________________
What is the eligibility criteria?________________________ Do I meet it? _____
Materials needed for submission to be complete:
- Letters of Recommendation
- (Add others as needed)
And a few items for your generic checklist:
- Read all eligibility requirements carefully
- Proofread ALL application materials (and then have someone else do it too)
- Use correct grammar and spelling (don’t JUST rely on spell-check though)
- Complete all sections (if you’re not sure how to complete a section, contact the scholarship sponsor)
- Follow instructions exactly
- Allow plenty of time for writing, revising and finalizing your essay
- Allow plenty of time for gathering any references or letters of recommendation
- Make copies of everything
- Double-check your application before you submit it
- Get your application in early and don’t miss the deadline!
Applying for scholarships can be a serious lesson in multi-tasking, but getting and staying organized will make the entire process go that much smoother, and will improve your chances of winning a number of scholarships. Good luck!