Tips to Apply for a Scholarship Award

Properly filling out a scholarship application is a critical step in bringing you closer to the financial assistance that can be a stepping-stone toward your educational goals.

Scholarship applications will list distinctive criteria for completion. However, the guidelines and formats are similar. Consider the following tips when completing your scholarship applications:

  • Apply for numerous scholarships — Multiple small awards can add up.
  • Pay attention — Different scholarship organizations will have different guidelines, and it is important to pay attention to the specific details of each one and address them accordingly.
  • Promote yourself — Promoting yourself is a way of telling others who you are and what you stand for. Make sure to emphasize and include your greatest assets and accomplishments.
  • Submit your application in a timely manner — If your application is turned in late, it will be ineligible for consideration. It is likely that most scholarship organizations only accept a select number of applications in spite of the submission date.
  • Alert the organization that your application has been submitted — Being proactive tells the committee that you are mature and will utilize all attempts to be recognized.
  • Ask if you don't know — Drawing conclusions may lead to incomplete or incorrect information on your application.
  • Stick to the instructions — Applications are created to meet an organization's needs. Do not invent. When the application requests specifics, incorporate it accordingly. (Warning: Make sure the organization chosen for submission is found to be reputable, and that their request is not beyond reason.)
  • Your application must be neat — Scholarship committees are more inclined to review a professional looking application than a poorly submitted one.
  • Your application must be accurate — Have your application proofread by at least four people to discover any formatting or grammatical errors, and most importantly, spelling, typos and grammar.

Avoid Scholarship Fraud

Regrettably, there are always organizations or individuals that look to profit from students seeking scholarships. They capitalize on uninformed students by offering funds that are neither reputable nor reliable, and in turn scam students for large sums of money. The following signs may help to identify and avoid scams:

  • The majority of scholarships do not require an application fee — Scholarships are not meant to create debt for any student. On some occasions, there may be a small processing fee involved. Be wary of any organization that asks for money beyond a nominal processing fee and never submit your bank account or credit card information.
  • No scholarship award is a certainty — There are websites that may guarantee a student any number of scholarship awards. Typically there is a selection process by way of a committee, therefore no scholarship can be guaranteed.
  • Be mindful of phone calls or general email communications claiming you are the recipient of a scholarship for which you have not applied — The odds are, it's a scam. The caller may ask that you verify, or provide a Social Security number or banking information. Never release your personal information to a stranger.
  • Qualifying for a scholarship usually takes considerable effort — There are websites that will offer to complete all of the legwork in spite of the application process. This is misleading. The student/applicant is the one that must initiate and complete the application.

If there is an organization requesting your bank information, Social Security number, or credit card information, make an effort to obtain their information and report it to the Federal Trade Commission or the National Fraud Information Center.

The following sources can be helpful:

  • Federal Trade Commission: 877-FTC-HELP
  • National Fraud Information Center: 1-800-876-7060

Contact Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, for more information about programs and the benefits that higher education can give you.