Applying for scholarships can be a time-consuming process and scholarship applicants often face strict competition.

But by using the tips below, you are sure to increase your chances of success.

  1. Do your research: Persistence is the key to getting a scholarship. Stop waiting and start applying. Do a web search of different scholarships and apply. The more difficult it is to find a particular scholarship; the less competition you are likely to have. While you should avoid applying for scholarships that you are ineligible for, you must also avoid waiting for the perfect scholarship.
    But do only apply if you are eligible. Before applying for a scholarship, check the eligibility criteria and apply for ones that you fit into.
  2. Write an up-to-date resume (CV): Your resume should focus on your strengths. Before you start applying for scholarships, write a resume and then keep it up-to-date. This resume should include all important information such as dates, academic history, a summary of your work experience, publications and your extracurricular activities and interests. Even if a scholarship application does not require a CV, writing one will help to focus your thoughts and remind you of what you have accomplished so far.
  3. Participate in extracurricular activities: In most instances, grade point average (GPA) will be important, however, many scholarship committees do not simply choose the student with the highest GPA. Some committees may be interested in your extracurricular activities. Have you volunteered your time to assist others? What jobs have you had? Have you published any articles? Involvement in other activities shows an ability to manage your time and a willingness to become involved.
  4. Identify the funder’s goals: The student who best meets the funder’s requirements is awarded the scholarship. As simple as this may seem, many students don’t take the time to ensure they know what these requirements are. Read through all the scholarship information and scan the funder’s website carefully for details and clues about what the funder’s goals are.
  5. Arrange your references early: Ask key people now if they are available to provide you with written references or to act as your referee. You may need both academic and personal referees. Many applications have failed due to reference statements not being received on time, or the referee being unavailable or unprepared to comment. Ensure that any written reference statements are generic i.e. they do not refer to any specific scholarship. Most referees are happy to provide a reference; however, they may not be happy to write a separate statement for each application.
  6. Watch out for deadlines: Scholarships panels will not accept late applications. Once you determine which scholarships to apply for, begin your applications immediately. Arrange for copies of academic transcripts well before the submission dates. Set yourself a personal deadline to complete an application two weeks before the official deadline and mark this on your calendar. This will guarantee that your application will get there in time and you will have time to carefully proofread your application and to ensure all documentation is available. Your application will be stronger if it is not rushed.
  7. Write your application: Follow all instructions carefully. If you don’t follow the specific instructions, your application may be rejected in a preliminary check. Most scholarship committees would not even consider applications that have major errors. Did you get the scholarship name right? Have you included all the information asked for? Did you provide the correct contact information? If an application is unreadable, it will be rejected. A neat, clean application is far more appealing than an illegible application. Write your application in a draft so you can make all the changes you want on the rough draft while still maintaining a clean, fresh final draft.
  8. Proofread your application: By proofreading your applications, you can easily increase your chances of success. Once you have verified the information on the application, read through any personal statements or research outlines again. Check for spelling errors, grammatical errors, and the formatting. Check your application over and over before you hit the submit button. By checking again, you will gain a fresh perspective and notice things that you might have missed the first time.
  9. Ask someone else to proofread your application: After you have proofread your application, you can ask someone else to proofread it for you. This will help point out any errors you might have omitted. It may be your colleague or if possible, someone who has an experience in that area.
  10. Never give up (Winston Churchill): Your first application may not be successful. As with the second and third. But you can’t give up on this road. Once you submit your first scholarship application, begin the next one. Remember to treat each application individually and give it the same level of care.

The key to winning a scholarship is determination. If you refuse to give up, then you exponentially increase your chance of being successful.

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