How to Make Your Scholarship Application Stand Out

A colored button stands out just like your scholarship app could

Flickr user The 5th Ape

Just like college applications, you have to make a good first impression with scholarship applications. There will be a lot of others competing for the same award so you want to give yourself your best chance. Here are some ways to make yourself stand out in your scholarship applications.

Apply To The “Good Fits”

Although there is a lot of money out there in scholarships, you should never be aiming to apply for every single one. You won’t even be making a dent if you tried that anyway.

You should only spend your time applying to scholarships that you’re qualified to enter and are good fits. Hosts of the awards usually lay out the scholarship requirements so make sure to read them carefully. If you don’t qualify for the scholarship, your application will be thrown out without a second glance and you would have wasted time putting it together.

Using online scholarship databases can help you weed out the awards you’re not qualified for. Instead, they will present you with a list of scholarships you can apply to! They’ll also take your interests and academics into account when curating the list. This can help you be sure you’re not wasting time.

Approach Writing The Right Way

Many (but not all) scholarships require you to write an essay (or another creative project). If this is a part of the application, you’ll want to be sure to put plenty of effort into your writing. Don’t rush the process. First, brainstorm the prompt they gave you. Think carefully over a few days about what you want to write and how to approach it. Once you feel prepared, start working.

Remember to be honest in your essay. Judges can read through lies and embellished stories. They want to hear about the “real” you, not another version. Personality is also a must. Show that your human. You don’t want to just go on about how their award or organization is great. Instead, make yourself stand out in your writing while keeping to the truth.

Have Someone Review It

No matter what you’re writing, it’s always a good idea to have someone review your work if possible. The same goes for scholarship applications. Let them read what you wrote and suggest improvements. Over time, as you apply to more and more scholarships, you will get better about this part of the process and have less edits to make.

You may want to consider asking a parent to help, but you could also ask a peer, a tutor, a teacher, your counselor, or anyone else you trust.

Some scholarship applications will only ask for basic information, but some ask for essays or other creative works. No matter how you approach it, you always want to be sure you first qualify before putting in the effort. Once you have that down, it’s time to brainstorm, create, and edit. And it only gets easier! The more scholarships you complete, the faster you’ll work and the more confident you’ll be.

Hilary Cairns

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