7 Common Scholarship Information Requirements

Common scholarship requirements include your basic contact information, proof of high school graduation, academic achievements, extracurricular activities, financial details, and more. Every scholarship is different, from who it is for to the amount awarded. And while award applications can be similar, organizations will often have different scholarship requirements you’ll need to meet to apply.

Before you start applying for awards, gather the information you need to meet all of the scholarship requirements. This will save you time, help you avoid omitting essential details, and could even improve your chances of winning that scholarship.

Scholarship application form surrounded by pens and notebooks.

Source: Flickr user ralphpaglia .

What are Common Scholarship Requirements?

Scholarship requirements can vary quite a bit. Some may only ask for your basic contact information, while others can ask for more extensive submissions. Here are just a few of the most common requirements for scholarship applications.

1. Basic Information

Every scholarship out there will at least ask for your basic information. This includes your name, address, phone number, email, date of birth, high school or college details, and other identifying material.

There are awards out there that only ask for your basic contact details and nothing more – you should always take the time to apply for these as they could result in easy money to help pay for college.

It is very important to get this information correct as making an error in your contact details could mean the scholarship organization can’t reach you in the event they need more information or you win! Missing this scholarship requirement could mean you miss out on the award!

2. Financial Details

For need-based awards, financial details are a common scholarship requirement. Applications may ask for your and your parents’ financial information, income, and assets. This will help demonstrate your need.

Some awards, such as state grants and scholarships from your college, will use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility and award amount. You are automatically entered in many of these in simply by completing the FAFSA. So even if you think you won’t qualify for any federal financial aid, don’t skip out on this application.

3. Essay

It’s not uncommon for a scholarship to require you to send an essay along with your application. The essay’s criteria vary greatly from award to award, so read the rules before you start writing! In some cases, the essay may present you with a particular prompt, such as “What are your plans if you win this award?” or “Why do you deserve to win?”

Others may be more open-ended or allow you to write about anything you wish. Always brainstorm, follow the required word count, and have someone read over your work.

Essays are a common scholarship requirement for merit-based awards and others related to clubs, financial need scholarships, and others.

4. High School or College Transcripts

Merit-based scholarships almost always require your transcripts (high school and/or college, depending on your current education) as they are looking for students who have over a certain GPA. You could also be required to prove you made the honor roll or the equivalent at your school or showcase that you had a schedule with high academic rigor.

For scholarships that are available for renewal, they may also require your transcripts to see that you’re maintaining the required GPA. If you fail to meet this scholarship requirement, you could lose out on the award.

5. Binding Contracts

Some scholarships require you to sign a binding contract. Usually state grants, but they could be offered through individual organizations as well. In these cases, you are required to meet certain conditions in order to be eligible for the award on an ongoing basis. This could be simply maintaining a certain GPA or it could determine your job options straight out of college.

For example, many states have grants designed for future teachers currently in college. These scholarships may require that you agree to teach for a set number of years after graduation in a specific area, type of school, or state. If you fail to meet these scholarship requirements in the set time frame or you decide to leave college entirely before graduation, you could be on the hook for paying that money back.

Always read over the fine details when it comes to your scholarships – especially if you win. You want to be sure you won’t have to pay the money back due to a mistake or misunderstanding.

6. Letters of Recommendation

Like college applications, many scholarships require students to submit letters of recommendation. The award type should help you determine who you get these letters from. For instance, if the scholarship is sports-related, you will want a letter of recommendation from a coach. If it is merit-based, you should consider asking a teacher you’re close with from your intended area of study.

7. Further Proof You Meet the Qualifications of the Award If You Win

Almost all awards have some sort of criteria required of their applicants. Scholarship requirements can be drastically different from award to award, so be sure to carefully review these before you submit your application. You don’t want to waste time on a scholarship you don’t qualify for!

In some cases, the organization will ask for that information or proof up front, while others may only have you prove the details if you have won. Awards may be restricted to certain groups, for instance, and may ask for proof. You may receive a phone call or email that you’re in the final running for the award but you need to supply additional information or proof of

  • Your citizenship. Many scholarships in the United States are restricted to citizens of the country.
  • Your location. Some awards can be restricted to regions, states, or even individual cities and will require proof that you reside where you say you do.
  • Your age, grade, or education level. Scholarships can be tailored to specific age groups, grades, education levels, and education status (full-time, part-time, returning student, etc).
  • Academic achievements. For awards that are merit-based, you could be asked to provide proof of GPA, SAT/ACT scores, academic rigor, or other test results.
  • Extracurricular activities. There are scholarships that require you to be part of certain clubs, participate in extracurriculars, or volunteer. You could be asked to send in notarized letters to prove your participation.
  • Financial need. Some students could be asked to supply additional financial information to demonstrate need beyond the FAFSA. Especially if the award requires them to continue demonstrating their financial need in order to receive the scholarship for additional semesters or years.

What Else Could A Scholarship Require?

There is a wide array of scholarships out there – everything from need-based awards to scholarships dedicated to natural hair colors. As a result, scholarship requirements can vary quite a bit, too! Some common and more unique requirements of scholarships out there can include:

  • A childhood photo of yourself
  • A current photo of yourself
  • A video essay
  • Artwork or art portfolio
  • Proof of immigration or family’s immigration to the country
  • SAT or ACT results
  • Proof of interest in a particular major or history of interest in the area of study
  • Resume
  • Cover letter

Of course, scholarship requirements are not limited to these! You may find some truly unique requests on some more niche awards out there.

Scholarships are almost always upfront about the information they need from applicants. If you want to increase your chances of winning the reward, it’s important to read over the scholarship requirements and qualifications carefully. This will help ensure you’re not only supplying all the necessary information and documentation but that you actually qualify for the award and you’re not wasting your time applying. Forgetting an important piece of the puzzle could mean taking yourself out of the running before you’ve even submitted your application.

So now that you know the most common scholarship requirements you could be asked for, it’s time to dive into finding those awards you qualify for! With College Raptor’s Scholarship Search Tool, it’s easy to search for scholarships. Sign up for free here and begin discovering awards that could help make college more affordable.


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