Students: Here is Your Scholarship Task Checklist

The whole scholarship application process can be nerve-wracking. It takes a lot of work during an already very busy year for students. However, using a scholarship checklist can help you keep track of everything you need to do to apply for these monetary awards! 

Why Should You Use a Scholarship Checklist?

It can be easy to lose track of everything you need to do during your senior year. From your homework to your college applications, you have a lot to get done. By utilizing checklists, you can ensure you’re not missing a vital step in your applications. If you forget to include an essay in an application that requires one, for example, you could be out of the running as soon as you hit that submit button!

DOWNLOAD NOW >> Printable Scholarship Checklist

Your Scholarship Checklist in 10 Steps

There are a few steps you need to complete before you can actually start applying for awards! These three should be followed before anything else as they will save you a lot of time and effort!

Steps one through three you will only need to do once!

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1. Gather What You Need to Apply for Scholarships

Before anything else, it’s a good idea to gather those important documents and information you’ll need to apply for scholarships. Many awards will ask for the same information again and again, so by having them on hand to begin with, you can save a lot of time. 

We recommend creating a document with all of your details. This way, you can simply copy and paste the information straight from the document into the application. It should include:

  • Basic contact information
  • High school details
  • A list of achievements and honors
  • A list of extracurricular activities, clubs, work, and volunteer experience
  • GPA and test scores
  • A statement of purpose
  • A list of possible essay topics to pull from
  • Financial information

2. Complete the FAFSA

Did you know that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required for many scholarships and grants? Complete this as soon as possible to be in the running for some need-based awards. Schools also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for their own endowment programs. 

3. Search For Scholarships

Scholarship databases are a great way to quickly search for awards you qualify for. By inputting your relevant information, you can find scholarships that meet your needs. This saves you from having to search through thousands and thousands of awards by hand. You can create a list of awards to review and apply to thanks to these databases.

Places to search for scholarships:

  • College Raptor’s scholarship search tool.
  • Talk to high school guidance counselors to learn about scholarship opportunities.
  • Reach out to local organizations.
  • Search (or Google) with the term: “scholarships for [your favorite hobby or interest]”

Next, on your scholarship checklist (and make sure to complete these in steps in this order). And note, some you may be able to skip (for example, not all applications will require an essay or letters of recommendation), but this provides a general outline so you can rest assured you’re submitting complete and well-rounded applications.

4. Determine if You Qualify for the Award

Even when using scholarship databases that help you weed out awards you don’t qualify for, it’s still a good idea to review the requirements. You don’t want to waste your time on an award you don’t actually have a chance of winning because you don’t meet the requirements. 

Consider these three questions:

  • What is the selection criteria?
  • Do you meet all of the scholarship’s criteria?
  • Can you provide all of the documentation that is asked for?
  • Are there any expectations that you are required to meet?
  • Will you be able to meet these expectations?

5. Note Deadline and Submission Requirements

Once you’ve determined you qualify for the scholarship, note the deadlines on your calendar and write down any unusual submission requirements that you don’t have on your document. Will it require an essay? Letters of recommendation? Any other details or proof?

Pro tip: if you aren’t using a scholarship database, keep your what you are doing organized in an excel spreadsheet so you can easily track your progress.

6. Complete Your Scholarships Application

This is one of the easiest steps for most applications. Fill out the application form. This could include contact details, a list of extracurriculars, and any honors you’ve received. For some scholarships, you could be done with the application at this point and – in that case – you should skip to step 9. 

7. Get Letters of Recommendation

Scholarships may require you to submit letters of recommendation along with your application. Always review the criteria before asking your teacher, coach, or counselor. Some awards may require the letter to be from a specific teacher, volunteer coordinator, or coach, for instance.

READ MORE >> How to Get Outstanding Recommendation Letters

It’s also a good idea to ask for a letter of recommendation as soon as possible. Teachers and coaches tend to be very busy and they will need time to write it. By requesting it sooner rather than later, you can improve your chances of receiving the letter before the deadline of the scholarship.

8. Write the Essay

Next, you’ll want to tackle the essay. Some may be open-ended and allow you to talk about anything important in your life. Others may ask for additional information about your achievements, honors, passions, or extracurriculars. And others still may simply ask you, “Why do you deserve this scholarship?

Brainstorming will help you tackle this portion of your scholarship application, but always make sure to stay within the confines of the question. You should also consider asking a family member or teacher to read over your essay to ensure it meets the requirements and doesn’t have any grammatical errors. 

9. Review Your Application

Don’t skip this step, even if it was a simple scholarship application that only asked for your contact details. A mistype of your phone number could result in you missing out on the award after all! Review your application form, ensure you have all the pieces of the application, and read over your essay.

  • Is everything spelled properly?
  • Is the information you submitted correct?
  • Do you have ALL the requested documentation?
  • Has your essay been proofread?

10. Submit

Once you’ve reviewed your scholarship application and ensured you have all the pieces, you can hit that submit button. Always submit before the deadline as most organizations won’t let you submit after this date. And congratulations, you’ve completed the scholarship checklist for this award.

This scholarship checklist can help you keep on top of your responsibilities even amid your busy, busy year. You might even want to create a spreadsheet using the 10 steps to help you better track your progress, including where you are for each scholarship and what scholarships you’ve already applied to.

Want to get a headstart on your scholarship search? Use our Scholarship Search Tool to find the awards you qualify for today! It’s free and easy to get started.


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