General tips



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TIPS FOR WINNING SCHOLARSHIPS

Prepared by Adult Student Services


(http://www.ksu.edu/adult)
Updated 2008

GENERAL TIPS


  • Start your scholarship search early… Most scholarship applications are available November-April for the following fall and spring enrollment of the next year.

  • A serious scholarship search is like a part-time job: “Remember, if it were easy to get financial aid (scholarships), every one would have it” (Schlacter, 1994).

  • Make a checklist of scholarship applications requested (i.e. name, date requested, date received) and also for application requirements (i.e. date due, essay, transcripts).

  • Do not take yourself out of the running. If you meet the basic requirements apply for the award. However, don’t apply unless you qualify. Read the fine print, including eligibility requirements, thoroughly. Applying for scholarships when you are not eligible is a waste of time.

  • Follow instructions carefully (i.e. fill in all blanks, type application/essay, transcripts, letter of recommendation(s), essay). Proofread all materials and make sure they are picture perfect: no misspellings, no errors, no obvious white-out, and no crumpling of paper. Have someone else look at your application packet for errors.

  • Keep a record. Make copies of all parts of the application and recommendation letters for later reference and use.

  • Keep applying. If you are still eligible, then reapply again the next year for the same scholarship. Persistence can pays off.



SOURCES TO SEARCH FOR APPLICATIONS


  • K-STATE General Scholarship Application http://www.ksu.edu/sfa

  • College of Arts and Sciences (competitive and other scholarships) www.ksu.edu/artsci/scholarship

  • For adult nontrads and traditional aged students www.ksu.edu/adult then click scholarships

  • Scholarship websites that are free of charge

  • Hale Library reference area for scholarship or foundation books

  • Departmental and College Office bulletin boards (check this area October-May)

  • Glass display case for scholarships, near 121 Fairchild Hall (check Oct.-May)

  • Nontraditional students come by 101 Holton Hall for help in developing an individual scholarship search plan

  • Other places to search: clubs, organization, public libraries, high school counselors, local churches



APPLICATION PROCESS


(Part-time job – here is what you need to do… FOLLOW THESE STEPS)
ASSESS your qualifications and goals (Read details on the other side of this sheet)

SEARCH for scholarships for which you are eligible (above)

DEVELOP a basic essay (Read details on the other side of this sheet)

READ application instructions very carefully for eligibility and requirements (i.e. essay, letters of recommendation, transcripts)

PREPARE a calendar or spreadsheet to keep track of scholarship information: name of scholarship, postmark deadline, date you mailed the application, transcripts required, letter of reference, essay or biological sketch, thank you note, etc.)

REQUEST the “appropriate” (student copy or certified) academic transcript(s). Request certified copies well in advance to meet deadlines.

REQUEST letters of recommendation from faculty, employers or others, well in advance. Find individuals who can give some insight into your potential, academic ability, leadership qualities, motivation, and level of responsibility, integrity, honesty, diligence, perseverance, cooperativeness, collaboration, emotional stability, judgment and common sense. Provide each person with information about the scholarship, a short resume and your biographical sketch. Let the person know what you would like them to address. To ensure that the letter is on time, ask the writer, as a friendly reminder, if they need further information to complete the letter.

FILL OUT the application

  • A neatly typed application is best (unless specifically requested to provide a handwritten document)

  • Proofread to ensure a mistake free application (no obvious white-out, no last minute correction with a pen, no misspellings, no grammar errors and no crumpled paper).

  • Make sure that all lines are filled-in

  • Be certain that all requested information is attached

ASK someone else to review your application for errors before sending it off.

MAKE a copy of the final packet (as a reference for yourself for next year’s application or assistance with other applications).

MEET postmark or established deadline.

ASSESS YOUR QUALIFICATIONS AND GOALS


  • Education level (year in school)

  • Scholastic achievement (i.e. GPA, awards, honors, scholarships)

  • Your field of study, degree (i.e. BA, MS, Ph.D.)

  • What kind of aid: gift, grant, scholarship, loan or work-study (exchange work for assistance)

  • Your qualifications and restrictions (i.e. gender, race or ethnic group, religious affiliation, military affiliation, merit (GPA), financial need, community or university involvement, volunteer work, family responsibilities, working your way through school, membership in an organization, etc.)



ESSAY / BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH / PERSONAL STATEMENT


  • Sit down with someone who knows you and do a life review (usually a family member or good friend can help with the process) to draft your unique life story. The scholarship committee that evaluates your application needs to feel that they know something concrete about you - something they can remember. They need to fully understand your life experiences.

  • First set aside time and write an initial draft of your responses. Do not worry about grammar and punctuation (you can work on that later) …just get your ideas or thoughts down on paper.

  • Avoid generalities. You need to be personal and tell your own unique story. For example, you may have had some upheavals in your life. Describe them, but then state “I am now ready to”…

  • Have someone review your work… THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT WRITING CENTER (English and Counseling Services Building) is available to undergraduate students. Instructors can help with editing and enhancing your written work.

  • Expect to write several drafts – the benefit is a better representation of you as a person.

  • Look carefully at who is giving the scholarship. Then modify your essay to reflect that focus.

  • Improve your application by talking and listening to anyone and everyone you know who has won a scholarship.

With financial aid (and scholarships), the theory is that students who most need the assistance will get it. “The reality is quite different. Success comes primarily to those who know how, when, and where to apply” (Schlackter, 1994).


SOURCES

  • Schlacter, G. (1994). The Back to School Money Book: A Financial Aid Guide for Midlife and Older Women Seeking Education and Training. AARP.

  • Kirby, D. (Ed.) (1994). 1994-95 Scholarships, Fellowships and Loans: A Guide to Education-Related Financial And Program for Students and Professionals.

  • University of California, Irvine (1998). UCI Scholarship Opportunities Program, Tips on Applying for Scholarships.


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