Scholarship Application Tips

Requesting Letters of Recommendations/Reference

  • Choose appropriate references (academic, personal) based on the instructions on the application.
  • Contact your references ahead of time and ask them if they are willing and able to provide a reference for you. Some references may decline, if they feel they do not know you well enough to make a recommendation.
  • Make sure your references have the information they need to provide a good recommendation. It can be helpful to provide them with a copy of your personal statement or resume. Also, let them know what they are providing a reference for (scholarships, mentorship), so they can direct the recommendation appropriately.
  • Give your recommenders time to complete the reference. You should give them several weeks' notice. In the case of the online scholarship application, complete the reference section early so the references will receive the email link and have plenty of time to complete their section before the due date. 
  • Remember to thank your references and let them know the outcome of your application.

Writing Scholarship Essays

  • Read the essay question carefully to make sure you answer all parts of the question. 
  • Organize your ideas before writing, perhaps creating an outline of major points to address.
  • Write your essay by elaborating on the points in your outline. Introduce each point with a topic sentence, then elaborate on the point in the remainder of the paragraph.
  • Use specific examples, rather than broad generalizations.
  • Use clear, concise, and simple language.
  • Make sure the final sentence(s) pull together the points of your essay and provide a strong, memorable finish.
  • Carefully check spelling and grammar.
  • Reread the original essay question, then review your essay to make sure it addresses all points.
  • Ask someone with good writing skills to proofread the essay.

Standing Out From the Crowd

  • Understand the purpose of the scholarship.
  • Distinguish yourself from the crowd by writing an essay that is as unique as possible.
  • Be descriptive – The reader needs to be engaged.
  • Make sure you end your essay strong.
  • Make your essay memorable!