Applying for scholarships can be a time consuming process, but by preparing materials that can be used for multiple scholarships, the process can be expedited. Remember that although applying may require a lot of effort, a quality application could pay off big!
*Note: If you do reuse materials, make sure that the information is adapted so that it meets the specific requirements of each individual scholarship.
Gather and verify vital information such as your social security number.
Collect addresses and phone numbers of possible references.
Make sure that the readers can see themes applicable for that scholarship.
Cover Letter Template
"Please accept the attached as application for the ...scholarship. It would be an honor to represent...as a recipient of such an award. My experience in..and...meets your qualifications"
List point by point how you meet the requirements.
Use themes and power statements for emphasis.
"My experience meets your requirements. I will represent..well if I receive the award. I look forward to being in contact with you."
Lists and Transcripts
• Awards that you have received
• Competitions you won
• Certificates you earned
• Official high school transcripts
• Official college transcripts
• Certified-on-the-job training or apprenticeship hours
• Service hours
Develop 3 or 4 Themes and Prepare Power Statements
Discover the 3 or 4 "themes" that describe you best, and then write power statements to crystallize your theme for the readers. Power statements state a skill or trait, describe a specific example, and a measurable result. They are short statements that include a specific example of your theme and the result of that experience. For example, "As chairman of our school's "Sub for Santa" committee, I supervised 26 students. We raised $12,00 and provided Christmas for 255 disadvantaged families."
Possible themes include: service, creative talent, survival, academics, activism, entrepreneurship, leadership, science, athletics, ethnic background.
Prepare 5-6 reusable essays.
Typical Essay Topics
• Future career aspirations
• Your greatest achievements
• A person you admire
• Solve a pressing issue
• Growth experiences
• Freedom or liberty
• Benefits of the sponsoring organization's product or service
Use Essays You Have Already Written
• Use essays you have to submit, or have already submitted, to a teacher for a grade.
• Make corrections suggested when graded.
• Return it to the teacher, explaining that you are using it for scholarship applications, and would like additional corrections.
• Submit it to other faculty and advisors with the same explanation and request.
• Make the edits.
How to Write Essays
• Organize it well: introduction, body with 2-3 specific points of discussion, conclusion
• Use themes, power statements, quotes, stories, and insights with each point of discussion in the body.
• Keep it concise. Take out weak or redundant phrases. Make it unique and memorable for others.
• Have others review it and help you edit it.
• Use writing resources to help you format.
On Writing Well, William Zinsser, Harper & Row
Manual of Style, University of Chicago
Elements of Style, Strunk and White, Macmillan (on-line at 222.batleby.com/141/index.)
Graduate Admissions Essays: What Works, What Doesn't and Why, Donald Asher, Ten Speed Press.