This guide will help you prepare strong scholarship applications. Most applications contain common elements to which you should pay careful attention to maximize your chances of success.
Start early and be organized.
Many scholarships have deadlines around the same time annually. If you miss a particular deadline, start preparing your application for the next year.
If you are considering various scholarship options, organize your list of options according to application deadline, scholarship amount and time commitment. Apply first to those with approaching deadlines.
Consider how long it will take to receive each piece of required documentation (see 4 - 7 below), then create a project timeline for your application.
- Scholarship Criteria
Read over the qualifications carefully. If you do not match the criteria, do not apply.
Consult an advisor if you are not sure.
- Application Form
Read the directions and fine print carefully. Make sure you submit information in the manner requested. In a strong applicant pool, incomplete or inexact applications are easily eliminated.
- Personal Statement
The personal statement is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the scholarship committee. Therefore, you want to begin working on the statement early and prepare thoughtful responses.
Generally, your personal statement should explain why you are an appropriate candidate for the scholarship. The scholarship application may request that you address certain questions. In addition, and if not already required, consider also addressing:
- Any financial hardships or obstacles you have faced in pursuing your education
- Your motivation for pursuing your desired profession
- Your career goals
- Anticipated contributions (how you will give back) to your desired profession and surrounding community.
The essay should be well organized. And, it should be compelling. Make sure to spell check and to use proper grammar. Once you have completed several drafts, ask your friends or colleagues to proofread for errors. In addition, take your draft to a faculty advisor for feedback and suggestions.
If you need an official transcript, you can request it from the Registrar's office.
- Be prepared to pay a nominal fee for this service.
- Fill out a Transcript Request Form and submit it to the Registrar's office in person, by fax or mail, along with your payment.
- Allow 24-48 hours to receive your transcript (or longer during busy periods).
Make sure your resume is updated. The CWSL Career and Professional Development Office offers a resume review service. To have your resume reviewed, schedule an appointment with a career advisor.
To contact the Career and Professional Development Office, click here.
- Letters of Recommendation
Once you have decided whom you want to ask for a letter of recommendation, contact your recommenders early to show your consideration and respect for their time and to avoid a time crunch when your application is due.
- CWSL Faculty or staff -
Click here for Faculty office hours
- Supervisor/Employer - Follow up as needed to check whether the recommender needs specific information from you in order to write you a
- Interviews or In-person Submissions
If you are called in for an interview by the scholarship committee, you can arrange a mock interview with a career advisor in the Career Services Office to help you prepare.
Make sure the packet is reviewed for errors! If there is a checklist included in the packet, be sure to use it so that you do not miss anything. Otherwise, check off each document/required item for yourself before you submit your application.