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Scholarship Application Tips & Tricks

Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
Published on February 25, 2015


We know that the second half of a high school senior’s graduating year produces spontaneous senioritis and we do understand your pain. However, it is not time to check out quite yet. Spring scholarship deadlines are approaching, both in your community and in the larger world, and attacking this process strategically will, in the long run, save you time and hard earned summer job dollars.

Consult this checklist throughout your application process to increase your odds of success and make your life easier.

During research:

o Read the eligibility requirements carefully and make sure that you qualify; do not waste time applying for scholarships that do not apply to you.
o Don’t dismiss scholarships of lesser amounts. Larger scholarships are generally more competitive. If you know a smaller scholarship was designed for you, your chances are really high- and every little bit counts.
o Be aware of deadlines and realistic about making them.
o Ask mentors who know you well and can write intelligently about you for references early in order to give them ample time to compose a thoughtful recommendation.

When applying:

o Make a checklist of deadlines and necessary elements.
o Read and follow all instructions.
o Clean up your social media profiles and replace any immature and inappropriate content with pictures and content that will showcase your positive sides. Many committees will internet search you, you should do the same thing and work to get any unflattering content removed.
o Write a list of your accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work and tighten it up with vocabulary and merits that make you sound both well rounded and perfect for that particular scholarship.
o Put in writing your career goals or your reason for wanting to attend college- if you don’t know exactly what you want to major in, that’s OK. Just remain positive and impassioned about your future.
o Send in a clean and neat application, and keep a copy for your records.

Writing your essay:

o Be aware of word count and any other limits (font, spacing, size).
o Outline and thoughtfully compose your essay while keeping it to the point and easy to read.
o Personalize your essay and be passionate so that it is memorable.
o Read your essay out loud to listen for inconsistencies or strange verbiage.
o Ask a few (honest and positive) people, including a good writer, to read your essay and provide feedback.

Also, consider sending a thank you note to the committee in gratitude for their time- a useful practice to employ with all people who help you as you “adult” (including your references).

Check our list of scholarships (all of their deadlines being April 1) to see what is new and where you might qualify.