Tips on Applying for a Scholarship
Finding a scholarship that suits your requirements and for which you are eligible can be a time-consuming and difficult process. Unfortunately, many students spend hours and hours finding a scholarship yet fail to put an equal amount of effort into their application. The application is by far the most important part of your scholarship search; make sure you spend as much time on it as is necessary to get it right.
Following are a list of simple tips to help you ensure you submit the best application possible and thereby maximise your chances of being awarded the scholarship.
Make sure you get as much information about the scholarship as possible. Write, call or e-mail the provider of the scholarship to ensure you have full details of application procedures and what will be expected of the successful applicant. If the scholarship entails a particular project, find out the full objectives and intended methodology of the project. If the scholarship is being funded by a private enterprise, gather as much information as you can about the company, its philosophy and its goals. You can never have too much information.
Check thoroughly to ensure that you are actually eligible for the scholarship before you embark on the application process. It is pointless to submit an application, no matter how perfect it may be, for a scholarship for which you are ineligible. Check for any gender, age, nationality, indigenous or other special group restrictions on applications and only apply if you definitely match the eligibility criteria. If in doubt, check first.
Read Instructions Carefully
Once you have confirmed your eligibility for a particular scholarship and received full application guidelines from the provider, make sure you follow the guidelines to the letter. Common complaints from scholarship providers are:-
- Both sides of the application form is not filled in, or the form is not filled in properly.
- All of the requested documents are not attached.
- The documents are not supplied in the form requested - originals, certified copies etc. If a provider asks for originals or certified copies this means that your application will not be considered without them.
- Applicants do not read the questions properly and thus provide inappropriate responses. Always answer the question exactly.
- Applicants skip questions that they think don't apply to them. If you are asked a question, you must answer it in some way.
- Applicants don't supply their full and correct address!
- The applicant's handwriting is illegible. Always write clearly and in block letters.
Application presentation is very important. If a list of documents is requested, supply the documents in the order in which they are requested. Use the same style of writing and pen throughout the application. Use neat, legible handwriting and type your application if this is not possible.
Ensure that your referees are the appropriate people to provide the kind of information about you that the selection committee will need to know. For example, if they need to know about your research capabilities, ensure the referee you provide has supervised your research work before or has some other knowledge of your capabilities.
Always make sure that your referees know of each and every scholarship you have applied for in which they are listed as a referee. If they are aware of the particular requirements of each scholarship, they will be more able to provide the appropriate information to each scholarship selection committee.
Apply for each scholarship separately. Do not use the same application to apply for two separate scholarships. Each scholarship will have its own particular requirements and if you use a previous application you will almost certainly miss addressing vital and particular criteria of the new scholarship. Each scholarship application should be approached as a separate undertaking in order to ensure you submit a valid application for each.
Make a checklist for each scholarship application and check and double check it before you submit the completed application. Ensure that you have completed all the necessary forms, supplied all the requested supporting documents in the form required, submitted all statements, names of referees and any and all other information requested by the provider.
Don't lose out on a scholarship because your application is incorrect or messy! Work hard on it and ensure yourself the best possible chance of winning a scholarship in today's competitive environment.
Responding to correspondence
Make sure you or a nominated person is available to respond to an offer of a scholarship. Sometimes successful scholarships are lost because candidates do not respond to the offer letter in sufficient time and the scholarship is offered to another candidate.