Scholarship application processes can differ depending on who is awarding it. Ensure your application meets the requirements!
DO YOUR RESEARCH – this takes a significant amount of time, but once you know where to look, sorting through the criteria becomes an easier next step.
READ THE CRITERIA – skim the criteria for the award. If you think you remotely qualify keep the application information. If you don’t qualify at all – move one to the next one. Don’t waste your time.
SORT THE AWARDS YOU QUALIFY FOR – Gather each of the scholarship applications that you think you qualify for. Read the small print. Some awards require you to meet 100% of the criteria. Sort your possible applications by how well you meet the criteria. Focus your time and effort on the applications that you feel you have the best chance at.
MAKE A CALENDAR OF DEADLINES – Not all scholarships have the same application deadlines. Ensure your application will be received at least four days before the deadline. Note that since forms, questionnaires and supporting documents are normally required in an application, it may take at least one month to prepare your application. You are highly encouraged to plan ahead and start your scholarship application well in advance.
GATHER REFERENCE LETTERS – Contact your references and supply them with details about the scholarships you are applying for. Ask that their reference letter addresses the scholarship criteria. Give your references advanced notice and plenty of time to customize their letters – 4-6 weeks.
CREATE YOUR SCHOLARSHIP PORTFOLIO – Each scholarship application will ask for a variety of different documents (eg. resume, a personal statement, examples of your work, lists of volunteer or community achievements, or an essay on a particular topic). Create a portfolio and easily pull from it the documents your need to fit the application. Make sure you include each of the required documents.
TRANSCRIPTS– Most applications will require a copy of your transcripts from either high school or the post-secondary institutions that you have or are attending. Ask whether you need original copies or not. Original transcripts take time to get – so plan ahead.
PROOFREAD & PRESENTATION – Proofread your application carefully and ask someone else to proofread it too. Make sure your application looks professional, pay attention to the layout and incorporate white space, page numbers and headings. Make the application easy to reference and fast to read.
TRACK YOUR APPLICATIONS – You may be sending a number of applications out and at different times. Keep a copy of all applications you send and track which applications went out on what days. Be sure the applications arrive before the deadline. If you are using email or Canada Post request a receipt.