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Scholarships 101. Workshop Goals. To gain a greater understanding of the scholarship process. To understand when a scholarship is right for you and you are right for it. To avoid the pitfalls and traps associated with applying for scholarships.

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workshop goals
Workshop Goals
  • To gain a greater understanding of the scholarship process.
  • To understand when a scholarship is right for you and you are right for it.
  • To avoid the pitfalls and traps associated with applying for scholarships.
what do you need to begin your search for scholarships
What do you need to begin your search for scholarships?
  • Access to a computer
  • A little planning
  • A lot of research
  • Time to prepare applications
what kind
What Kind?
  • Academic
  • Activity
  • Skills
  • Personal Characteristics
  • Interests
  • Major
  • You Never Know
where to look
Where to Look?
  • High School – Guidance Counselor
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Library or Chamber of Commerce
  • Internet – Updated Frequently
  • Clubs – Whether or Not a Member
  • Religious Organizations
  • Employer – Yours and Your Parents
  • Newspaper
the basics
The Basics
  • Apply Early and Often – see College websites and scholarship information for deadlines, usually late Fall, early Spring of the year before you are to start school
  • Apply ONLY if You Meet the Criteria
  • Complete the Application
  • Neatness, Spelling and Grammar COUNT!
common scholarship components
Common Scholarship Components
  • Scholarship application – online or paper
  • Personal Essay (s)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Academic transcripts
how do i know if i am eligible
How do I know if I am eligible?
  • Read the application!

- Must you attend a particular school (or type of school) to receive the scholarship?

- Is there a GPA requirement?

- Is there a class level requirement (freshman, sophomore, etc.)?

- Is the scholarship based on your college major/area of academic emphasis?

how do i know if i am eligible continued
How do I know if I am eligible continued…
  • More questions to ask yourself…

- Must you be a member of a particular organization or working in a particular field to apply?

- Is there a need requirement? Is completing the FAFSA a requirement?

- Is the scholarship targeted to students with a particular background?

qualities expectations of a good scholarship application
Qualities & Expectations of a good scholarship application
  • Typed & Clean
  • No spelling errors
  • Correct use of grammar & punctuation
  • Sticks to topic & answers the question(s)
  • Comprehendible/Cohesive
  • Positive message –Showcases strengths
the scholarship essay
The Scholarship Essay
  • Various Names (Essay, Personal Statement, etc)
  • Requirements and question(s) vary
  • Opportunities to explain:
    • Personal information
    • Educational goals
    • Professional history
  • Scholarship committees rely heavily on essays
    • Provides reasons why you should be awarded the scholarship
    • Measures your ability to communicate, and think clearly and critically
    • Indications of your ability to judge
what is your purpose
What is Your Purpose?
  • Persuade the committee that you are the best candidate for the scholarship
  • To set you a part from other applicants, test scores, and grade point averages
who is your audience
Who is Your Audience?
  • Ask yourself:
    • What impression do you want your readers to have of you after reading your essay?
  • If possible, research the selection committee. Are they
    • Business executives?
    • Faculty members?
    • Service organization members?
    • Other students?
  • Adapt your writing to your audience
  • For example: Don’t write about physics to a reader that has a background in fine art
  • Always present the information in an easy to understand, reader friendly way.
common scholarship essay topics
Common Scholarship Essay Topics
  • Personal and/or Family Background
    • How did you become the person you are today? Was there an event in your life that made you want to pursue a particular field of study? What is important to you & why?
  • Academic & Career Goals
    • Where are you at in life? Where do you want to go in life (in 5 years; in 20 years)? What, in your life, reflects your commitment to your academic & career goals? Describe your degree related employment or internships.
  • What makes you the best candidate?
    • List any attributes, qualities, or skills & HOW you developed them.
    • List major accomplishments, awards, & recognitions.
    • List your extracurricular activities (including volunteering/community service) & WHY you participated.
    • List your affiliations –clubs, student government, sports, societies, memberships, etc. (mention transferable skills you’ve gained as a result of participation)
other possible essay topics
Other Possible Essay Topics
  • Politics
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Social Issues
  • Religion
essay action plan application question s
Essay Action Plan: Application Question(s)
  • Read the application question(s)
  • Re-read the application question(s)
  • Break down the application question(s)
    • Example:
      • Describe your most meaningful achievements and how they demonstrate your leadership ability, your contributions to public service, and your long-and-short-term goals as well as how your education has contributed to who you are today.
essay action plan prewriting
Essay Action Plan: Prewriting
  • Utilize various prewriting techniques to help you reflect
  • Techniques like:
    • Free writing
    • Graphic organizer
    • Listing
    • Discussion/Interview
      • Interview someone who knows about you because they may be able to provide you insight into who you are
essay action plan drafting
Essay Action Plan: Drafting
  • Return to the application question(s)
  • Write a draft in which you answer the question(s)
  • Ignore:
    • Length
    • Spelling
    • Grammar
    • Logic
    • Transitions
  • Focus on getting onto paper what is in your head
essay action plan revision
Essay Action Plan: Revision
  • Re-read the application question
  • Read your draft for
    • Content
    • Structure
    • Consistency (logical progression of ideas)
  • Make necessary changes
essay action plan proofreading publishing
Essay Action Plan: Proofreading/Publishing
  • Submit your revised draft to a teacher, tutor, or friend for review
  • Double check grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  • Double check application question(s), length, and anything else required in essay
  • Save essay in a Word format such as Rich Text Format (RTF) that is easily opened
letters of recommendation
Letters of Recommendation
  • They are commonly required as part of the scholarship application process.
  • Like your personal essay, they provide a way for the scholarship committee to get to know about you and your achievements.
  • They can make the difference in attracting extra attention to your scholarship application.
who should you ask
Who Should You Ask?

Choose someone who:

  • Has worked with you closely.
  • Has worked with you long enough to write from real knowledge.
  • Is relevant to the scholarship you have chosen.
  • Has a positive opinion of you and your abilities.
  • Has an personal style that is warm and supportive.
possible sources for letters of recommendation
Possible sources for letters of recommendation
  • Advisors or counselors
  • Leaders of organizations where you have volunteered
  • Mentors
  • Religious leaders
  • Teachers
  • School principals and administrators
  • Employers
  • Read the scholarship rules for specifics.
when should you ask
When Should You Ask?


  • Start early
    • 2-3 weeks of lead time is best.
    • 48-72 hours minimum.
  • Ask politely and formally.
    • This is a significant favor that you are asking.
  • Allow time for follow-up.
how to help get better letters
How to Help Get Better Letters

Give your letter writer basic information

  • Your contact information
  • The deadline for each letter you need
  • The type of scholarship for which you're applying
  • Any special forms
  • Self-addressed stamped envelopes

Give your letter writer information you would like emphasized in the letter

    • Course of study
    • Career interests
    • Campus or community activities
    • Honors and awards received
    • Personal characteristics
the importance of thank you
The Importance of ‘Thank You’
  • More than just good manners
  • Share results with letter writers whether successful or not
  • May result in other benefits or referrals later
cost and benefits of applying for scholarships
Cost and Benefits of Applying for Scholarships
  • If you spend ten hours finding and applying for a scholarship and you receive a $500.00 award, you just made $50.00 an hour!
  • Even if you don’t get awarded a scholarship, you will have refined your research and writing skills.
  • Once you have completed one application, you can often “recycle” your essays…be sure to adapt them to the individual scholarship for which you are applying
  • You can save yourself additional time by asking your references if you can use their letters of recommendation for multiple scholarships.
scholarship search engines
Scholarship Search Engines
  • Alternative way to search for scholarships
  • Online Scholarship Database
  • Usually takes 15 minutes to sign up
  • Your matched with scholarships you qualify for
  • Free service!
  • Don’t pay for scholarship applications or scholarship search services