Your standards in filling out an application should include:
1. Appearance: Be sure it
-If it's typed, it should be well typed
-If it's hand-written, it should be neat and readable
-It shouldn't be smudged or wrinkled or full of white-out
2. Completeness: Don't leave out anything.
3. Accuracy: Don't make errors of fact. Don't have errors due to failure to
proofread, e.g. in numerals.
4. Timelines: Don't miss the deadline.
1. Check to see if the application you have is the latest copy. Many
application forms are changed from time-to-time.
2. Sit down and read through the whole application before you do anything
3. Never start writing on an original. Drafts of what you want to say are
necessary. Make copies of the application to work with.
4. Every scholarship application has a deadline. Is it absolutes, e.g. by 5
p.m. such and such a date, or is it a postmark deadline?
5. Fill in every blank. If the question does not pertain to you, use
6. Check to see if the form may be hand-written. If it's supposed to be
typed, see that it is typed; don't assume your hand-writing will do just as
7. Put your name on every page; the application may be pulled apart for
copying, and pages without names can be mixed up or lost.
8. Follow all instructions to the letter, even if you think, "This isn't
necessary." If the application form is a good one, there will be a
reason for the request.
9. Photographs are not asked for in applications from public sources (e.g.
UMKC), but a private source of funds can ask for these. If wanted, watch for
size limitations, and never send a picture of yourself in the backyard with
10. When asked to make lists, pay attention to the instructions, e.g.
"most recent first," in order to get the sequencing correct.
11. If space is limited, think of what you can group e.g. "3 class
plays: lead; chorus; lighting."
12. If anything you list is not commonly known, add a brief explanation, e.g.
spell out an organization's name if a set of initials would be unfamiliar.
13. If anytting you write in your application is out of the ordinary,
explain. E.g. an international student indicated her dates for a job; these
would have made her start at age 8! This may be true; family business? But it
is so unusual it needs an explanation. You are not talking down to your
reader; you are clarifying to make everything in your application accessible
to the reader.
1. Do not secure personal
references (your friend, your neighbor, etc.) These are seen as biased or
coming from those who have little or no basis for comparison of yourself with
your academic peers. (e.g. one reference from a landlady said the student
paid her rent on time. An exemplary attribute, but hardly relevant for an
academic scholarship reference.)
2. Every reference writer should have from you
-What scholarship it is you're applying for
-What the deadline is for its return
-Whom it's to be returned to
If it goes to you, it must be given to you in an envelope, with the writer's
signature across the sealed envelope flap. If it comes to another agent (e.g.
scholarship office), be sure your reference writer has that agent's complete
and accurate address. As a courtesy, some students give their writer a
stamped, addressed envelope.
3. References are considered confidential. Do not ask to see what has been
written about you.
If the form offers you the opportunity to check that you wish to see the
reference, or, conversely, to waive your right to see the reference, always
waive your right. If you say you want access to your reference, a Selection
Committee may discount the reference, as they assume the reference writer was
guarded in his or her response, knowing that the person being written about
may see it.
1. Transcripts should (in most cases must) be originals. Transcripts
should be directed from the issuing office to the receiving office.
2. If you have a bad grade and can have it removed (or considered for
removal) by petition, do this immediately. If you bad grade(s) can be
accounted for (e.g. illness), make a brief explanation about this in some
appropriate place in the application.
3. If you have incompletes, address these in order to get them off your
record. If you use either of these procedures, always check to see that the
changes have, indeed, appeared on your transcript. Don't assume.
1. Pay attention to the tone of your writing:
-Don't whine, wheedle or rationalize
-Explain deficits frankly, without pleading for special consideration. The
readers will determine what weight is to be given to these explanations.
-Avoid the "cutesy". If you use "an angle," keep it in
good taste, and use a light hand.
2. Be sure you write about what is wanted in the essay by the makers of
the scholarship application. If you miss the point of the essay topic, you
have injured your chances in a major way.