- Meet all application deadlines.
Use a calendar, make a schedule, and stick to it. If you miss a deadline, even by just one day, you may not be considered.
- Gather application materials early.
Give yourself plenty of time to complete each step. Applications that have been rushed look sloppy, and incomplete applications probably won’t be accepted.
- Don’t ignore small awards.
Small awards can add up. Plus, the larger the award, the more competition you’ll face.
- Request letters of recommendation early.
Some applications require letters of recommendation. Think carefully about who should write these letters and choose people who can speak to your strengths and ability to overcome your weaknesses (letters from family members are generally a no-no). Give your recommenders no less than two weeks notice so they have time to write the letter. Be prepared to provide them with additional information about yourself or the scholarship.
- Write a great essay.
Think carefully about the question being asked and use this opportunity to tell the selection committee things about you that might not be shown elsewhere in the application. Get help with editing for grammar and spelling, but do your own writing—the committee wants to hear from you personally. Current UO students can work with the UO Writing Lab on scholarship essays and other projects.
- Sing your own praises.
Applications will often ask you to tell them what you do with your time. As uncomfortable as this may feel, this is one time in your life when it’s necessary to brag. Tell them about recognition and awards you’ve received. Emphasize activities that show your talents and passions, especially things that demonstrate your ability to lead, take initiative, persist through adversity, and care for your community. Don’t underestimate yourself—employment and family responsibilities can say a lot in your favor as well.
- Try, try again.
Keep trying even if you don’t win a scholarship right away. Save copies of every application that you complete so you don’t have to start from scratch every time.