Scholarship Application Tips
- Meet all application deadlines.
Use a calendar or planner, 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. Make sure to follow-up with your recommender to assure that your letter was submitted.
- 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 Teaching and Learning Center to receive free drop-in writing tutoring.
- Attend a scholarship workshop.
The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships holds several workshops thoroughout the scholarship application season to assist students in their scholarship hunt. For help finding and competing for scholarships and tips on how to write essays for scholarships, attend one or both of these sessions.
- Sing your own praises.
Applications will often ask you to talk about what you do with your time. As uncomfortable as this may feel, this is once 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 initative, 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.