7 ways to ace your scholarship application
Scholarships are a great way to increase your skills and make great networks. But it takes time to submit a quality application which will help you stand out from your peers. Here are seven tips to consider.
- Get organised
You definitely don’t want to be last minute in preparing for your scholarship. Understand which documents you need early and schedule in time and tasks so you can meet the scholarship deadline. Deakin University notes “applying for scholarships often includes a series of questions requiring you to submit personal statements, or provide information about your personal circumstances”. These detailed responses take time.
- Read the criteria carefully
You may have applied for lots of scholarships before, prepared your academic qualifications, personal profile and referees, but all scholarship criteria are different depending on the course requirements of the university or education provider, and the specific scholarship requirements. Don’t miss any detail.
- Proof read everything
There are great tools like Grammarly and ProWritingAid who have trial periods to use their tools for free. Insider Guides suggest “ask a friend, classmate or family member to proofread your documents to catch any mistakes you might have missed”.
- Have a clear idea of how the scholarship will benefit your organisation
Most applications will include a question asking how the scholarship will support the aims of your organisation. Review the scholarship coursework, and identify the capabilities you will gain and how they can benefit your team. Also spend time reflecting on the mission of your organisation and the strategic objectives. Look at the most recent annual report, this will help inform long term priorities of your organisation. Get input from your direct manager or mentor to understand more about the organisations’ priorities.
- Pick referees who know your work
If your scholarship requests a referee choose people who understand the type of work you do and your career goals. Kirsten Moss from Stanford notes most applicants don’t understand how important having good referees are. “It is the only opportunity we get to see you through someone else’s eyes objectively”. Brief your referees on the criteria of the scholarship, and your responses so they are able to offer good examples of why you are a great applicant if contacted.
- Ask your employer for their endorsement
Most scholarships from the Australian Scholarships Foundation will request an endorsement letter from your employer. Help your employer prepare this letter by giving them your insights into why this scholarship will help your team so they can also include clear reasons of how the scholarship will benefit the organisation. Also ask your direct manager to include support in endorsement letters for any time away from work to complete the course or training.
- Finally stand out.
You know you can meet the criteria of the scholarship, but how can you exceed expectations? Remember, the committee will be reading lots of applications from people with similar qualifications and experiences in not-for-profit organisations, so how can you stand out? Share your passions and those unique experiences which will reflect your own personality and skills, qualifications and interests to match the specific scholarship criteria.
Good luck and enjoy.