General Tips for Scholarship Seekers
Here are some essential tips for conducting your scholarship campaign in a professional manner. You want to work in a manner that promotes success... both for the present and the future.
This advice is largely drawn from Dr. Jim Hohenbary, Assistant Dean and Head of the Nationally Competitive Scholarship Office at Kansas State University.
- Start your search early to find your targets early. Know the deadlines and plan accordingly. Put them on your calendar. Obtain the application right away.
- Come by and see Dr. Brian Posler to discuss your goals and plans. He can help connect you to people here on campus that can help you prepare for the competitions. Call his office at 812-424-7020 to make an appointment.
- Respect the deadlines. Respect the eligibility parameters. Don't waste the time of yourself and others by applying late or applying for awards for which you don't qualify.
- Ask your references with plenty of time to spare. They are busy. They will write better letters if they have sufficient time and if they know that you respect their time.
- Supply your references with information they need to write effectively. For advice on gathering good references, go to
our reference page.
- Read your application materials carefully. Would you award an individual who could not follow directions? You might consider creating a checklist. Check it twice or thrice before you put it in the mail.
- Speaking of mail . . . note the difference between Postmark Deadline and Receipt Deadline. Assume it is a Receipt Deadline if the application does not specify. Mail your materials with some margin of error (if possible) and use a trackable courier like FedEx or UPS when necessary.
- If you need transcripts order them far in advance. You will find that not all institutions supply transcripts quickly (although many perform the task admirably). Check on the status of your transcript request when appropriate.
- Draft your materials on a photocopy of the original if you need to eventually submit the original form. For advice on how to write scholarship essays, go to
our essay page.
- You should strive for a pristine application. No errors of spacing, spelling, punctuation, messy correction, bad alignment, sloppy copies, etc. Get others to read your application because you will probably miss some obvious errors. Find readers who will read critically. An empty "looks good" hurts more than it helps.
- Always type your application. Pasting and photocopying text generated on the computer can work well. Just make sure and eliminate lines from the final copy and watch for crooked text.
- Remember to make a copy of the final application for your records. You may want to use elements of the application for future scholarship applications.
- Persevere. Many very qualified individuals are turned down for top scholarships. The students who keep the window of opportunity open are those who continue to search for scholarships that suit them and continue to apply.
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