Frequently Asked Questions about Scholarship Applications
After working with 200+ students to submit over 2,500 scholarship applications, these are the most common questions students have about the scholarship application process
- Why do you deserve this scholarship?
- What are your college and/or career aspirations? How will college help you achieve those goals?
- Choose one of your extracurriculars and tell us why it is the most significant to you.
- Share your community service and volunteer history. Summarize your community service activity, including how you became involved, your role, and the impact of the activity.
- What is the biggest obstacle you have faced? How did you overcome it?
To be best prepared for the different scholarship prompts and lengths, we suggest writing two answers for each prompt. One should be 250 words and the other should be 500 words.
- Who are you?
- What has made you who you are?
- What are you doing (clubs/organizations, jobs, community service)? What have you done (some specific stories)?
- What are your goals? Why are you dedicated to them? What in your life reflects that commitment?
- Why do you need a scholarship? How will it make a difference?
- What would the judges find memorable and/or unique about you?
Tips to keep in mind:
Specificity is key!
Include concrete examples to illustrate larger themes. Don’t just state that you are a dedicated student; show them through an example instead.
“I am a very hard-working individual.”
“At my current job, there is a lot of down-time. Instead of just sitting around, I stay busy by dusting, cleaning, taking out the garbage, and doing other chores. I try to look for things that need to be done instead of waiting to be told what to do.”
“I work with disadvantaged kids”
“Saturday mornings are my favorite. On a day when all my friends are excited to sleep in, I wake up at seven in the morning and hurry out the door to meet my team. As I run onto the field, I hear a chorus of six year olds calling after me, “Coach!” “Coach!” Their camaraderie and happy nature would fool the average spectator. No one would guess that these children struggle to connect socially with their peers. However, on the field, they leave all of that behind. Every day, I strive to create a safe place for each and every one of my players.”
Notice that the second of each of these examples always tells a story? Scholarship committees (and college admissions officers) read hundreds of essays. The way to stand out is by telling a memorable story that paints a picture of who you are and what you do.
Make sure you proofread and that you have others proofread your essays. Essays that have typos or other easily visible mistakes show a lack of care. When money is on the line, don’t let something as simple as a typo keep you from winning thousands of dollars!
Tip: Copy and paste your essay in Google Translate and have the computer read the essay to you. Sometimes it’s easier to hear errors than reading your same essay for the 1624th time.