Preparing Competitive Scholarship Applications
You want to give your scholarship application the polish and
impact that can attract funding. Here are some ideas for increasing your odds
Guidelines on the application process
How to stand out from the crowd
Tips for writing good personal statements and scholarship essays
Fill at least two-thirds of the
available word count. If you
don’t, you’re missing the opportunity to build the strongest possible case for
your candidacy and to leave a vivid impression.
Work from your life. Draw on
your personal life and experiences to pick authentic, pertinent examples, anecdotes, and feelings
that you can discuss with specificity and passion.
Write like you talk. Don’t
judge or censor your writing until you have a completed draft. Having a
distinctive “voice” is a huge plus.
Be who you are. If you want
to stand out, be who you are. Don’t just say what you think someone wants to
hear; answer outside the box.
Know what makes you different. How
do you think you are special, unusual, or distinctive as a person or student?
Try to make sure that these qualities come through in the application—but show,
Don't be afraid to toot your own horn. You need to tell reviewers exactly why they should give you a lot of money.
Engage with stories. Telling
the story of a pertinent personal experience is a great way to start an essay
or interview question response. Powerful images and ideas make answers
memorable and unique.
Tell the truth, then tell the moral
of the story. It can be an effective technique to recount a personal
story or anecdote that does not show you in the very best light, IF you use it
as a springboard into showing something important you have learned, or how and
why your ideals or goals have changed. (a once-per-application strategy, probably)
Maintain a sharp focus. Have
precise responses to each question. Don’t try to share every passion,
accomplishment, ambition, or social concern. Avoid repetition of experiences.
Keep your answers and stories rich, but succinct.
Funding Tips (for grants and fellowships) from NAU
doctoral student and DOE Graduate Fellow Lucy Mullin
Harry S. Truman
Scholarship: Advice and Guidance for Candidates, especially Advice for Preparing Your Personal Statement
Definition of a Personal Statement by Mary Hale Tolar
Advice for applying for graduate science fellowships: NSF, NDSEG, and Hertz
by Philip Guo
National Science Foundation
Graduate Research Fellowship: Useful Tips for Applying
Advice for applying to UK scholarships
Scholarship Search Engines