Basic tips for filling out good scholarship applications

Increase your chances of getting a scholarship by following these simple tips.

August 30, 2018 - Author: Frank Cox, Michigan State University Extension

As a high school student makes plans for college, they will soon realize the cost of attending college is getting more expensive. Students and parents can use a variety of resources to help cover the rising costs of higher education such as financial aid, loans and 529 savings plans. Applying for scholarships is another way to cover the cost of college.

According to College Board, scholarships are defined as a kind of “gift aid”—financial aid that doesn’t have to be paid back. Scholarships may be awarded based on merit or partially on merit meaning they’re given to students with certain qualities, such as proven academic or athletic ability. There are also scholarships based on certain unique characteristics such as being left handed or a twin, triplet or of multiple births.

The majority of scholarships have a competitive application process since many students are applying for the same scholarship to receive the same financial reward. In an article by Scholarship America in the U.S. News and World Report, there are six types of questions students should be prepared to answer on a scholarship application. These questions come in the form of or are related to academic performance/grade point average, high school activities, community activities, financial need, personal letter or essay, or letters of recommendation.

Scholarships.com mentions some scholarship application strategies, some tips on a successful approach, and tips for a winning scholarship application. Michigan State University Extension shares five tips to help you have a successful scholarship application:

  1. Complete the full application and follow all directions or requirements.
  2. Make sure someone proof reads and edits the scholarship application before submitting.
  3. Send materials in before the deadline date.
  4. Letters of recommendation should be fresh versions, not copies.
  5. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a scholarship. Keep applying!

As youth workers, parents and caring adults, encourage youth to fill out scholarship applications. Give them tools to help them be aware of what scholarship applications look for. Work with youth as underclassmen (freshman to juniors) to help them learn about filling out a scholarship application and provide sample applications to fill out for practice. This will give them the chance to understand what is needed to fill out scholarship applications so they will be prepared before their senior year.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

Tags: 4-h, academic success, careers & entrepreneurship, life skills, msu extension, youth money management


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