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Scholarship Advice from Deborah Green, Director of Scholarships

November 10, 2021

Scholarships play a crucial role in students’ lives. Scholarships can support student success by relieving some of  the stress of paying for tuition, books, and more. The big questions are, “When should I apply?” and ”How can I stand out?” Deborah Green, Director of Scholarships, kindly answered these questions.

“The best time to start applying for scholarships is during the months of January, February, and March,” she said. "These months, in particular, have the most opportunity as many businesses and colleges begin to submit their scholarship offers and start their search for a recipient." 

Timing plays an important role in getting a scholarship, particularly if it is a need-based scholarship, and you will need to have your FAFSA done too. Take advantage of the external scholarships provided by BOSS or any outside scholarship that has a longer deadline. As Green points out, applying can never hurt. 

"You should be applying for everything you are eligible for. If you do not apply to scholarships, you risk losing them,” she said.

Green also says to “be cautious of external scholarships if they are asking for money to apply or for a social security number. Those are probably scams that should be avoided."

While the time you apply may play a part in receiving the most bang for your buck, the essay is by far the most crucial part of your application. A well-written essay can make all the difference in the review process. The essay is essentially representing you and everything you are aiming to achieve, so Green offers some advice in that regard as well. “The essay should be passionate, but remain focused on the question being asked.” If you have no major or central focus, explain what you are exploring as you answer the question. In addition, you may reuse an essay if it is well done and answers the essay question. Green suggests that responding directly to what the essay question asks will be beneficial because tangents or off-topic sections make you appear unfocused in your goals. 

Furthermore, proofread. A common mistake is failing to proofread. Before you submit anything, check your grammar and punctuation, and pay attention to the spellchecker. Remember, the essay is representative of you. Submitting an essay you have not proofread can hinder your chances of being considered for a scholarship. Use your resources. Have the Writing Center read through it, ask a friend to read it, or put it through a grammar check like Grammarly. The Scholarship Office is also willing to read a draft for you, but don’t push your request for a read-through too close to the deadline. 

Lastly, students should be checking BOSS frequently. Take advantage of BOSS and the service it provides. Check the in-house scholarships first, and start applying to the ones you’re eligible for. BOSS is designed to make finding and connecting to scholarships as easy as possible and help students find the funding they need. 



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