Tips for Scholarship Applicants
To increase your chances of being awarded a scholarship:
- Apply! It is a rare occasion that a student will receive a scholarship offer without having applied for it. You need to be proactive in seeking out scholarship opportunities and in applying for them.
- Be on time! You may be the highest qualified student for a particular scholarship award, but if your application was submitted late, you most likely will not be considered as an eligible applicant. Know the application deadlines for each scholarship application you're submitting, and turn them in on time.
- Be neat! A nicely prepared application can carry more weight with a scholarship selection committee than a sloppy, hard-to-read one. Misspellings and grammar mistakes can be application killers. Take time to type or word process your application, and spell-check and proofread the material before submitting it.
- Be thorough! Be sure to complete all sections of the application and include all supporting documents requested (transcripts, current class schedule, letters of recommendation, statement, essay, etc.). Double-check that you've included all requested documents and information before submitting the application.
- Spend time on the goal statement/essay! Most scholarship applications will require the submission of a goal statement or essay. Take your time in writing your statement. Have others review it and make suggestions for improvement. While it is okay to use one essay for several scholarship applications, be sure that you modify the statement or essay to specifically address what's being asked for on each application. Committees look for statements and essays that are well written and address the topic(s) outlined in the scholarship announcement.
- Use any and all resources! While the Scholarship Office website is a good resource for finding out about scholarship opportunities at ISU, it should not be the only resource you use. Make sure you check with your major department on a regular basis regarding scholarship opportunities they may offer. Also, there are outside scholarship resources where you can search databases for scholarship opportunities that pertain to your situation or background. A brief list is linked from this web site under Outside Scholarship Resources, but there are many others to be found online. There are plenty of free databases out there to choose from, so there's no reason to pay for these services. Check with family and friends to see what scholarship opportunities they may know about. Your parents' or grandparents' employers may offer scholarships for children and grandchildren of employees. As you can see, scholarship resources are virtually limitless, so don't limit yourself to just a few.
- If awarded, a Thank You Letter may be required! We can't stress enough the importance of Thank You letter writing. If you receive and accept a scholarship award offer, you may be asked to write a Thank You Letter to a specific donor who made your scholarship possible. ISU makes this a high priority and will not release your scholarship until it is received. Take your time in doing this and be genuine. Make sure you view our Guidelines for Writing Thank You Letters. Letting donors know that the support they're providing is making a difference in students' lives encourages the continuation and growth of our scholarship program.