For many students, navigating through the world of scholarships may be very challenging and overwhelming. The Karuk Education Department has developed a comprehensive list of tips and guidelines to not only help you find scholarships that may be available to you, but to also help you successfully gain them.
Scholarships Tips for You!
- Search for scholarships based on your Ethnic Background, Interests, Financial Situation, Major of Study, State, County, Extracurricular Activities and more! Be sure to check at the school you plan on attending in advance to apply for the scholarships they may offer.
- Make sure you are eligible! Be sure the eligibility requirements carefully. Many scholarships have age limits, ethnic restrictions, or are intended for specific academic fields. If you are not eligible, do not apply. Your application will be disregarded and thrown away by the administrators. This is not only a waste of your time, but also for those who provide you with letters of recommendation.
- Don't rely on just one scholarship! Apply to all of the scholarships you are eligible for. This will increase the chance of you receiving one. There are hundreds of scholarships a year that are never awarded because no one applied for them.
- Create a successful approach. Assess each individual opportunity based on deadlines, difficulty of preparation, and award amount. Create a list of all of the scholarships you qualify for and prioritize your opportunities. It can often take up to one month or more to get all the information and documents you need for a scholarship application. It is important you prepare well in advance.
- Read all of the instructions and the entire application before you complete it! Not following instructions correctly will count against you and may cost you the scholarship. Knowing all the questions you must answer on the application will help you plan how you would like to answer each one. Call the scholarship providers if you have any questions about the application.
- Know your audience and competition! Make sure your goals expressed in your application match the goals of the scholarship program. Your essays should speak to the selection committee. If it is a scholarship for a specialized field, remember the committee will more than likely be experts in that field. Also remember that all individuals who meet the eligibility criteria for the scholarship to which you are applying are your competition. You must be able to tailor your responses to questions to show how you are different and better from your competitors.
- Get feedback on your essay questions. Ask a teacher, counselor or another adult to provide positive feedback on your application. They can tell you if it is cohesive, if the piece directly addresses and proves your thesis and if a judge will like it.
- Presentation is important! Always type responses to your essay questions. If application MUST be filled out by hand, use your BEST penmanship!
- Show your strengths and explain your weaknesses! Don't be shy, be proud when talking about yourself and your accomplishments. You should give them a clear idea of who you are, what you would like to study, and your future goals. Be creative and honest! If there are weaknesses in your application, such as poor grades or lack of work experience, be prepared to explain them. Do not be afraid to explain any hardships you may have been through!
- Keep a professional online profile! Use a professional email address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Clean up the content of your social media accounts, removing inappropriate and immature material.
Letter of Recommendation Tips
Ask the most appropriate person. If the scholarship is for volunteer work, ask your supervisor. If the scholarship is for academics or extracurricular activities, ask a teacher, academic counselor or coach.
Be punctual and considerate. Be sure to ask the person your are requesting a letter of recommendation from at least a week before the scholarship is due.
Give them enough material. Let them know which scholarship the letter of recommendation is for and a list of activities and events you have participated in. Be sure to make it easy and quick enough for them to oblige.
- Ask to have the letter printed on a letterhead. This looks more professional to the selection committee of the scholarship.
- Be prepared. If your letter of recommendation needs to be sent via mail, make sure to provide envelopes and stamps.
- Be polite. Always ask politely and thank the person recommending you.