9 Common Scholarship Application Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

9 Common Scholarship Application Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

9 Common Scholarship Application Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)
9 Common Scholarship Application Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

9 Common Scholarship Application Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

 

The deadline to apply for college scholarships passed over two months ago, but it’s not too late to apply for scholarships at other institutions! The application process may seem simple, but there are some common mistakes students make that you can avoid if you know what they are in advance. This article outlines the most common scholarship application mistakes and explains how to avoid them, so you can maximize your chances of receiving those much-needed financial aid dollars.

 

What mistakes are people making?

  1. Not checking their name is correct and doesn’t contain typos. 2. Not double-checking other personal information like contact number, email, etc. 3. Using unnecessary or inappropriate language in application essays 4. Misunderstanding word count requirements 5. Ignoring cover letter requirements 6. Submitting applications that aren’t specific to certain criteria 7. Sending applications too late 8. Applying for scholarships they aren’t qualified for 9.

 

1) When you don’t follow directions

Deadlines are deadlines. Don’t get so caught up in planning your perfect application essay that you forget to read and follow directions. All scholarship applications have specific directions for what they’re looking for in essays, and most include very strict word counts and submission requirements as well. Failing to follow these requirements can often be just as harmful as failing to write a quality essay—you might not even be given a chance! So remember: It’s always better to plan extra time for writing than it is to submit an incomplete application because you took a chance on squeezing everything in at the last minute.

 

2) When you forget to give yourself some context

It’s always nice to add a little something extra when you’re applying for scholarships, but it’s important that whatever that something is connects back to your community and/or your interests. If you can bring in an outside activity or cause that applies directly to what you do in your free time, it will provide context and make scholarship judges more likely to include you on their shortlist. You also want to avoid talking about how much school costs because, let’s face it: we all know what school costs and scholarship applications are not about financial aid.

 

3) When you send generic, copied and pasted content

Scholarship committees are not impressed by cut-and-paste applications. Take a few minutes to add a personal spin that makes you stand out from everyone else. For example, say your school counselor pointed you towards an application and offered to write your letter of recommendation. If she did so, reference that in your essay and thank her for helping you complete it. This helps remind them of who you are and what sets you apart from other students.

 

4) Trying to write too many essays

When applying for scholarships, it’s tempting to write essays on all of your favorite subjects. After all, why not? You don’t know how many awards you’ll receive and a larger number is better than a smaller one. However, there are two major problems with including too many topics in your scholarship applications: It can increase your odds of running out of good ideas and it can distract from your strongest work. Since you’re probably trying to get people who only read one essay instead of four or five, make sure that each piece is focused on a single topic—or at least loosely connected ones.

 

5) Not proofreading your work

Always read over your application a few times before sending it in. Typos and grammatical errors can make you look unprofessional. In addition, if you’ve used spell-checker, be sure to read your work over again. It’s easy for computer software to miss something as simple as adding an extra space between two words or using and instead of to. To help prevent mistakes, ask a friend or relative to look over your application for you before sending it in. And don’t forget that if English isn’t your first language, enlisting someone who speaks your native language is key!

 

6) Applying for scholarships you aren’t eligible for

Even if you’re a great student and have a strong GPA, there’s no reason to apply for scholarships that are outside your field of study. So if you’re in marketing, don’t waste your time applying for scholarships in English literature. Instead, take a few minutes to browse sites like Fastweb and choose scholarship opportunities that suit your major.

 

7) Focusing on the wrong awards

While your GPA and test scores are key components in securing scholarship money, they’re hardly as important as creativity. Scholarships aren’t just given to students with high GPAs, after all; you need compelling, unique achievements or activities. Your best bet is to go out of your way to think of unique ways you can apply for awards, like enrolling in a free summer internship program or organizing a charity event for students in your area.

 

8) Inaccurate or unprofessional social media accounts.

Many scholarship providers will search your social media accounts as part of their review process. If you have a Facebook page or Twitter profile dedicated to one aspect of your life, and another for another, it’s a good idea to merge them into one cohesive account before applying for scholarships. No reason for a reviewer to question whether you’re lying about who you are.

 

9) Taking an entire month off from applying in between rounds of applications.

While it’s great that you want to relax and enjoy your time off, there’s nothing wrong with taking two weeks off between rounds of applications. However, if you take an entire month or even more away from applying, chances are your momentum will slow down. You might even lose a lot of motivation; after all, who wants to submit an application for a scholarship when they haven’t submitted anything for so long? Make sure you don’t leave too much time in between submitting applications. Keep momentum going by applying every few days or weeks—it doesn’t have to be often if you get overwhelmed by them! Simply make sure you keep applying consistently throughout each round.

 

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