This page provides advice on getting organized in your scholarship hunt.
Applying for scholarships, along with college admission, is one of the
longest and most complicated tasks you will have undertaken to
date. It requires sustained effort over many months involving many
interacting pieces. It is best to start the process by getting
organized, so that you won't miss any deadlines.
This page is part of the section on maximizing your chances of
winning a merit scholarship.
- Get organized. If you start off organized, you are less
likely to miss an application deadline or forget to ask for a letter
of recommendation. Put each application's materials in a separate file
folder. Attach a checklist to the front listing all the required
materials and the date you requested and sent the materials. The
checklist should also indicate the deadlines. Keep a photocopy of your
entire application, so you can resend it in case it is lost in the
mail. (You will also find it helpful to refer to old applications when
applying to other scholarships.)
Keep a master checklist of all the scholarships to which you are applying,
so you can check off the completion of each application.
- Do not miss deadlines. If you miss a deadline, your
application is disqualified, regardless of your excuse. Scholarship
sponsors never provide extensions. So when you
receive the application materials, take note of the deadline and
whether it is a postmark or receipt deadline. If the deadline is based
on the date your application is received by the sponsor, be sure to
mail the application at least a week before the deadline date. Set
your own personal deadline at least two weeks prior to that date, so that your
application materials are ready well in advance of the official deadline.
You might want to include a self-addressed stamped postcard with your
application that the sponsor can drop in the mail to let you know that
your application has been received and whether you are missing any
supporting materials. (You could also send the application by
certified mail, return receipt requested.)
- Organize the application materials. If an application
consists of several loose pages, label each page with your name, and
possibly also a purpose and page number. This will help prevent parts
of your application from getting lost or out of order.