Here are eight tips to help you be successful when applying for scholarships and get access to some of the millions of pounds of scholarships out there.
Check university websites for scholarships
Cast your net wide when looking for scholarships. You’ve made a great start by being here – we are the largest database in the country – but the universities you want to study at may have more funds on their website and some universities don’t centralise funding, with different departments and schools offering their own scholarships.
This can be annoying but it’s well worth digging around! Research is key – spend the time to talk to people who may have made successful scholarship applications in the past as they may be a valuable source of information.
Apply as early as possible
Everyone always waits until the last minute when applying for scholarships but take our advice and apply early. It gives you more time to prepare and get the application just right, you’ll be less stressed and this way you won’t miss any deadlines.
This also gives the scholarship providers plenty of time to follow up with you if there’s anything else needed to support your application.
Don’t miss the application deadline
Speaking of which, and we shouldn’t have to say it but we’re gonna – don’t miss the deadline! This is the biggest mistake you can make. Most providers won’t accept applications after the deadline and since many scholarships have one deadline per year if you miss it, you’ll have to wait a full 12 months!
Personalise your scholarship application
No one likes getting a “cut and paste” scholarship application that’s clearly been bulk sent to everyone. The best approach to take is to tailor each application so that the person/s reading it feels as though you have taken the time and made the effort to apply – this is key to any good scholarship application.
For many scholarship providers, it’s very important that the recipient/s of the funds will appreciate the money and use it well and tailoring your responses to demonstrate this will serve you well.
Research the fund provider online and tie some of the information you find about them into your application – it shows you’ve done your homework. If you can relate this to yourself and your goals, even better. Make it personal, but keep it relevant.
Authenticity is really important when applying for scholarships. Make sure your passion and ambition come through in your application so that the person/s who will judge the application will be confident that you are the right recipient.
Search for funds that you are eligible for based on your past, present or future circumstances. Are you a high academic achiever? Or perhaps your strengths lie elsewhere or your circumstances are a bit different. There are plenty of scholarships available to you if you are from a minority category, or maybe you’ve had difficult financial or personal circumstances that have led you towards an unusual profession?
As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”.
Be thorough in checking your application
There is no point putting time and effort into an application only to have spelling mistakes, incomplete sections or factually incorrect information. Check and double-check your application and then ask someone to check it again!
If you can ask someone you trust for help they may well be able to help you identify any errors and also offer constructive feedback which can help you present a better scholarship application. Others often see our strengths and achievements more clearly than we see them ourselves.
Make sure you follow any instructions that you are given – this is the time to be really pedantic. If the guidance asks for size 12 font (a silly example but play along with me) don’t do size 14 – not following instructions will reflect sloppiness and will likely be a strike against you.
Check your socials
Just like employers, scholarship providers may well do a quick search on you online. Do you know what appears when you Google your name? It’s worth finding out to give you the best chance of being successful in your scholarship application.
Check whether there’s any online content that might leave a bad impression – this would be a good time to delete any public posts that may put you in a negative light.
First impressions count so make sure you come across as calm and professional as possible.
It will serve you well for applications but also for life in general!
Just do it!
Stop procrastinating and just do it. There are millions and millions of pounds of scholarships available so you just have to get going with the applications. Many funds are very competitive but there are also plenty of funds that receive far too few applications because everyone thinks they aren’t going to get it!
Putting in the effort may be one of the most financially impactful things you can do and is key to getting a scholarship! And don’t be put off by any rejection letters – keep on applying. You never know which scholarship application will be the one that lands!