By Dr. Noaquia Callahan
Congrats! You bet on yourself and broke through the mental barriers that often stop us from applying to scholarships. After all your hard work, I want to make sure that you avoid making small - but critical - mistakes that often derail chances for success. As a $200,000 scholarship winner, there are five actions I recommend you take before pushing the submit button:
Details matter. You must edit, proofread, and revise your application materials to perfection. Ask someone you trust to give you feedback and offer suggestions for revisions. Double-check that you adhere to all requirements concerning word count limits, font size and style, margin specifications, etc.
Answer all of the questions. Even the “optional” ones. Scholarship judges can only evaluate the information you share, so you want to take advantage of opportunities to further demonstrate how fabulous you are and underscore your strengths as a prospective awardee.
Follow up on the status of letters of recommendation. Make this process as easy and convenient as possible for those who have agreed to write letters of support. Remember, your letter writers are doing you a huge favor. They want you to win, so help them help you. Provide them with updated application materials and detailed information about deadlines and the submission process.
Gather all of your materials. Place the required documents in the order in which they are outlined in the scholarship application guidelines and properly title them (e.g. transcripts, curriculum vitae (CV) or resume, test scores, proof of enrollment, etc.) with your name and document attached (i.e. Excellent, Student_Personal Statement).
Pay close attention to final submission protocol. If submitting via email, introduce yourself and keep the message short and sweet. List out the documents that you are attaching for the scholarship and note that letters of recommendation will arrive ‘under separate cover’ from Mr. Dedicated Teacher and Professor Awesome. If submitting via mail (yes, this still happens), verify to whose attention the application should be sent.
That’s it. Submit with confidence. You’ve got this, superstar!