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What’s Important in a Scholarship Application

Check out this list of considerations and tips to keep in mind when completing scholarship applications!
What’s Important in a Scholarship Application -

SWE scholarship applications for incoming college freshman students are open! The application deadline is this March 20th, so if you are a senior high school student approaching graduation, now is a great time to apply for the scholarship as well as other scholarship opportunities that can help you cover college finances. Read on for a list of considerations to keep in mind as you prepare a scholarship application.

  1. Be specific and genuine in your application. The scholarship application is an opportunity for the awarding organization to meet you and learn about your outstanding achievements, skills, and experiences. This is your time to brag about and provide details of your accomplishments. Instead of simply listing a set of skills you have, provide examples that demonstrate how you have acquired and practiced these skills. Let the reviewers know what makes you “you” and what you are truly proud of or have a strong passion or aspiration for.  
  2. Ensure that you meet the scholarship eligibility requirements before you apply. You do not want to spend time on a scholarship application that may be disqualified due to ineligibility. Read through the list of eligibility requirements before you apply, and reach out to the scholarship committee in advance if you need any clarifications.
  3. Follow all instructions in the scholarship application. Scholarship applications typically have a list of required information or input from the applicant such as previous coursework, employment experience, an essay or personal statement, a list of awards, or volunteering and extracurricular activities. Be sure to respond to all the application requirements. If the application includes an essay or short answer prompt, be sure to stay on topic in your response. Some applications will have an additional list of optional items to include in your application. These optional items could be a resume, a portfolio, or a short video for example. When applicable, including these optional additions in your application can help you stand out compared to other applicants.
  4. Mention how the scholarship will help YOU. Of course, the scholarship will provide financial assistance for you to cover college-related expenses, but if there are any other ways that the scholarship application would make a difference for you, make that clear in your application. Maybe the scholarship would allow you to reduce work hours and spend more time volunteering for your favorite charity or performing research. Or maybe the scholarship award comes with perks that you are excited to take advantage of such as a mentorship program or internship matching. Whatever it is, let the committee know!
  5. Edit and proofread, edit and proofread, then edit and proofread. Review your application material multiple times before submitting. You can use online spellchecks and grammar checks to help minimize simple errors. You can also ask a teacher to review your essay for feedback to address before submission.
  6. Gather documents early and submit the application on time. If the application requires multiple supporting documents, start to procure them early before the deadline. If you need a letter of recommendation, try to request it at least two weeks ahead of the deadline and be clear with the recommender on the applicable due dates and process of submission. Do not wait until the last minute to submit the application because you may encounter technical issues for online submissions or shipping delays for physical submissions, so it is safer to protect for extra time.

Visit the SWE website to learn more about the SWE scholarship opportunities and requirements. In addition, you can check with your high school counselor for a list of local scholarship opportunities or trusted scholarship sources. Good luck!


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