Student Success

A Guide to Applying for Scholarships

Start early!

Most Scholarship applications require you to compile a significant amount of information.

Begin by hunting for and identifying scholarships and awards that are relevant to your academic &/or research pursuits.

Identify scholarships applicable to you &/or your field of study. Compare your strengths and interests with the particular requirements of the award. If you are a traditionally aged white male science student pursuing funding for graduate school, don’t consider a scholarship aimed at non-traditional native students studying political science and social justice policy-no matter how appealing the terms of the scholarship sound to you.

Look for a scholarship that fits you and your particular academic or research goals.

Once you have identified scholarships:

Check the web site of the foundation or agency offering the award. There is valuable information about granting institutions to be found by reviewing what they publicize about themselves.

Look at their list of past awardees, read their application essays. This may assist you regarding your fit for the award you are seeking.

Before beginning any application process check to see if the application requires a faculty sponsor, or a recommendation from a faulty representative for the award - perhaps there is an office dedicated to assisting students pursuing scholarships and awards at your university.

The faculty representative/mentor should be someone familiar with you, your academic career and your research interests (if applicable).

Your choice of a faculty mentor should consider the good working relationship you have developed with them, which means they are invested in your success and willing to put in their time to assist you in compiling and submitting application materials.

Read the entire application more than once!

Note all the components of the application that you will need to complete and gather. Think ahead to allow sufficient time for requested letters of support, information from the registrar’s office, tax information to be gathered. No one appreciates a request to write a letter of recommendation 2 weeks before the due date.

Make a time line and stick to it!

Keep updating it as you go through your process. Consider sharing your time line with a sponsor who can assist you in adhering to it.

Don’t rush through the application process! Don’t try to do it all at once!

Allow plenty of time to gather the necessary information required for the application.

Allow plenty of time to compose concise and well-written essays. Don’t wait to the last minute to submit the application!

Spell check, spell check, spell check all your written material.

Based on the article “Applying for a NRSA Grant: One Graduate Student’s Perspective”Winter 2010 American Sociological Assn. Drug & Tobacco Section Newsletter vol. 20 #1 pg. 9 by  Kathi L.H. Harp Department of Sociology, University of Kentucky.