What Do Scholarships Look For

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Speak To The Values Of Who Is Awarding The Scholarship

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When youre thinking to yourself, How can I get a scholarship?, make sure youre also asking yourself, What do the scholarship providers want to see from me? Our scholarship tips cant give you the key to the heart of the institution offering the scholarship, so do your research!

At the top of the list of the best ways to get a scholarship is to convey that youre a student who is an ambassador for the best attributes of the university, organization, or company offering the scholarship. Check out their mission statements to see what they hold dearest and look for examples of how you live and breathe these values to include in your essay.

Be Personal And Passionate

When writing scholarship essays, a good thing to keep in mind is to make your essay personable and passionate. Share your stories, feelings, and personal experiences. Maybe you decided to work in healthcare because you lost a parent to illness, but try not to focus on the negatives. Instead, focus on how your hardships have shaped you into the person you are today.

What Are Common Scholarship Essay Questions

We analysed a representative sample of the scholarships on Going Merry to find out the ten most common scholarship questions. They were:

  • How will this scholarship help you?
  • How have you contributed to your community, or what community service have you provided?
  • Tell us about you.
  • Tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it.
  • What are your academic goals and your career goals?
  • What impact has sports had on your life?
  • Why do you deserve this scholarship?
  • Tell us about a time when you had a belief or idea challenged.
  • How are you unique?
  • Why do you want to study/pursue ?
  • Keep in mind, each scholarship is different and might require additional information from you. These are just some prompts to keep in mind as theyre commonly included in scholarship essay requests.

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    Okay Im Ready To Start Applying For Scholarships Where Do I Go From Here

    If youre ready to apply for scholarships all in one place, you can with Going Merry. Were your one-stop shop for all things scholarships, including applying for scholarships, writing essays, understanding different forms of financial aid, and more!

    Youll enter your information once, and then your scholarship application will be prefilled with information such as your high school or college name, GPA, and what you want to study / what youre currently studying.

    Where Do I Go To Find Scholarship Opportunities

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    To find scholarships you are eligible for, it is advised to first look at the information provided by your chosen university. Funding information will be listed on the universitys website or in the prospectus, and this is also where youll find the relevant contact information should you have any questions about scholarship applications.

    In many cases you will not be able to apply for university scholarships until you have gained acceptance onto a program at the university. If you are relying on a scholarship for funding, please see question five below.

    As well as university scholarships , there may also be a range of external scholarships you can apply for, such as government scholarships or scholarships funded by organizations or charities with an invested interest in higher education.

    To look for these scholarships you can either use a scholarships search service such as or, or you can conduct a more thorough search by visiting official consular/governmental websites for yourself and tracking down any information provided on international student funding. Often current scholarships will be listed together, for example as on the government of Canadas dedicated scholarships website, or the DAAD’s scholarship database , but sometimes they are trickier to find, so be patient!

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    What Do Scholarship Givers Look For In A Student

    When your college budget is tight, scholarships can help ease the burden and make your education more affordable. Youll need to put your best foot forward as you compete with other students to win scholarship awards, however. By learning what attracts scholarship-givers, you can adjust your image accordingly to increase your odds of receiving funds.

    Clear Passion For Their Futures

    An exceptional academic history or a laundry list of achievements wont help a student land a scholarship if they dont seem enthusiastic about what the future holds. If a student wants to impress the scholarship committee, demonstrating a clear passion for the field theyre pursuing, and their long-term career goals makes a significant difference.

    Often, passionate students are more likely to thrive in college than those who are unsure about the direction of their future. Since thats the case, scholarship selection committees generally want to award funds to those wholl use it best, so they opt for enthusiastic candidates over their counterparts.

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    What Should I Submit With My Scholarship Application

    As well as a completed application form, which will include information about yourself and your contact details, you may also be asked to provide the following documentation to support your application:

      • A transcript of grades
      • Letter of recommendation
      • An essay on a given topic

    For some need-based university scholarships in the US, applicants will also be asked to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid to establish whether they are in need of financial aid.

    Benefit #: Career Prospects

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    Some scholarship awards are so prestigious that they work like an honorific title on their own. Think about the Rhodes Scholarship, for instance even decades after you graduate, earning the title of Rhodes Scholar is still considered a very impressive credential. Earning a title like that can make a big difference for your career after college.

    Employers understand that scholarships are very competitive these days. So, earning a prestigious met-based scholarship can help give the impression that you have exceptional ability in your field.

    If you manage to earn a competitive scholarship, thats something worth listing on a job application. It might give you an edge over other candidates.

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    Write An Original Essay Each Time

    It may be tempting to copy and paste an essay youve written for a previous scholarship into future scholarship applications. However, it is important to write original content for each scholarship that requires an essay. While various scholarships may ask you to describe an experience or goal, each prompt can vary slightly. Even if you make tweaks here and there to existing essays, like updating your introduction, the scholarship judging committee will likely be able to tell that the essay was originally written with a different prompt in mind. Make sure you read the prompt multiple times to fully understand what it is asking. Youll be on your way to writing an outstanding scholarship essay in no time.

    Who Can Apply For Scholarships How Do I Know If Im Eligible

    Each scholarship will list its eligibility requirements, such as GPA, college major, and other information. Be sure to read through all instructions and requirements before you apply.

    That said, most scholarships are intended to help students who are pursuing higher education . Typically, scholarships are geared toward undergraduates attending 4-year universities, but there are scholarships available for community college and for graduate students. Some scholarships are also specifically tailored to transfer students.

    There is also a myth that scholarships are only available for low-income students. However, there are many merit-based scholarships or athletic scholarships that are available to students from any income level.

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    Dont Forget To Proofread Before Submitting

    Proofreading is an essential aspect of writing your scholarship essay and submitting all other necessary documents. Make sure to correct any grammar and spelling errors, and double check that you have answered the prompt correctly.

    Try reading your essay aloud to see how it flows. This can help you catch grammatical errors or wordy sentences that you may have missed when reviewing in your head. It also helps to have someone else read through your essay to catch any missed mistakes.

    Follow The Submission Instructions To Make Sure Your Scholarship Application Makes It Through The First Round

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    Another simple yet often-missed factor when students are learning how to get a scholarship is to follow all submission directions from the start. Using the correct file format, attaching the correct documents, and making sure that youve hit the correct word count are all important scholarship tips for ensuring that your scholarship application qualifies to be considered.

    A few minutes of time can make sure that your application is not disqualified.

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    Mind The Details For A Professional

    While many scholarship awarding committees will not disqualify you for a typo or misspelling , its still a great idea to have a trusted friend, family member, classmate, or mentor read over your application to give you feedback.

    We also recommend choosing an easily readable font if one is not specified, and not getting too creative with images unless they are permitted and speak to the message behind your application.

    For example, including photos of your volunteer work, or a photo with you presenting an academic project could bring your essay to life.

    Find Scholarships You Qualify For

    Many scholarships are aimed at specific groups of people such as those who:

    • want to study in a particular field
    • have achieved at a high level
    • have shown leadership skills or community involvement
    • are from a particular area in New Zealand
    • have certain ancestry

    You should only apply for scholarships that you could qualify for. To find these:

    • use general online scholarship databases such as StudySpy and Generosity New Zealand
    • visit the websites of places where you want to study and look for their scholarship information
    • talk to your teachers, careers adviser, and advisers at the place you want to study.

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    How Can Scholarship Money Be Spent

    Scholarship checks awarded in your name can be spent on anything, but you would be wise to look at this as an investment and not a free pass to splurge on video games or concert tickets. This money is for school expenses. This could mean tuition, but it could also be books, pencils, housing, food or even computers and software.

    When you receive the scholarship money depends on the scholarship you won. Sometimes you get the money in one chunk before school begins, and in other cases the money is distributed in installments. Sometimes a scholarship may be paid out in the middle of a semester.

    Apply For A Scholarship

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    Understanding how to apply for a scholarship can significantly improve your chances of success. Not all scholarships, grants and bursaries require you to actively apply for them. At some universities you will automatically be considered for those you are eligible for, when you apply to the Universities concerned, but it is not always the case and often you will need to apply, so make sure you check once you know where you will be studying.

    There are also many grants, bursaries and scholarships you can apply for which are offered by other organisations and you will definitely not be automatically entered for these as they wont know about you if you dont apply!

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    When Is The Best Time To Apply For Study Abroad Scholarships

    Many study abroad scholarships have similar deadlines, which often depend on the start dates of the academic year in the relevant country. For fall admission, scholarships for international students can be found up until the late summer months, and for winter admission youll often have until late in the fall to apply. For exact dates, be sure to check the details provided on the website of the scholarship provider and note them down in your calendar so as not to miss a key deadline.

    Know What The Panel Is Looking For

    Come up with specific examples that demonstrate how you meet the criteria.

    All scholarships have a set of individual selection criteria that are used to assess each application. Familiarise yourself with these and spend some time thinking about how you satisfy each one. Come up about specific examples that demonstrate how you meet the criteria. And dont be shy to include letters from your references or other documents in your application.

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    Who Can Quality For Scholarships

    Scholarships arent awarded just to students with a 4.0 GPA. Each scholarship has its own criteria. Some scholarships are awarded based on need. For others, you must be a member of an organization, be studying a certain field or fit whatever guidelines the group awarding the money decides upon.

    Regardless of whether you excel in academics, you should be able to find several scholarships that work for you. There are even scholarships intended for students living in a particular state or town. You can continue to apply for scholarships during your collegiate years all the way up to Ph.D. studies.

    Overly General Phrases And Platitudes

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    The name of the game for winning scholarships is standing out from the mix. This means you dont want to say the exact same thing as hundreds of other applicants.

    Platitudes are common, overly simplified statements that people use all the time. For example, Good things come to those who wait. These are okay phrases to say, but refrain from using them in your scholarship essays to avoid sounding like every other high school student.

    DONT discuss the scholarship opportunity in platitudes like, It would mean the world to me to win this money or Winning this scholarship would be life-changing. These statements may be true, but they dont really tell us much about you.

    DO illustrate specifically how things will change if you win the scholarship money. For example, This scholarship award would enable me to have only one part-time job instead of two, providing me more time to focus on my college courses.

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    Appeal To Ethos Pathos And Logos

    Uh, what-os? If you havent learned about ethos, pathos, and logos yet, lets give you a quick primer. Ethos, pathos, and logos are modes of persuading your reader. In other words, theyre techniques to make your work more powerful and convincing.

    Here is a great overview of ethos, pathos, and logos, but in short, heres what each refers to:

    Ethos = how you establish your own credibility, reliability, or authority on the subject matter .

    For example, you might discuss how your experience working a part-time job has influenced your thoughts on minimum wage laws.

    Pathos = how you use emotional appeal to tell your story or make your case.

    For example, you might paint a picture of all of the wildlife lost in massive brush fires.

    Logos = how you use logic or ration to convey your point.

    For example, you may use statistics to convey how reliant high school students are on their cell phones.

    Heres a graphic that breaks down ethos, pathos, and logos clearly:

    Basically, in the ideal essay, youll use all three types of support to make your essay as earnest and persuasive as possible.

    Essay Writing For Research Scholarships

    If you are applying for a research scholarship you should include this information in the second and third sections:

    • The second section should detail the research project. The overview should be well written, concise and make clear the purpose of the research. Include information on the relevance of the project and how the research may address a current social problem.
    • The final section should summarize what you expect to learn from your participation in the project and what new skills you will develop. Be sure to include any tangible event or result like publishing in a research paper or presenting at a conference for example.

    Attaining a Research Scholarship is an extremely competitive process. Use each of your allotted words very carefully. Think deeply about the overview before you craft the description. Another factor that affects the committee decision will be the sponsoring faculty letter, so you should plan to discuss both your application and the faculty nomination with your sponsoring faculty member in order to put your best collective application forward.

    For all SBS Scholarship Applications you should strive to be honest. Use the 300 words in your essay to craft a persuasive argument. If you do not need the 300 words, then make it brief but do not waste one word in your essay. Please resist the temptation to fill the essay with non-essential information in order to achieve a 300 word length.

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    How Scholarships Are Judged: An Inside Look

    Roxana Hadad

    Wouldn’t it be great to know what scholarship providers look for in an application? Take an inside look at how judges pick their favorites.

    At First Glance

    The judges’ first evaluation of your application is a quick oneusually only 15 to 30 seconds. Most applications don’t get past this quick but important first stage. Give your application one last review to be sure yours makes it through.

    • Do you qualify? Nothing makes it easier for judges to say “no” than an applicant who doesn’t meet the minimum requirements.
    • Is your application neat? An application with coffee stains or messy handwriting won’t make the cut.
    • Are all of the required documents included? Be sure you’re not leaving out references, transcripts, photographs or anything else the application requires.
    • Are all of the questions answered? Scan your application to see if you’ve left anything out.

    The Second Cut

    After an application makes it past the first round, the judges separate “OK” from “great.” The applications that make it through are those that have thorough and well-thought-out responses.

    The Final Decision

    This is the most difficult part of the process for judges. They’ve narrowed it down to a few highly qualified students. Now they must examine and compare every detail of the applications.

    According to Mark Davis, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, judges pay special attention to:

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