know who created the scholarship
Knowing who created the scholarship can help you understand the people who will be reviewing your application. It might also help you think of ideas for your essay or topics to introduce during an interview. For example, if the scholarship you are applying for is offered by the Society of Women Engineers, know a little something about women engineers and what problems they face. If it is an AFL-CIO scholarship you're after, brush up on your history of unionism in the United States; know what role the AFL-CIO has played over the years.
show interest in the organization
Tailor your application to show that you are interested in the organization. The CollegeEdge "Mail" Tool can help you create customized letters to send to scholarship organizations.
know what their organization does
If you are applying for a 4-H scholarship, be aware of what that group does. In an essay for 4-H, you would not want to discuss Victorian literature just as you wouldn't want to tell NASA about your prize-winning pig.
know something about their history
If the scholarship fund was created by an individual, learn about that person's life and accomplishments. Just remember, it is always a good idea to know as much as possible about who is offering the scholarship. It shows that you are responsible, intelligent, and motivated.
know about past recipients
If at all possible, contact students who have won the scholarship in the past. Each scholarship foundation will usually have a list of past winners. Compare yourself and your goals to their profile. Use past winners as an inspiration.
Find out how they presented themselves to the scholarship committee and what they did with the scholarship money (did they agree to pursue a certain course of study or go into a certain field after graduation?).
The advice of past winners will surely help you refine your approach in applying for the scholarship.
Know who is on the committee
Instead of merely completing a scholarship application and sending it in, contact the chairperson of the scholarship committee prior to beginning the process.
if possible, get an interview
Find out who sits on the committee and what their backgrounds are so that in filling out your application or attending an interview, you can appeal to their individual sensibilities.
Ask the chairperson about the best way to apply for the award. Not only does this put your name in the mind of the committee, but it shows that you are highly motivated.
prepare for the interview
If you are required to attend a scholarship interview, keep in mind the following tips:
- Dress conservatively. This means coat and tie for men, skirt and blouse or dress for women.
- Arrive early. You don't want to seem hurried, disoriented or disheveled when you enter an interview.
- Brush up on current events
- Read the newspaper the week of an interview. It might also be a good idea to read current and back issues of national news magazines like Time or Newsweek. Regardless of the type of scholarship, the committee will usually want to see that an applicant has a general knowledge of what is going on in the world around them.