A.K.A. Ten Tips for Submitting Amazing Application Packets, Part One!
1. Make Multiple “Practice” Copies.
Before you begin excitedly scribbling all over your essay application, your first step is to make multiple photocopies of the forms. If you “screw one up,” it MIGHT be a simple matter of printing out a new application from the organization’s website, otherwise your mistake might turn into a total nightmare! What if you had to write to the sponsors to request the application? Will you look like a responsible and reliable person if you send out a second letter which reads like the following?
Please send me a fresh application for your
scholarship. I regret that when I began filling
out the forms, my mind was on this anime
cartoon that I really like to watch, and so,
without really thinking, I answered all of your
questions with Japanese characters. I apologize
for any inconvenience my mistake has caused.
P.S. Since it is now only three days before
your deadline, I will also need an extension
on the time allowed to submit my application.
It is smart to have plenty of extra copies, so you are able to hand in the neatest, most perfect application form possible—no crossed off words and no White-Out smears!
2. Always Follow Directions!
Before you make a single mark on your application, carefully read over any and all instructions supplied for completing your packet. There may not be many speci c guidelines to follow, but the list of rules and regulations could also be extensive. It all depends on the organization and its expectations.
The one thing ALL scholarship committees will expect is for their applicants to possess three basic qualities:
a. An ability to read directions
b. An ability to pay attention
c. An ability to obey instructions
Many applications are thrown directly into the trash without a moment’s hesitation because they are completed incorrectly. This indicates to the committee that the person applying cannot read, which is a hindrance to a successful college education; doesn’t pay attention to detail, which also will affect college performance; or simply does not care about the rules and will probably be expelled from college before the first semester is over.
Should you throw in anything extra to impress the judges just a little bit more? No. If you look around a bit, you’ll find former scholarship winners sharing “secrets” about how they won their money by jazzing up their applications with photocopies of their awards, extra essays, or a really adorable picture of their cat.Throwing in extra items that weren’t requested could be considered innovative and enterprising by certain committees, but do you really want to take that risk? If you include unsolicited documents with your application the judges MIGHT say: “What’s with this mess of pages? We never asked for five pounds worth of additional information! This kid obviously can’t follow directions, so toss that application straight onto the reject pile.”
But if you follow directions and include only what was requested the judges will NEVER say: “Hmm, this applicant only submitted the things that we asked her to provide. Not very creative, is she? We don’t want to give this scholarship to a person who does as she’s told. Forget that!”
3. Looks Are Everything!
You may be the best applicant of the bunch, but the judges won’t know what an outstanding person you are if the information on your application is illegible. It’s always best to type your application, but if you must print on the page, do so neatly and in BLACK INK.
If the application is made available to be completed online, print a copy first and write out all your answers on it before you fill out the actual form you will send. This may seem time consuming and unnecessary, but it will give you a chance to reflect more carefully on your answers and reduce the risk of making an error on an application you can’t get back to correct.
This should go without saying, but if any kind of tragedy befalls one of your pages, for example, a wrinkle, spaghetti sauce, baby slobber, or whatever, it’s time to re-write the information onto one of your extra photocopies. Don‘t wipe your paper with your sleeve and hope the judges won’t notice!
4. Complete the Entire Application.
Do not leave any lines blank! If a question does not apply to you, note that on the application, using a full, explanatory sentence, not just “N/A.” The best way to have your application rejected right out of the gate is to submit one that is incomplete. Answer everything you are asked and be sure to provide all additional supporting materials requested, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, etc.
If there are specific eligibility requirements for the scholarship, take extra care to include documentation and thoroughly answer any question that will prove you are qualified to apply.
5. Present a Neat and Organized Packet.
Using staples with application papers is sometimes frowned upon, so, unless instructed otherwise, your best option is to simply paper-clip your materials together before inserting them into your envelope. Avoid confusion by placing the pages in exactly the same order as they were requested.
It is very important that you put your name, Social Security number, and phone number on all pages of the application. Even if your packet is bound together, the pieces can still get detached and/or lost.You don‘t want some other lucky applicant accidentally getting the credit for YOUR awesome achievements!
Keep your pages pretty and crease-free by using a large envelope that does not require you to fold your application materials.
Check back soon for five MORE tips on ensuring how to make your application packets extra amazing.