So, you’ve finally submitted your application for a college scholarship, and now you’re done, right? You can delete all those files from your computer, throw away all that paperwork and go back to binging on Netflix? Wait! You should always save complete copies of every scholarship application that you submit. You will need these records for various follow-up activities.
The easiest way to keep track of your finished applications is to get yourself a portable file cabinet that will accommodate hanging folders. These containers are affordable, easy to obtain, available in a variety of exciting colors, and made of durable plastic. Yes, I realize that plastic is not an entirely indestructible substance, but unlike your old Barbie dolls or G.I. Joe action figures, your file cabinet will not fit in a microwave oven. If you are VERY serious about protecting your completed scholarship applications, feel free to invest in a fireproof safe.
Organizing your finished applications is as simple as labeling the top of each folder with the name of the scholarship and sticking all the matching paperwork inside. You can place these folders with the first scholarship you applied to at the front of the cabinet, or in alphabetical order for easy reference. Or you can file them in order of how many paper cuts you suffered while filling each one out. I don’t care. The point is that you are keeping all the old applications safely in one place!
Your next step to complete after you’ve sent away each application is a simple check mark on your Scholarship Deadline Sheet to indicate that you’ve finished the job (as if you could forget after all that hard work…but, trust me, checking that box will give you as great a feeling of satisfaction as finally convincing your dad to stop for a bathroom break during a long road trip with a 7-11 Big Gulp). Remember to record the date of the mailing on your spreadsheet.
Wait for about a week…
Now it’s time to check in with the scholarship organization to ask if they have received your application. The purpose of this contact is three-fold. Of course, you do honestly want to reassure yourself that your application arrived safely; it wasn’t lost in the mail or delivered to the wrong department. The next benefit is that, after digging your application out of the middle of the pile, the committee member is almost guaranteed to glance through the pages as she checks to make sure that the packet really is yours. Afterward, she will place it back on the top of the stack, where the application may receive even further exposure. Voila! You have made your entry just a little more memorable!
Feeling nervous about how to reach out to the scholarship organization? Check back soon for more follow-up tips, complete with a sample conversation script to help you improve (and not ruin!) your chances of impressing the judges.