The Follow-Up Follow-Up

In my last post, The Scholarship Follow-Up File, I strongly encouraged you to follow up with the organization about a week after you send in your scholarship application. Which communication medium should you use to inquire about the safe delivery of your scholarship application: telephone or e-mail? As quick and easy as it is to hit the “Contact Us” button on the organization’s website, my preference is definitely for using the phone. Actually speaking to someone is more personal, more memorable, and provides more opportunity to establish a rapport with a person on the scholarship team. You’ve attached a voice and a personality to your name, which is just one small step away from a face-to-face conversation. A telephone exchange also lends itself to more elaborate communication than a short e-mail reply reading: “Yes, (insert your name here), we have received your application.” If you are lucky, the person whom you are speaking with may take a moment to look over your application and ask a couple of questions. Yes!!! You just scored yourself a mini-interview!

While the scholarship committee is (hopefully) learning a little bit about you, you also have the opportunity to find out more about them. You definitely want to write down and remember the name of the person you spoke with, for future friendliness, but also make sure to ask about any timelines that have been established for selecting the scholarship winner(s). Here is an example of a nice, polite follow-up telephone conversation with a scholarship committee member:

“Hello, this is Lisa with (organization name).”

“Hi, Lisa, my name is Felecia Hatcher. I am one of the high school students hoping to win your (name) scholarship. I’m placing this follow-up call to check and make sure that my application has made it into the hands of the correct people. Do you know who I should be speaking to about the status of my application?”

“I can help you with that. Excuse me for one moment while I check our file. You said your name is Felecia Hatcher, correct?”

“Yes, thank you.”

(Wait on hold. Listen to music)

“Hello again, Felecia. Yes, I have your application right here in my hand, so it made it to the right place.”

“Great! Thank you so much for checking.”

“You’re welcome. Oh, I see here that you’ve been a member of the 4-H club for several years! I was a 4-Her, too! I rode and trained horses as a kid back home in Texas. What do you do in your 4-H club?”

“I raise show rabbits in our backyard. It’s one of the few types of animal husbandry that I could pull off while growing up in the suburbs.”

“You must really love your rabbits. I’m reading here on your application about how many prize ribbons they’ve won!”

“Yes, my rabbits are definitely my babies, but, really, what I like best about 4-H is all of the volunteer work that our club does in the community.”

“I agree. In Texas, we used to gather up our gentlest horses and organize a fun rodeo every summer for the disabled kids at a nearby camp. It was the highlight of the year for everybody.”

 “I bet. That sounds great! (pause) Well, thanks so much for checking on my application, Lisa. Do mind if I ask one more question?”

 “Of course not, go right ahead.”

 “When does your scholarship committee expect to make a decision about who they will award?”

“The other judges and I need to have the ten best applicants selected by March 18th. We’ll schedule first-round interviews beginning the following Monday.”

“Thanks for the information; maybe I’ll even be one of those lucky finalists! Thanks again, Lisa. It was very nice chatting with  you, and I hope we get a chance to talk again someday.”

 “I’d enjoy that, Felecia. Have a good day.”

 (P.S. I’ve never really raised bunny rabbits. This was a fictional example.)

When you’ve finished your follow-up call, record all the information that you learned in your SEP binder. You need to know which days to be waiting nervously beside the phone.

Photo by Vinicius Amano on Unsplash

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