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Scholarship Application Checklist

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These are points that you want to keep in mind as you navigate the scholarship process. Pay close attention to the first one: please read the application. I realize that sounds painfully obvious, but you would be amazed at how many students do not thoroughly read a scholarship application. Some committees are incredibly nitpicky about tiny details that you would usually not think about; such as, you have to use a paper clip instead of a staple. Or it has to be a vertical staple and not a horizontal staple: I have actually read that in an application before. Thankfully, not every committee is that particular about little details but some of them are. This can be due to several reasons. One is simply for administrative purposes. With the sheer volume of paperwork they receive, some committees like the applications organized in a particular way. Other times, they are just checking to make sure that you are paying attention. You do not want to jeopardize your application over a staple. Read it three times and have someone else read it for you, just to ensure that your bases are covered.

  • Carefully and thoroughly read the application—including the small print. 

  • Make sure you qualify for the scholarship: double check the eligibility criteria. 

  • Know the deadline and mark it in your calendar. 

  • Find out if you need transcripts: originals or copies? 

  • Answer all questions. 

  • Request your reference letters as soon as possible and provide ample notice.
  • Have a minimum of one reference from outside of school. 

  • Have at least one person proofread your application. 

  • Keep a copy of the completed application and a note regarding any supporting documents that you submitted with it.
  • Is your application assembled appropriately? Make sure you have followed their guidelines. 

  • Mail the application in time for the deadline. 


This is an excerpt from the Unlock your Future Scholarship Workbook, a step-by-step guide for navigating the scholarship process. Brittany Palmer is the force behind Unlock your Future: The Key to Scholarships, an award-winning business that makes scholarships approachable. Using this program, Brittany and her brother collectively won 35 scholarships totaling over $125,000. With over a decade of experience and having navigated scholarships as a student, consultant and administrator, Brittany offers a unique perspective and strategic approach to an often-overwhelming process. From a dynamic seminar that outlines a comprehensive program to private consulting sessions to give you a jump start, Unlock your Future empowers students to pursue their academic goals while offering them the tools to help fund those dreams.

Modified on February 14, 2019

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