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TOP TEN SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION TIPS from Wentcher Foundation Staff

 

1. Do you meet the eligibility requirements? Apply!  

If you meet the minimum eligibility requirements for a scholarship, please apply. Too often applicants can talk themselves out of applying if their scores and stats are just above the minimum – not realizing that those are the requirements in order to apply, not necessarily the criteria for receiving the award. While your grades may be one aspect of your candidacy, you will use the entirety of your scholarship application to highlight all the areas where you excel and align with the scholarship award criteria.   

 

For the Wentcher Scholarship, the minimum unweighted cumulative GPA of 3.0 is a threshold to apply, however, your academic achievement is only one criterion being considered. Other aspects of your application including your academic alignment, character, and financial need are also considered in your candidacy to become a Wentcher Scholar.  

 

2. Scan the scholarship application for required items that rely on others (ie: counselors, teachers, etc.) to complete. Request these items first.  

Whether it is a letter of recommendation or a copy of your transcript, give your school leaders and mentors time to support you. Do not pressure them with last-minute requests. Notify them of your needs as early as possible and the deadline for your application.  

 

The Wentcher Scholarship application requires one letter of recommendation and an official transcript. However, your transcript only needs to be complete through the end of your junior year of high school. Do not wait for the first semester grades from your senior year to be posted, request your transcript from your counselor now to meet the February 4th 2022 application deadline.  

 

3. Learn details about the scholarship provider and the award to add detail to your application.  

All scholarship providing organizations are different and understanding the values of the organization you’re applying to is very important. Learning about an organization’s mission and background should influence your responses to your essays. If you are invited to interview, understanding the history and values of the organization can make a difference in you being considered for an award.  

 

Speaking of details, we know we ask you for a lot of details about your college plans and college-going process in the Wentcher Scholarship application.  For example, we ask you to list other scholarships received and to upload acceptance and financial aid award letters. Should you be invited to interview this information allows us to have a much more informed discussion with you, knowing the school options you are considering and how a Wentcher award could provide support.  

 

4). Turn off auto-fill.  

Many web-based applications will save your previous responses and try to automate applications by filling in blank fields. Auto-fill can update information you do not intend to include in your scholarship application, such as the wrong phone number, email address, or even the name of another member of your household. Go to your web browser’s ‘Settings’ and turn off auto-fill while completing online college admissions or scholarship applications.  

 

5. Write and save your essays outside of the scholarship application.  

Use a Word or a Google drive document to be the main location to draft your essays. This allows you to use key editing tools (such as word count, spell check, grammar check) to support writing great essays. Plus, it makes it easy to share your work with others and you will also have a copy of your final submission for the future.  

 

6. Optional questions provide the space to shine! 

If a scholarship application provides optional questions, use these as extra opportunities to highlight your skills and experiences which haven’t been showcased. Think of these like ‘extra credit’ opportunities. 

 

7. Review and reread your responses.  

Have someone reread your application and essay. A fresh set of eyes will help you find typos, grammatical errors, and places where your responses would benefit from more clarity.  When reviewing your essay responses, ask yourself ‘Does my response fully and specifically answer the question being posed?’  

 

Thoughtful essays respond to the question being asked rather than offer a generic, one-size fits all answer. Some essay questions ask you to address similar themes or ideas which could allow you to use a similar response across several applications. However, when more specific prompts are presented it’s important that your response completely answers the question posed and is tailored for each individual scholarship application. 

 

8. Submit your application before the deadline date. 

Anything can happen on the day the application is due, and deadlines are final. Submitting your application even one day before its due, can keep you from an unfortunate scenario where your application isn’t submitted or considered. To maintain fairness, scholarship providers must hold firm to their deadlines and the due date remains final.  

 

Wentcher Tip: Each year we hear from many students after the deadline asking for an extension or an exception due to an unforeseen circumstance, and we cannot accommodate these requests. Don’t let it happen to you! Submit your application early. 

 

9. Stay organized with a Scholarship Tracker.  

There are many free tools, templates, and trackers to help you stay organized in your scholarship search. Here are a couple links to try. Tracker 1, Tracker 2.  

 

10. Stay motivated! 

Given your schoolwork, job, extracurricular activities, and enjoying your senior year of high school, there is limited time to apply for scholarships. Having a partner – such as a friend, classmate, or teacher – involved in the process can help you be accountable to your scholarship goals. Report out what you’re working on and when you’ve completed an application so they can support you and cheer you on. Also, when you complete an application, find a way to reward yourself to keep up your motivation.  

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