Whenever you submit an application — whether for a job, a scholarship, admission to a college or university, etc. — there are many similarities to the process. Here are some tips for completing scholarship applications specifically.

Apply Early, Apply Often

When you complete the UMSL scholarship application, we will use it to review your eligibily for multiple scholarships. Scholarships providers outside UMSL often have applications that only award one or two scholarships per application. This means you will most likely have to complete a separate application for each scholarship. Be sure to give yourself ample time to apply. The more time you can invest in the application, the better your chances are of receiving a scholarship.

Ideally, you should be searching for scholarships up to a year in advance. When you're searching for scholarships, if you've already missed the deadline for this year put a reminder on your calendar to look for the scholarship next year. This also goes for scholarships that you're not eligible for this year (maybe you have to be a junior but you're only a sophomore).

Complete the Application Entirely and Accurately

Follow all instructions given in the application and answer all questions completely. Review the application more than once to make sure all fields have been completed and that all answers are accurate. If you don't want to, there will be others that will. Scholarship providers are often looking at subtle clues to determine what kind of a student you are. The applications that frequiently make it to the final round of considerations and awarder are those that are completed, accurate, free of mistakes, and show a solid command of Standard English.

The Dreaded Essay

Don’t skip a scholarship application because it requires an essay. These applications have a statistically lower response rate which increases your chances of being awarded the scholarship. Furthermore, applying for scholarships early, you will give yourself time to write a clear, intelligent, well-thought essay.

Keep these things in mind when writing your essay:

  • Your essay should grab the reader’s attention from the first sentence. Think of a way to spark the reader's interest immediately.
  • Your essay should be grammatically and syntactically flawless. Give it to a teacher or tutor to look over for mistakes and misspellings before you submit it.
  • Be sure to answer the question that is asked. Keep your writing focused and on point but also take the opportunity to highlight your accomplishments as they pertain to the question.

If you are applying for multiple essay scholarships at the same time, read through the essay questions carefully. You may be able to group multiple specific essays into broader categories. If you can focus your essay questions into two or three broad categories, you can then take the time to write top-notch essays on those two or three broad categories. From there, you can tailor the categorical essay to the specific question. Make sure you tailor your essays to the question. Committees can quickly tell when you've written an essay for their application and when you're borrowing from another essay question.