Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring Cleaning Series: How to Organize the Scholarship Application Process

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As with employment applications, the scholarship search and application process can be just as overwhelming and easily get out of hand.  But you can apply the same organization system to avoid applying to the same scholarship multiple times or missing deadline.  Try implementing the following tips.
Be prepared.  There are standard materials that most scholarship applications require and you must make sure they are ready to ship out.  Have résumés, cover letters, recommendation letters, personal statements, and references updated, reviewed, and critiqued.  Of course you may need to adjust these to pertain to the scholarship, but at least the bulk of the work will be completed.
Establish a schedule.  Block off time to tackle different tasks.  Schedule time to search for scholarships, focusing on a search engine or institutional scholarships.  Schedule another time for filling out application, spelling out which applications you plan to attack. 
Create your tracking table.  Keep a calendar system such as Google calendar to track what needs to be done across multiple devices as well as an Excel spreadsheet.  Organize the opportunities you find by the date of the deadline, listing the name of the scholarship, qualifications, application requirements, additional notes, and the date in which you applied.  Color coding what steps you have completed with each scholarship will also be helpful.
Apply technology.  The internet is helpful in finding scholarships, but you should also use the internet to help limit your search to those scholarships you actually qualify for so you aren’t wasting your time.  Here are 5 ways to aid your scholarship hunt using social media and the internet.
Bonus.  My friend Monica Matthews at How to Win Scholarships has a great ebook with many more organizational tips that helped to win her son over $100,000 in scholarship aid.

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Jenny L. Maxey

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