1. Am I being completely honest?Probably the biggest mistake you could make when scholarship hunting is being dishonest about your credentials. This might involve embellishing one’s GPA or extracurricular achievements. You may think you can get away with bumping up some numbers on the scholarship application, but nearly all programs require official transcripts to verify grades.
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2. Can I follow through with this commitment?Some scholarships are awarded in exchange for volunteer hours. Before you apply for a scholarship, make sure you are familiar with its terms and conditions.
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3. Is my heart in it?On certain scholarship applications, you may be asked to write about a sensitive and very specific topic, such as cyberbullying, forest fires, a serious disease, etc. These are topics that are particularly compelling to applicants who have been personally affected by them. You might be able to write a stellar essay about cyberbullying because you are an exceptional writer, but how close to your heart is this topic? It may be a great scholarship opportunity, but one that is not relevant to you. Maybe there is someone else out there who is more passionate about this opportunity. This is where ethics comes into play; listen to your intuition when deciding if a scholarship is a good fit for you. The primary principle to bear in mind on scholarship applications is honesty. Be truthful about who you are and what you have accomplished; nothing positive can result from lying. Next, think about whether you can give the scholarship committee what it is asking for, whether that be tutoring hours, community service, etc. Finally, reflect on whether the essence of the scholarship is in line with your personal values and experiences. Best of luck!
Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.