4 Things Scholarship Judges Look for in Applications
Impress the judges with these expert tips.
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
April 18, 2017
What makes a scholarship application unique? Which qualities seem the most impressive? How can you turn “just another scholarship application” into the winning scholarship application?
These are questions every student asks as they prep yet another scholarship application to send off to scholarship judges. While every scholarship program has different requirements and judges, there are still guaranteed ways to get your scholarship application noticed by the committee.
1. Meets Requirements
The fastest way to get your scholarship application rejected from the pile is to apply for a scholarship for which you do not qualify. Not to mention, it’s a huge waste of your time. That is why it is paramount to your scholarship search to only apply for scholarships that fit within your academic, extracurricular and philanthropic abilities and achievements.
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2. Organized Appearance
Scholarship judges are also looking for applications that are easy-to-read, free of typos and are not missing any components. Most scholarship applications these days are hosted online, but for those that require a handwritten application or essay, make sure you use your best penmanship. It’s not a bad idea to practice writing your essay beforehand and then copying it perfectly to the application later.
3. Personal Touch
What makes a scholarship application stand out most to judges is personality – or a unique voice. They want to hear about what makes your school experience special or what can separate you from other applicants. Do you have a funny story to tell? Has an experience in your life changed you? Have you created or invented something?
Furthermore, judges want to read scholarship essays that are free of any clichés or overused phrases. Try to be as original as possible. And the following should go without saying, but you’d be surprised: don’t let Mom or Dad write your essay.
4. Honesty and Transparency
Finally, scholarship judges just want to read about the truth. Don’t embellish or present yourself in a completely different light just because you think it will garnish attention. The committee wants to see you – the real you. After all, winning a scholarship isn’t just receiving money to pay for college; it’s representing that particular brand, organization or special interest. You don’t just become a scholarship winner; you become part of their family – their legacy.
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