Scholarship Application Tips

So you've found a scholarship that you'd like to apply for - now what?

Applying for a scholarship is sort of like applying for a job. Your application must address the selection criteria and stand out from the other applications.

Your task is to convince the selection panel that you're a worthy recipient for a scholarship. Easy really!

  1. Have a go - most scholarships receive relatively few applications.
  2. Read the application form, selection criteria and regulations (where available) of the scholarship very carefully. This will help you understand what the selection panel will be looking for when they decide who gets a scholarship.
  3. Write neatly, spell correctly and complete all required information on the application form.
  4. Don’t miss out any vital information in your application. On the other hand, don’t include a lot of unhelpful fluff. Ask yourself; does this help me meet the criteria?
  5. Include a brief covering letter even if this is not specifically asked for. Introduce yourself and explain why you believe you meet the criteria for the scholarship.
  6. Attach all the documentation the application form asks you to provide. If for some reason you can’t supply a certain document, explain why.
  7. If the scholarship is awarded on academic merit, make sure you attach photocopies of any academic records (e.g. evidence of courses completed, school reports, NZQA Record of Achievement etc).
  8. Don't include original documents and don't place applications in a clear file as they may need to be photocopied for the selection panel. Instead, simply staple your documents together, attach a covering letter and place in an envelope. Remember to send it in before the due date.
  9. If the scholarship includes criteria other than academic merit (such as leadership potential, community involvement, sporting achievements etc), make sure you include evidence that supports your achievements in these areas. References from people with recognised leadership in these areas (coaches, tutors etc) are very useful. Be selective; if you send in too much, not enough attention will be paid to the information that's really important, however make sure you have included enough to give the selection panel a good insight into your activities.
  10. The best applications take time to write and organise. Think about what you write, proof read well, and take the time to include relevant information. It will be well worth it!

This guide was written with the kind assistance of the Scholarships Office, University of Waikato.