winning application tips

Incomplete scholarship applications are not eligible for consideration. In the online system, you will not be able to submit your application until each section is 100% complete.  Follow these steps to ensure a complete submission.

Remember - be honest and be yourself.  Your scholarship application represents YOU!

Suggestions for Completion

Application - Give your application the time, attention, and preparation that it deserves.

  • Read the Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Read and follow the instructions carefully, completing all sections.
  • Use the preview feature to proof read your work.

Essay - It is your job to make your essay stand out from the rest.

  • Proofread your work. Ask a parent, friend, or teacher to proofread your completed application.
  • If you are asked, do not be afraid to highlight your strengths and to talk about yourself.
  • See additional tips in the following section: Writing the Scholarship Essay.

Recommendations - Make sure the people you ask to complete recommendation forms know you well. Send your recommendation requests early so your contacts have ample time to follow through.

Deadlines - You are responsible for making sure that ALL parts of the application are complete.

  • Financial aid offices and scholarship personnel adhere to them.
  • If letters of recommendation or transcripts are required, give the people who will provide these documents generous lead-time.


  • Keep a written record of scholarships for which you have applied. Click the Preview tab at the top of your application to print your complete submission.
  • Make a note of deadlines, requirements, and responses.

Writing the Scholarship Essay

We strongly recommend that you work on your essays in a separate document where you can easily review and proofread your work. Cut and paste your essays into the online system once you are satisfied that they are complete and represent you well.

Like many students, you may feel that the personal essay is the hardest part of your application to complete.  Remember - it is also the part of the application where you can stand out from the rest of the crowd.

The foundation's Scholarship Review Committee will have many essays to review. Write an essay that grabs their attention during the review process.  This is your job!

Key elements of a strong essay:

  • Be personal and specific.
  • Include details about yourself so the reader can get to know who you are and what you stand for.
  • Be truthful and honest.

Tips to writing a strong essay:

  • Think before you write. Brainstorm to generate some good ideas and then create an outline to follow when writing the first draft essay.  Expect to edit your draft!  If you are required to address specific questions, express your answers clearly.
  • Be original. Be creative in your answers.  Do not be afraid to highlight your strengths and to talk about yourself.
  • Don’t tell us, show us. Use concrete examples to individualize your essay and demonstrate the point you want to make. Avoid vague references or cliches. Instead, use descriptive words to make a strong impression.
  • Know your audience. Personal essays are not “one size fits all.” Write your essay to fit the requirements of that scholarship fund. Hint: Read about the people who established the scholarship fund by browsing scholarship funds and criteria on the foundation’s online application portal.
  • Proofread. Check the spelling and grammar. Ask a parent, friend, teacher, or counselor to proofread your completed application and essay.
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