5 Easy Steps to Applying for College Scholarships & Grants
When applying for any type of financial aid, you need to be on your best game. Approach every step with the same amount of care to help set you apart from other applicants. From beginning the application to the final submission, be ready to work hard. Integrated College Planning offers an easy, 5-step guide to help you apply for grants and aid you in your mission to getting the financial support you need to continue your education past high school.
Step 1: Early Bird Gets the Grant
Never put yourself in the position where you have hours before you need to submit your application for a grant. Not only will last-minute submissions have a lesser chance of standing out against earlier applicants, but it can drive you into a corner where you simply don’t have the time to complete the process. Don’t allow yourself to fall behind in the application and make sure you’re fully prepared well before the due date.
Gather the grants you’re interested in applying for at least three weeks to a month beforehand so you can fully comprehend what information you will need and how much time you’ll need to gather it. If you want to benefit from the advantages of the Wisconsin college scholarships and grants, make sure you don’t run out of time.
Step 2: Know Who You’re Writing For
Scholarship and grant applications often ask you to write an essay. When you’re doing this, keep in mind who your audience is. You’re not writing for your friends, and you’re not writing for your teacher or professor. Grant application reviewers only use the information contained in the application for the assessment. Make sure you’ve clearly written everything and never assume reviewers will be familiar with any service areas, organizations, or healthcare needs in your community you might mention.
Remember to keep the criteria and requirements of the grant in mind and highlight why you’re their perfect candidate. Don’t distract yourself or the reviewers from the reason you’re applying in the first place if you want to be successful.
Step 3: It’s All about Technique
When it comes down to it, you’re not writing a novel. When you’re writing, make sure to stay clear and brief. Keep the saying “less is more” in mind to help you stay on track of minimizing your wording. Be straightforward and informative about yourself; don’t draw any exaggerations or leave anything out. Your thought process should be easy to understand. Your technique should be simple.
Never exceed any restrictions for the grant application process and be sure to use the correct file types so your work isn’t lost or discarded when it arrives to the reviewers. If you realize after the due date you sent it as a Word document when it was supposed to be a PDF, you won’t receive a do over.
For more information regarding how applications for the grant should be submitted, contact Integrated College Planning today.
Step 4: Reviewing Your Work
Just as important as every step before it, always make sure to review your own work before the official reviewers get their hands on it. This is so important we’ll say it again: Check over all of your work. Is it easy to read? Does it communicate your thought process precisely in an easy-to-understand way? Is all of your technical information correct? How is your grammar? Are there any last minute additions or edits you want to make?
Have a parent, sibling, or teacher look it over, too. Sometimes a second pair of eyes can catch something you’ve overlooked. If you’re confident with your application, it’s time to move on to the final step. Just like a College Admission Essay, you want to make sure your application comprehensively reflects who you are and why you qualify for the scholarship or grant. If you’ve looked it over, you’ve had a friend or family member edit your work, and you feel confident with everything you’ve gathered, it’s time to move on to the final step.
Step 5: All or Nothing
The last and most fulfilling step in our scholarship and grant application process is: submission. Reviewers will NOT take any additional information or materials after you’ve sent in your first application. After your application has been received, it’s final. No add-ons or takeaways. Before you send in your application, make sure you have everything you need, including any references, charts, etc. you’d like to include in your application.
This is another reason you won’t want to wait until the last minute to begin working on a scholarship application. You may end up having everything you need, but if you’re up until 12am working on this application, you may forget to include all of the materials you’ll need to be successful. In the end, just remember to communicate clearly and stay focused on why you qualify for the grant specifically. It will be hard work, but it has the potential to help make your journey with higher education so much easier.