Start early! There’s a lot you can do in advance.
Find YOUR scholarship(s)
- Review the fine print on a scholarship’s eligibility and criteria for selection. Devour the entire website for extra clues on what the funding organization is looking for.
- Take a look at profiles of the last year’s recipients. Could you build that kind of case for yourself?
- Look for any unusual criteria that apply to you. (For example, most scholarships assume academic excellence, leadership, good character, etc. But if you run into an unusual criterion like financial need, or “will to succeed,” or “commitment to public service”—something unusual, then pay close attention!)
- If possible, talk to someone who has been awarded this scholarship.
- Finalize a list of the right scholarships, with the right set of criteria, for you—the ones that match your interests, expertise, and eligibility.
- Don’t waste your time on scholarships for which you are only marginally qualified.
Schedule your applications
- Develop a timeline of steps and deadlines for these most promising scholarships/fellowships.
- Beware multiple deadlines (internal NAU deadline if NAU must officially nominate you as well as the organization’s final deadline).
- Make a plan: determine how many applications you can submit in the available time period, and schedule your academics/work/application tasks accordingly in one master calendar.
- Allow significant work time for each application and ask for reference letters early.
Prepare common application bits and pieces
- Gather your information.
- Draft common application components, such as the personal statement, project proposal, extensive resume, etc. Modify for each organization.
- Should one organization not give you much direction for what you should address in an essay or section, compare directions given by similar funding organizations.
Information from other sources
- See the National Scholarship Coordinator for possible advice on the specific scholarship.
- Many scholarship winners are responsive to an email asking for information and suggestions.
- Ask academic or professional mentors for feedback on your draft application. Be sure to provide info on the scholarship mission and criteria, as well as a detailed resume.