Avoid Making These Top 10 Mistakes on Scholarship Form

Obtaining a scholarship or grant can play a major factor in your college career. Receiving a scholarship can eliminate stress, the need to take on a part-time job and the need to obtain a student loan. You can increase your chances for success by avoiding the common mistakes students make when applying for scholarships.

  1. Missing Deadlines – SchoolSoup.com considers this the most costly mistake and applicant can make. The number of applicants for each award usually very large. The granting organization simply has too many applicants to consider those that don’t make the deadlines. When you receive the application package, immediately note all of the deadlines and allow ample time to complete the application. Allow ample time for delivery and use one of the services that provide guaranteed delivery, like Priority Mail or FedEx.

  2. Don’t Rush – When people hurry, people make mistakes. Complete each section of the application thoroughly and thoughtfully. Many of the common errors applicants make are due to not reading the question or instructions carefully.  Allow plenty of time to complete the application.  Just because you aced a term paper that you started at 3 A.M once, doesn’t mean that you do your best work under pressure.

  3. Don’t Write a Dull Essay – The essay is one of the most important parts of the application.  The essay gives the committee the change to get to know you. An essay that pops off the page is one that is more likely to be remembered by the committee.  US News in their Scholarship Coach Blog gives a great example.

Instead of beginning an essay with: “My father inspires me because he puts his life on the line serving as a Chicago police officer,” consider an opening like this: “Every day at 5 a.m. sharp, Dad rolls quietly out of bed, polishes his badge until it shines, carefully buckles on his gun belt, and signs on as a police officer for the city of Chicago. My mother starts her day saying a prayer that Dad will come home safely.”

  1. Proofread Your Essay – Don’t rely on spell-check. Read your essay out loud and review it carefully. Have friends, parents and instructors check it also.

  2. Look for Scholarships that address your talents – Scholarships aren’t only for the academically or athletically gifted. Scholarships is award for the arts, public service and memberships. A little research into your area of expertise could pay off.

  3. Don’t Send the Same Application to Different Groups – Each scholarship looks for particular characteristics. Make sure that yours is tailored to the awarding organization.

  4. Answer the Essay Question – We’ve all seen YouTube videos where a competitor gave an eloquent answer but never answer the question. No matter how well written you essay is, if it fails to answer the question, you won’t get the award.

  5. Research the group giving the award – A little internet research can go a long way in helping you get noticed by the award committee. Check their website to find out their goals and vision. Tailor your essay to appeal to their mission.

  6. Complete every part of the application – An incomplete application will simply be ignored. Make a check list and review it prior to mailing your package to ensure every requirement has been met.

  7. Don’t choose a vanilla essay topic. You want your essay to stand out and capture the committee’s attention.  US News’ Scholarship Coach Blog has an excellent suggestion for choosing a topic: Do a Google search for the top scholarship essay questions and avoid all of them.

Your ultimate scholarship guide here graduatingfromdebt.com


  1. I never applied for scholarships when i was a college student. I guess because I lack the confindence to do it. Great tips especially the reference to schoolsoup.

  2. Man, I was always missing the deadline! Just kidding. I would suggest that you mark it on your calendar and get that shit done!


  1. […] You can get the loan, and in case you are not eligible as an independent student, your parents, should fill out a FAFSA, if possible by Feb. 15. More info on Stafford loan visit: http://www.graduatingfromdebt.com/2013/09/09/avoid-making-top-10-mistakes-scholarship-form/ […]

Speak Your Mind