Dos and don’ts about applying for scholarships

Sheridan Allen, Reporter/ Photographer

Students have known about scholarships since they were in elementary school. 

However, scholarships can also be confusing, from knowing what to apply for or who to ask for recommendations. Like most things in life, timing is everything. 

According to college and career counselor Julie Johnson, scholarships are mainly intended for students with high SAT and ACT scores and students who need financial support. Students with average scores have a harder time getting scholarships, but everyone should still apply. Here are dos and don’ts for applying for scholarships: 

Dos

Give yourself time: Scholarships require students to write an essay most of the time and you have to make sure you have time to write a strong essay and meet the word count. Also go back and edit the essay to fix mistakes and see if it flows. 

Ask teachers for help: Teachers can read and edit your essay, but only if you ask them in advance. Also, the college and career counselors will help you while you write. All you have to do is ask.   

Give teachers time: Much like how you have to give yourself time to write the essay, you also need to give teachers, co-workers or former bosses time to write a letter of recommendation for you.

Look for scholarships for a hobby: Just like how there are football and basketball scholarships, there are scholarships for art, writing, photography. If you look, you could find a scholarship for a hobby of yours such as music or dance. Sometimes to find the scholarships all you have to do is use Google.  

Don’ts 

Use pencils or colorful pens: Some scholarships are online and others you have to fill out on paper. Use black or blue pens to fill out the application. Think of it like school work, our teachers require us to use black and blue pens because it is more professional. Also, make sure to write nice and neat so others can read your handwriting. 

Use the same essay for multiple scholarships: Several scholarships want essays and some may have a similar prompt, you may try to use the same essay for different scholarships. However, the prompts most likely require a different word count and the prompt could be slightly different. You can use the same event but write a different essay. 

Turn down a scholarship because of the amount: There’s a scholarship wall in the guidance office. Johnson said she has seen kids put back scholarships because of the amount of money it gives. If it is $100, $500, or even $1,000, you should still apply for it. Five-hundred dollars is $500. “If I was to just give you $500, you’d take it,” Johnson said. 

“It’s optional”: Most of the time scholarships have lines on the application that say optional. It’s not. Don’t treat it as such. Johnson has said “go over and above.” If it says optional, fill it out. It could help get the scholarship. They put those questions there for a reason.