Here are some "do’s and don’ts": the basics of the application process.
- Do what is asked of you exactly.
- Follow up to make sure materials are not just
requested but received.
- If there is an item you can’t supply, be sure
to include a separate explanatory statement.
- If your application is not absolutely complete you won’t
make it past the first gatekeeper, and the selection committee will never see
- Getting something, anything, on the computer
can be the hardest part.
- Stream thoughts from your brain onto the page
without judging or filtering.
Be absolutely honest
- Don’t overstate accomplishments, claim credit
for what should be shared, etc.
- Don’t propose a study and career plan only to
conform to this scholarship. Scholarship
readers are good at spotting this!
It’s okay to toot your own horn
(In fact, it’s mandatory!)
- What may feel like “bragging” is a part of
building your case. Where it fits, mention awards, accomplishments, involvement,
or even worthy compliments and what is behind them—these facts are evidence that you are the right kind of person with the right kind of goals to meet the scholarship's criteria. You may wish to add what
these accomplishments have meant to you and how they have helped shape your plans and goals.
- Write to the organization's criteria for selection. Think
strategically as you choose your words, anecdotes, and examples.
- Whatever the criteria for selection, your
application as a whole should demonstrate that you have ALL of these
- Use every essay to demonstrate one or more
facets of how you meet the criteria.
- Make your answers work for you on all
Don’t quit halfway!
If you have read
everything you can get your hands on about this scholarship, and you truly
believe you are the kind of person the organization wants to fund, then:
- Don’t get busy and decide the pressures of
the moment are more important than your future, and
- Don’t second-guess the selection committee
and decide for them that you’ll never get it.
- Seeking feedback from one or more
knowledgeable people in your discipline before submitting your application is
not only allowed, but encouraged by most funding organizations. Prepare your application early to have plenty
of time to rewrite in response to feedback.
- Also ask friends, parents, or others you respect to weigh in on the application.
- Don't hesitate to contact the Writing Center to help you with punctuation, grammar, style, and/or organization if needed.
scholarship coordinator is available for additional advice,
especially on national or international
scholarships/fellowships. If you plan to
apply for a scholarship requiring NAU nomination, be sure to notify and work
with the scholarship coordinator or other designated NAU representative.
Play it safe
- Back up your files frequently.
- Keep a copy of your final application.
- Don't push the deadline. Allow time for the website to be overcrowded,
FedEx to run late due to a hurricane, or the scholarship coordinator to request last-minute