By: EVA MONHAUT
Applying for scholarships can often feel like a daunting task, and with the March 1 scholarship deadline fast approaching, students may wonder what they can do to increase their chances of receiving them.
On Feb. 3, Honors Program Director Neovi Karakatsanis, gave a talk and helped organize and gave tips for students applying for scholarships. The talk featured Teresa Berger, assistant director and scholarship coordinator; and Ginny Heidemann, director of the Academic Center for Excellence.
“Both speakers… have a wealth of information to share with students. Because both are employed on campus…they are always available to assist students with their questions. But in addition to this, students should seek advice from their academic advisors and mentors,” advised Karakatsanis.
Berger outlined how to automatically be considered for over 200 scholarships on campus through the Online Scholarship Application Deadline (OSA). She urged students when filling out the OSA to pick their most recent and relevant activities and do not be afraid to add up to 10.
“Students have the opportunity to show the scholarship committees their involvement and commitment to campus and the community through the Volunteer/Community Service, Leadership, and Group Activity experience sections,” said Berger.
More importantly, she encourages students to write a hearty personal essay and get as close to the 500-word max as possible.
“The essay is especially important because this is a chance to stand out. A great scholarship essay should ‘wow’ the reader and allow the committee to learn more about who the applicant is as a person. This is a chance for the student to further demonstrate that they are a well-rounded individual who deserves a scholarship,” elaborated Berger.
First, write your essay in Microsoft Word before submitting it in the OSA text box. The online software will keep track of your word count but lacks automatic spelling and grammar tools that Microsoft Word will help you catch. Secondly, remember you can edit your OSA at any time before the March deadline, so take your time and come back to it.
The OSA is just one step in the process of finding many applicable scholarships.
Teresa Berger advises looking through your recommended scholarships page, which tabs the scholarships most relevant to your studies, and academics standing. Some scholarships you are automatically pooled into if you meet the requirements, these will say no action required.
Most importantly, not all scholarships require essays, but some do: Read directions carefully. “Many students avoid applying for scholarships that require essays. Don’t do this. If an essay is applicable, apply for it. The more you do this, the better your essays will become,” said Neovi Karakatsanis.