SUGGESTIONS, TIPS, AND GUIDELINES
The following suggestions will help you more efficiently and effectively apply for scholarships:
- Scholarship information is available through the links on our web site and many other Internet sources.
- Use Search Engines: look under key words such as: Scholarships, Funding, Minorities, etc. There are many scholarship opportunities available, never limit yourself to applying for just one. Research as many funding sources as you can, and learn which ones you may qualify for, then apply promptly each new school year.
- Many scholarships have similar criteria for their awards. By maintaining a high Grade Point Average, staying as active as possible in your community and extracurricular activities, evaluating and cataloging your personal/professional strengths, and setting future goals for your education and career, you will be ready with the necessary information and experience to apply for need and/or merit based funding.
- Each Scholarship Fund has its own specific guidelines. Before applying for a scholarship, be certain that you meet, or will meet, all the necessary qualifications such as: academic standing, specified financial situation, and personal or professional background.
- Once you are certain that you meet the qualifications to apply be careful in your application process clearly expressing and explaining all your qualifying factors.
- Ask for assistance! Many terms and words used in higher education and financial aid are unfamiliar and can be confusing. It is always a good idea to ask for the assistance of a school advisor, counselor, or professors, when applying for a scholarship.
- Start to build a network of professionals and educators who are willing to advise you, write recommendations, proofread your applications and essays, and guide you through the application process.
THE COMPETITIVE PROCESS
- Remember that there are many other students applying for the same scholarships. This means it is a process, and alertness, caution, and care must be taken when applying to give yourself the best possible advantage.
- If you were not selected in past years, re-evaluate your qualifications and application package. Be certain that you make academic progress in the next term, earn the highest GPA possible, and make any necessary adjustments in your application process, then reapply the next year.
- Do not assume that because you have received a scholarship previously, that you will automatically receive another award. Some students make the error of assuming that they will not have to be as careful filling out their application package when applying the second or even third time around.
- Be aware that there are new students competing for scholarships. You must present a high quality package each year to be awarded another scholarship.
The online endowed scholarship application will be on MyPark in the My Student Financial Tools Section in the previous Fall. This form can only be done electronically. You will need to be admitted before completing this application. It has a deadline of February 1 but you will want to have your part done by the end of December to give your recommenders a month to do their part. Applicants should write their 300 to 500 word autobiography/personal statement (be sure to also let us know about your future plans) in a word document. It can be pasted into the application. You will also need the e-mail addresses of the two people you want to write recommendations.
The only way for the recommendations to become a part of your application is for the recommenders to respond to the e-mail/link requests generated from the electronic application. Separate recommendations will not be accepted (paper or e-mail). If you have previously attended Park University then at least one of the recommenders must be a Park University professor. The other recommender can be a professor/teacher, employer/supervisor, coach or counselor. If you are a transfer student the first recommender must be a professor from your previous school. If you are a first time freshman then your first recommender must be a high school teacher.
- Have at least one other person review your application package, and supporting documents, including your Personal Statement.
- Proofread your application. Pay particular attention to any spaces you have left blank; blank spaces can deem your application incomplete and ineligible! If the answer is zero, write in “0” rather than leaving a blank spot.
- Your application and your transcript represents the picture of you the selection committee has. Always type or neatly print information in black ink. Make sure your application appears sharp and professional.
- Do not presume to know which questions are applicable to you. We may deem applications incomplete and ineligible when students have “second guessed” the application and decided for themselves which questions apply to their situation. If you write N/A as an answer you risk eliminating yourself from the selection process. Simply answer all questions to the best of your knowledge. Also double check, did you answer every question exactly as it was asked?
- Only answer what is asked, volunteering unneeded information could actually effect your evaluation negatively!
- Re-read your work and ask: “would I give an award to this person, if all I knew about the person was in this envelope?
PERSONAL STATEMENTS AND LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Your Personal Statement
- Be aware that your Personal Statement is viewed as the equivalent to a face-to-face interview. Part of your proofreading should include attention to the tone of your statement. Do you sound like a student that the donor organizations would be proud to call upon to represent them?
- Take pride in your life and work The way you phrase your statement can have a positive influence on the selection committee members. Spell Check is not enough, re-read your statement.
- Make absolutely certain that all requested topics are covered in your personal statement, completely and in detail. Use specific examples whenever possible.
- An “outline format” can be helpful. Address each point one by one, anything you do to make your materials easier to read and understand will aid selection committee members in evaluating your package.
When Reference Letters Are Required
- Give the recommender that you hope to use as a reference advance notice whenever possible, so that he or she can do a great job for you.
- If you are allowed to see the letter, review it. Did the writer cover all the points asked for in the application instructions? Is it complimentary and positive? If you are not satisfied with the letter, you may try to find another qualified person, provided that you have left yourself enough time to do so. Students are not allowed to view the recommendations for the Park University Online Endowed Scholarship Application.
- Be sure to supply the person writing your letter all the information they will need to write an accurate letter. Provide him or her with the instructions and topics from the application form.
- A word of caution regarding reference letters: make certain that the letter is written specifically for and about you since “canned” or template letters can be easily detected.
- For outside scholarships, original letterhead increases your chances of being given full credit. Chances are the person you are asking is very busy, be clear and efficient when making your request.
- Show your appreciation and professionalism by writing a note or card of thanks for the time taken to write your letter.