When a scholarship judge has hundreds, and possibly thousands, of scholarship applications to read through, it is much easier to weed out the bad ones, than to mull over the good ones. The judges need to start somewhere and tossing applications into the “reject” pile is the fastest way to narrow down the possible winners. Keeping your scholarship application out of the “reject” pile is the first, and simplest, way to increase your chances of winning the scholarship money. What it all boils down to is very easy, yet a large percentage of applicants do not take the time or effort that is needed to keep their applications out of that horrible “reject” pile.
It sounds so simple. The scholarship application in front of you asks for your name, address, phone number, community service involvement, and grade point average. One student, we’ll call him “Joe”, quickly fills out the first half of the application. “Joe” becomes “Jumping Joey”, because he is the best high jumper on the track team and that’s what everyone calls him. After all, only his mother calls him “Joseph”. He leaves the spot for “middle name” blank, because he assumes the scholarship judges don’t care about middle names. Next comes address, so he types out “12376 4th st, grand rapids, mi. He makes a mistake while typing out his zip code, but doesn’t notice it at the time. His phone number does not include the area code. The judges can look it up if they chose him to be the winner, right? WRONG.
Now it’s time for what Joe considers the “meat” of the application, the time for him to brag about his community service hours and grades. He takes some time to try and remember how many hours he worked at the church rummage sale and when his memory seems fuzzy, Joe just pulls a number out of the air and fills in the blank beside “community service hours”. His mom also helped, so he puts down her name as the person in charge of the program. They probably won’t call her anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. Getting excited that he’s almost done with the application, Joe thinks about his G.P.A. His grades averaged out to 3.44 on his latest transcript, so that more than likely makes him eligible to apply for the scholarship, which specifically stated that it was for students with a G.P.A. of 3.5 and above. Keeping that in mind, he types in “3.5” for his grades and does not think about the copy of the transcript that he will need to include in the scholarship application packet.
These examples may seem extreme, but in my extensive research of what it takes to win college scholarships, it's the little details that make the difference between a student’s scholarship applications being tossed into the “reject” pile or carefully placed into the “possible winners” pile. It DOES pay to very carefully fill out each scholarship application, taking extra time to use correct grammar and punctuation, not leaving ANY blank spaces, and only applying for the scholarship if you truly meet ALL the stated requirements.
I have gone into much further detail about how to correctly fill out a scholarship application in my guide, How To Win College Scholarships. Don’t let your scholarship applications get rejected because of not following directions! It’s that simple.