1. Applications must be neat. They should be checked for grammar and spelling. NO abbreviations should be used; full names of awards, clubs, certificates must be used. This is to ensure the scholarship sponsors and selection committees understand exactly what it is you are presenting.
2. Always work on a photocopied form first and then complete the original copy.
3. Have a counselor, English teacher, and/or parent proofread the rough draft. This will help eliminate mistakes and make your application more polished.
4. Read all the instructions carefully. Record the deadline.
5. Have a system for keeping your information and various application forms organized. Some methods students have used that seem to have worked include the use of files. Information pertaining to each application form can be filed in a file folder. The name of the specific scholarship, and its deadline, can be written on the front cover of the file. They can be organized by the deadline dates, having the file that has the earliest deadline first. Secondly, use a calendar to keep track of the submission dates for each of the scholarships. This helps to keep track of the dates the forms have to be completed and mailed to ensure they arrive prior to the deadline. Record on the calendar not only the deadline, but also the date that you will need to mail it in order for it to arrive by the deadline. This is important, because this really is the deadline for you to have it finished and in the mail so it will arrive on time.
6. Request reference letters and transcripts well in advance of the deadline date. This gives the people you are asking to enough time to complete the requested task. When you must send a transcript with your application use most current transcript you can, which is after each term/semester. Each time you ask the counselor for a current transcript, ask for a number of original copies to be made. This way, you can file these copies and have them ready. Reference letters may be photocopied. So if you make a number of photocopies of each reference letter, and then file them, they are easily accessible as needed.
7. When you request a reference letter, it is really helpful to the person writing the letter if you supply them with relevant personal information such as your employment record, extracurricular activities, sports/music involvement, special accomplishments, words to describe you, etc. Counselors have a simple form entitled, "Reference Letter Planner", that you can complete that helps you to organize this information. Once you have completed the form, you can photocopy it to give to people from whom you have requested a reference. Also supply them with a copy of the application form so they can include the address in their letter and/or respond to specific criterion being looked at for that scholarship.
8. Do be creative. This is especially true when you are responding to some of the essay questions.
9. Do apply for as many scholarships as possible. As a rule, your odds of winning something increase as you enter more competitions. Remember that once you have done all the preparation for one application, the rest will be easier to complete. In fact, many of the applications ask similar questions, so you can reuse or just edit your answers. In fact, essays that are saved on the computer can be altered and edited to fit the criterion for other essays that you may need to complete as part of an application.
10. Always type your essay unless the application specifies that it must be handwritten. If you must do it by hand, use blue or black ink and space your writing carefully. A scholarship selection committee may photocopy it, so it must be legible.
11. Before you send off your application, make sure you make a photocopy of the entire application and file it away in the specified file. It may be useful if the original goes missing or if you have to prepare a similar application.
12. Keep the application flat, with no folds. Keep if from getting dog-eared or soiled. Mail it in a proper sized, 8 ½ " x 11" envelope. It is probably best to send your application by Priority Post or by courier. A little extra money will purchase fast, secure delivery.
13. Do make sure that you have your own Social Insurance Number (SIN). You may need it for some applications. If you currently do not have a SIN, apply for one immediately.
14. Ask a counselor for help if you have any difficulties while filling out the forms. If necessary, they can contact the sponsor of the scholarship for more information.
15. Be honest on the application. If it is discovered that you exaggerated a part of the application, it could jeopardize your application and your good name.
16. Answer all questions and sections on the application.
17. Prior to sending your application, double check to make sure that you are sending everything that is required.
18. Where a letter of application is required -use 8 ½ x 11-inch paper, one side only. Use a regular business letter format, and keep the tone of the letter straightforward, concise, and unemotional. In addition to required information, content should include an outline of your interests, extracurricular/ voluntary activities, awards, employment, etc
19. Because many scholarships are decided by April and May, the marks you achieve in grade 11 and in the first semester of grade 12 are critical. Many scholarships, such as college or university entrance scholarships and district scholarships are decided well before students receive final marks for the second semester.