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How to stay organized in your scholarship search

The students who are most successful in the scholarship world are organized and prepared in their quest to acquire scholarship dollars. Sure, there’s the exception of that student who seems to pull it all together at the last minute, but they are not the norm.

To submit multiple applications over time, you should develop your own process to save time, and use that saved time to submit more applications. While everyone has their own organizational style, here are some tips to consider before you submit your applications:

  • Gather information about your background, family history, memberships, previous academics, accomplishments, career choice, special talents and abilities, disabilities or diseases (if any), and anything else in your personal, academic or professional life that can be used during the scholarship matching and application process. By gathering this information once, at the beginning, you will save time.
  • Document your background on your own scholarship profile or scholarship resume, even if it is hand-written. This will help you as you begin the scholarship search process or begin to share your personal story on scholarship applications.
  • If you haven’t written anything substantive lately, try a few test runs by answering sample scholarship questions. You do not want your first scholarship application to be the first time you sit down to write in ten years. Why? Because scholarships are a competition and you want your writing to be clear, consistent and compelling.
  • Create a process to track which scholarships match your profile, document the required materials and mark the deadline on your calendar. Even if the scholarship deadline has passed, keep track of it for the following year. To help you get started, you can download a free scholarship tracking tool.
  • Plan enough time for the general search process, to complete each application, and to gather other required information and documents. For example, how long do you think it will take to ask and receive a recommendation from a faculty member, supervisor or community leader? What is the pace at which you write? How long does it take to proofread one essay? Remember that your first application might take the longest and subsequent applications may take less time because you are prepared and already have some of the materials you may need.

Savvy scholarship seekers treat the process with the diligence, time and care it deserves. What will be your first step to get started?

For other tips on how to survive and thrive in the scholarship process, check out the other articles on theUniversity of Phoenix scholarship website.