Applying for Scholarship and Need Advice

Updated on June 26, 2012
C.C. asks from Los Angeles, CA
6 answers

I am a college student and have applied for a lot of scholarships in the past but have only received one. I have good grades, references and experience,(not trying to toot my own horn),so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. The current scholarship that I am applying for requires an autobiography (which seems easy), but with all of my rejections from other scholarships...I'm just unsure of my writing capabilities. I was wondering if anyone had any good tips or advice on how to write this and make my application stand out among the rest? Thanks so much

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So What Happened?

Thank you those who gave me great feedback! I have applied to about 30 in this past yr, and most of these are small scholarships offered through the school. Most of them are around 100 ea, little sad I couldn't even grab any of those up.I didn't realize some of the info shared, but i will admit i do know how to spell a lot. I really though could care less about my grammar when im on MP b/c i'm typing @ warp speed and have 2 other windows up b/c i'm trying to multitask, lol. Funny thing nicole, i'm from SR too ;) Thank you turtledove for sharing your autobiography, your experience is AMAZING and i really appreciate the offer, so kind of you!

More Answers



answers from Boston on

I agree with Riley J on the volume. Be thankful that it's not like it was 20 years ago, before the internet and computers made finding and applying for scholarships a breeze. Back in the stone age (early 1990s) when I was applying for scholarships, I had to go to the library, thumb through giant scholarship directories, mail letters to the various sponsoring organizations asking for forms, type each form individually, and then mail back the completed form along with an essay, letters of recommendation, a copy of my transcript, etc. to each organization. Painful - I did about 30 applications my senior year in high school and stopped there. I did get substantial scholarships from my university and a few smaller scholarships, but I do wish that I had taken the process more seriously and applied for more over the years that I was in school.

So if I were you, I'd literally apply to 10 or 20 a month. Have a friend who is a decent writer review and edit your stock response. Write something that you can tailor to each application pretty quickly (like writing a cover letter for a job - tailor the beginning and end but leave the middle pretty much the same from document to document). Treat this like a part-time job where you carve out some time each week to work on applications. Ignore the "no" responses and just keep going.

Also, how good are "good" grades? You may be competing with students with 4.0 GPAs for the bigger scholarships. For bigger scholarships good grades don't cut it, top notch grades do. So you may have to go for many smaller fish instead of a couple of big ones if you're grades are good but not top-of-the-class good.

Best of luck to you and keep plugging away.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

In general, expect to win 1:20 that you write for. If you're really good, you might get 1:10. If you only write for the 'big' ones, expect 1:50 or 1:100 if any.

Everyone I know who writes for scholarships and grants as a major funding source (myself included) send out a couple hundred per year.

So when you say a lot, are you talking 250, or 10?


Just so you know... in many organizations 'grant writer' is a full time slot. While students often try for at least 5 a week, grantwriters are writing 5x-10x that. In order to catch any fish, you have to cast a wide net.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I am guessing you are a non trad? The deck is stacked against us. I had the same problem. The only scholarship I got beyond what the school offered was an IT scholarship directed at women only. Not many of us. :)

Even though I had a 3.8 those that don't have kids, work, a life outside of school are pulling 4.0.

Sorry if this wasn't very uplifting.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Once you write it get someone to read it for you. Someone that is good with grammar and spelling. Also ask you school if they have resources to help you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Re-read your own answer in full, giving yourself an hour or so from when you finished writing it.

Also ask someone else to read it - and tell them not to hold back with their edits/suggestions. Another pair of eyes can be invaluable!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hey there,
here is an example of mine. What we learned in music entrepreneurship class is to NOT BE TOO MODEST! We are taught to not show off, but with these things you need to toot your own horn.
Feel free to write one and send it to me.

Leonie Roessler was born in the Ruhrgebiet area in Germany and grew up there playing the recorder and the piano. She relocated to suburban Southern California when she was 16 years old, moved a couple of times, and ended up in Los Angeles soon thereafter. Leonie studied classical guitar at Los Angeles City College, where she was awarded several scholarships. She earned her Associates Degree in Music there, along with Commercial Certificates for Guitar and Piano Performance.
After an intermission of several months in San Jose, Costa Rica, Leonie returned to Los Angeles to study composition at California State University Northridge with
Dr. Liviu Marinescu and electronic music with Professor Dan Hosken, as well as modern dance with Paula Thomson and Donna Krasnow. She received her Bachelor Degree in Composition along with a minor in dance performance in May 2010.
Leonie is currently pursuing a Master Degree in Composition at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, Netherlands, where studies with Calliope Tsoupaki and Peter Adriaansz. She is also enrolled in the "Contemporary Music through Non-Western Techniques" Program at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where she studies Carnatic Music and composition with Rafael Reina and Jos Zwaanenbourg.
She is lucky to have dancer and choreographer Joan van der Mast as her personal research coach for a project which deals with new music for Limon Technique.

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