Applying for scholarships can be a daunting task, especially with so much competition. However, avoiding common mistakes can help set your application apart and increase your chances of success. As a Nigerian student, there are certain errors you’ll want to steer clear of when putting together scholarship applications.
This blog post outlines the top 10 mistakes Nigerian students should avoid when applying for scholarships. Read on to learn what to look out for and how to craft a winning application.
Failing to Follow Instructions
One of the biggest mistakes students make is failing to follow instructions properly. Every scholarship has its own set of rules and criteria. Read through the application very carefully and ensure you understand what is required. Adhere to word limits, formatting guidelines, and submission deadlines.
Supply all required documents and answer all the questions. Following instructions shows you can pay attention to details. Make sure to read the fine print and not just skim over requirements. Missing something small can make your application incomplete.
Submitting a Late Application
Scholarship deadlines are firm. Missing a deadline means your application will not even be considered. Don’t rely on the postal service to deliver your application on time either. Submit online or deliver by hand well before the due date.
Schedule time to complete all required steps of the application in advance. Rushing leads to mistakes. Submit as early as possible. Give yourself a buffer just in case unexpected issues pop up. You don’t want to be frantically printing forms or requesting letters of recommendation at the last minute.
Failing to Proofread
Typos, grammar mistakes, and incomplete sentences create a bad impression. Always proofread your scholarship essays and application materials before submitting them. Read them aloud and use software to check for errors. Ask others to proofread as well. Sloppy applications suggest laziness.
Run spell check, but also double-check proper names, titles, and other details. Consider asking both friends and professionals like teachers to proofread, since they may catch different errors. Friends can check if your personality shines through, while teachers can verify academic accuracy.
Lacking Passion and Personality
The scholarship review committee wants to get to know you as an individual. Convey your unique passions, personality, and background in your application. Use vivid examples and tell compelling stories. Share your dreams, motivations, interests, and goals.
Back up achievements with details. Express why you deserve the scholarship. Show who you are beyond test scores and grades. Let your voice, story, and spirit come through. Highlight what makes you different from other applicants.
Neglecting the Cover Letter
When a cover letter is required, don’t just summarize your application in it. Use it to expand on key points you want to highlight. Emphasize your most relevant qualifications, share a story, and express why the scholarship is important to you. Align it with the sponsor’s goals.
Personalize it for each application rather than sending a generic letter. Put effort into this introduction to your application. Address the letter directly to the review committee or person specified in the application instructions. Use the cover letter to connect with reviewers and draw them into learning more about you.
Ask teachers, coaches, employers, mentors, and others who can share unique perspectives on your strengths to write recommendations. Give them ample time and make sure they understand the purpose of the recommendation and scholarship. Share your background with them and any key points you want emphasized.
Weak recommendations from people who barely know you can hurt your application. Pick your recommenders carefully and meet with them to explain why you need their support. Provide them with a resume, transcript, and any other materials that illuminate your qualifications.
Failing to Proofread the Essay
The scholarship essay allows you to share your story. Make sure it is well-organized, clear, and compelling. Pay close attention to grammar and spelling. Have multiple people proofread it and offer feedback. Revise it to strengthen weak areas. Delete unnecessary words to polish it. Read it out loud more than once.
This vital essay deserves significant time and effort. Don’t just run spell check and call it done. Ask peers and mentors to read your essay and provide constructive criticism. Take time to rework and refine your essay until it is as powerful as possible.
Submitting a Generic Essay
Avoid repurposing the same generic essay for multiple scholarship applications. Make sure your submission answers the prompt and showcases your unique story, passions, and goals. Research each organization and customize your essay. Connect your background to their specific mission and values.
Show why you are a great fit. A generic essay is obvious and lacks effort. Study the sponsoring organization so your essay includes specific reasons you are a good candidate for their particular scholarship. Make it personal.
Listing Awards Incorrectly
Verify the official names and dates of any honors, awards, titles, or positions you list. Double-check spellings. List the most prestigious awards first. Provide relevant context and details for each accomplishment. Quantify achievements such as GPA, test scores, and money earned or saved.
The accuracy and details are impressive. Gather documentation and create a master list of all awards and honors you want to mention. Carefully transfer only the most relevant ones to each application. Double-check for any discrepancies.
Forgetting the Thank You Notes
Following up with thank you notes shows extra effort. Email or handwritten notes to thank scholarship committees and those who wrote recommendations for you. Express your appreciation, share your excitement, and reiterate your qualifications and passion. Consider notes to schools you are applying to as well.
This closing gesture can leave a lasting positive impression. Handwrite personal notes whenever possible. Emails are acceptable for committees, but take the time to hand-write notes showing gratitude to your recommenders. Buy quality stationery or cards to make thank-you notes special.
Avoiding common scholarship application mistakes takes diligence and attention to detail. Following instructions, adhering to deadlines, customizing essays, obtaining strong recommendations, and proofreading thoroughly can help your application stand out. Consistently putting your best foot forward and presenting yourself accurately and passionately will serve you well. With preparation and care, you can submit scholarship applications that showcase your unique strengths, goals, and potential. Use this advice to maximize your chances of scholarship success and invest in your education and future! Applying for scholarships is like applying for competitive jobs – take it seriously and put your best effort into every application. Avoiding errors, personalizing content, and showcasing your talents and passion will help set you apart from the competition.