Scholarships can help students achieve their study goals and provide essential financial support. But with so many different scholarships out there and a seemingly endless list of criteria, the application process can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Edith Cowan University's (ECU) Scholarships Coordinator, Janelle Lynch, is an expert in helping guide students through the process. Here's her top tips to help your application stand out.
"Do your research to find out when your university's scholarship application periods are," Janelle said.
"Most universities will promote their scholarships well ahead of the application period, giving you time to research which ones may be relevant to you and plan when you need to submit.
"Definitely do not leave it to the last minute. Some scholarships require references and other documentation which takes time to source.
"It's also a good idea to submit your application at least a few days before it's due. That way, if you run into any problems, you'll have lots of time to fix them."
Each scholarship is unique and has different requirements. Making sure you read the criteria and tailor each application accordingly is important, says Janelle.
"Don't just copy and paste from one application to another," she said.
"Identify the key words, take time to understand them and don't go off track. Each of your applications should be genuine and respond to the specific scholarship requirements.
"If asked to discuss your achievements – this is not the time to be shy. What makes you unique? Consider which of your achievements, academic or not, will set you apart from others and leave a lasting impression."
One area that's often left to the last minute is references, says Janelle.
"Consider who you will ask to be a reference for you and give them enough time to develop thoughtful recommendations," she said.
"It's important they understand the scholarship criteria so consider giving them a few bullet points with extra information to help them develop their letters."
"I can't stress this enough – proof read your application and all your supporting documents thoroughly before you submit them," Janelle said.
"Have a friend or family member proof read everything too as a fresh pair of eyes can pick up things you miss.
"Errors are really distracting for the assessors and can reflect badly on your credibility."
If you're not successful this time, it's easy to lose confidence and give up, says Janelle.
"Seek feedback on your application and where you could improve. You can always reapply during the next period or consider a different scholarship."
ECU has a range of scholarships that can be used to cover the costs associated with university, including text books, travel and other expenses. To find a scholarship that suits you, visit ecuworldready.com.au/scholarships.
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