Read the instructions
This is one instance where a few minutes of your time can save you hours of frustration. Most application forms for scholarships or awards clearly describe who is eligible to apply for it, how much it is for, when the closing date for applications is, and what information must be included with your application.
Always aim to send in your application with time to spare. Prepare a timetable for yourself that breaks down the application process into manageable sections, for example when you need to have your references by, filling out the application form itself, collecting the required documents etc. Be aware that it often takes longer than expected to get references from people. If you find out about a scholarship just after it has closed, contact the person or organisation administering it and ask if they will accept a late application. Never just send in late applications and hope for the best as this leaves a very negative impression.
Length of application
Try to achieve a balance between providing as much information as possible and making your application brief and easy to read. As a general rule, include details from the last 2 years if you are still at school or a recent school leaver. If you have finished school some time ago, include as much information as practical and relevant for the particular scholarship being applied for.
Referees should have known you for at least a year, and be able to discuss your suitability for the scholarship or award that you are applying for. Make sure that you ask someone for their permission before you provide their name as a referee, and also give them a brief description of the scholarship or award that you are applying for. This helps them to provide the best answers if they are questioned as part of your application. If possible, for character references choose those that have a standing in the community, for example Youth Leaders, Employers, Priests, Community Representatives, School Guidance Counsellors etc. For Academic references, choose referees that can objectively comment on your academic performance, for example School Principals, Deans, Tutors or Teachers.
When preparing your application, be as neat as possible as this creates a positive impression. It is recommended where possible you type your statements. Check your application for spelling mistakes, and double check that all documentation that is required is attached to the application. Answer all questions, and if some questions do not apply to you answer them with N/A to make this clear. If posting your application, check that you have spelt the person/organisation's name correctly, and that you have sufficient postage on the package.
Do not bind or staple your application as often it will need to be photocopied for each member of the selection panel.
For any further assistance in applying for a scholarship, contact:
Student Support Officer
PO Box 540
0800 24 24 76