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Now that school is in full swing, many of you are starting to fill out scholarship applications. It is extremely important to complete and submit your application correctly, or else you may not be considered. Here are some common scholarship application mistakes and how to avoid them.

Missing the deadline

The first thing you should do when you decide to apply for a specific scholarship is check the scholarship deadline. When you’ve found the date, make sure that you understand how to send your application, where to send it, and by what time of day (if applicable). Some scholarships list a postmark deadline, in which case the application needs to be in the mail by that date. Other scholarships require that your application arrive by the deadline. Make sure that you send ALL of your application materials according to the deadline instructions. If your application is late, it will often not be considered. Why would you put in all that work for nothing?


It’s no secret that scholarship applications take time and effort to complete. So it’s important that you do not put off the application until the last minute. If you procrastinate, you are more likely to make mistakes in your application or not be able to get everything together in time. Even if you are able to get all of your application materials together correctly, the quality of your application will suffer. If possible, give yourself at least two weeks to complete an application, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time for essays and letters of recommendation to be written.

Not following the directions

The directions on a scholarship application are not suggestions. These are the basic requirements that you need to fulfill in order to be considered for a scholarship. If you do something careless like emailing your application when you are supposed to mail it or formatting your application incorrectly, you may not get a scholarship (no matter how amazing your essay is).

Sending an incomplete application

Scholarship committees request specific information because they need it to make sure you are eligible for the scholarship and to make an informed decision on who to select. If the scholarship committee does not receive all of that information from you, you will most likely not get a ‘free pass’ and get a scholarship anyway. The scholarship committee will likely look at your application, see it is incomplete, and move it to the disqualified pile. Some scholarship committees will contact you in an effort to complete your application, but NEVER assume that this will be the case. Part of being a college student (and an adult) is submitting everything correctly the first time. Why not practice that skill now with your scholarship applications?

Being messy

You can’t win a scholarship if the review committee can’t read your application. This doesn’t mean that you can’t fill out applications by hand (unless the directions say you have to type your application—see above), but this does mean that you should use your best handwriting and try to keep your application in good condition.

Forgetting to proofread

ALWAYS have someone proofread your application before you send it in. This will help reduce any spelling or grammatical errors or other mistakes that may be in your application before you send it. If you want to earn some money, you’ll want your application to be as polished as possible!

Submitting a winning scholarship application requires attention to detail. If you avoid the small mistakes above, you are well on your way to earning money for college.

By Allison Ourada