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March 1, 2011 / Brent Sears

Scholarship Gatekeepers

From the time you submit your application, to the time the final decision is made, it is important to understand how to think about the process.  People are judging you – be it by your application or by what they know of you personally.  That can be intimidating, and you will most likely feel the pressure when you are completing your application, but don’t worry.  Everyone else is going through the same thing.

Prepare well in advance to finish your essay and application.  I didn’t do this when I was applying for my scholarships to Ecuador and it was agonizing to push it until the very last day.  Many people say they need to stress to preform, but that is usually anxiety talking.

That is why it is important to build a small team of people to help you with the process.  Make sure you have someone to proofread the essay, and let them know about the deadline well in advance.  Make sure they are detail oriented people who will catch mistakes and possible misspellings.  It is also possible to have one of the administrative assistants in the office you will be submitting the form to look over your application before you submit.  Be careful with this though!  You don’t want to ask them questions that you could have easily found on your own.  Be human and tell them that you are really counting on this award and you want to make sure it is perfect.  The good people will make time for you and help you through it, even if only with moral support.

The thing about the administrative staff is that they are the most involved in the process.  They know what is going to happen from start to finish and they are the connectors between you and the scholarship committee.  They will most likely email the list of winners to the proper office.  So knowing this, if you are nice, you can probably get more information about the process than is published on the website.  They may be able to fill you in on the awards, their history, how many are available, and so forth.

That is why office staff can be invaluable at helping you figure out how to best approach the award.  Tomorrow I will talk about writing the application.

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