Seven tips to get that scholarship
MANILA, Philippines - It’s enrollment time again. It’s also that time of the school year when students seek out scholarships and other forms of financial aid to help defray the costs of their education.
Here are some helpful tips for students and their parents applying for education scholarships or financial aid awarded through schools or organizations. For this tip sheet, Rappler asked for advice from school officials in charge of reviewing scholarship applications.
1. Assess your needs
To find the appropriate scholarship or financial grant for you, you need to assess what suits your needs. Do you require a full scholarship, financial assistance, book allowance, housing assistance, etc? Acquaint yourself with the scholarship criteria and requirements and see which scholarships or grants you qualify for.
Aris Dacanay, officer-in-charge of the UP Office of Student Services and Scholarships, says that students should first make sure they qualify before applying for any scholarship.
“Yung mga scholarship depende sa needs ng estudyante, ibaiba yung scholarship at para sa ibang year level at degree program. May certain qualification na kailangan ma-meet muna, pero meron ring scholarships na open sa lahat. Sayang lang kung mag-apply yung estudyante tapos hindi pala siya qualified.”
(The scholarships are dependent on the needs of the student. There are different scholarships for different year levers and degree programs. There are certain qualifications that need to be met first, but there are also scholarships that are open to everyone. It’s a waste of time for students to apply for scholarships that they are not qualified for.)
2. Highlight your abilities
There are many types of scholarships out there. Ask yourself what makes you unique? You don’t necessarily need to have straight A’s and be the class valedictorian to qualify for one. Perhaps you are an athlete or artist, or maybe you excel in a particular field of study.
Scout for schools and/or private institutions online that offer scholarships that match your qualities. Highlighting special skills and interests can help you stand out amongst the thousands of applications being sent to admissions offices around the country.
3. Keep informed
The search for the right scholarship can be a long and often arduous process with information not readily available online.
Not all websites have up-to-date information so it's best to crosscheck information obtained through university websites. The same goes for private institutions that also offer scholarship programs.
If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact the admission office directly.
4. Ask for advice
Asking for anecdotes and advice from former students, current scholars, and your teachers will greatly aid in your application.
Talking to someone who has applied for the same scholarship or is a current scholar will help you better prepare your own application. Guidance counselors are also good sources of information and will often give you advice tailored to your capabilities.
5. Be thorough
Make sure that you comply with all the requirements; submit all the documents needed (birth certificates, transcript of records, certificates of good moral character, recommendation letters, ITRs, etc) and fill in the application form in its entirety. Make a checklist to keep you on track of all the requirements.
Take note that these documents help the scholarship officer know you better. It is also the basis for the assessment of your application.
It would also be helpful make duplicates of all your documents. Schools receive thousands of applications and documents can be misplaced. It will be your responsibility to make sure that the office has what it needs to review your application.
6. Be truthful
Lying, misrepresenting yourself, and falsifying documents is a big no-no. Committing any of these acts will not only cast doubt on your application, it may also jeopardize your acceptance into the school.
Even if you think a detail of your personal background will not help you with your application, it’s best to be honest and up front.
7. Be patient
Remember this a long process. Not all scholarships applications are approved right away. It could take days, weeks and even months before you get feedback. Following up won’t hurt. You can give them a call or visit the admissions office to check on the status of your application.
Don’t be easily discouraged if your application is initially rejected. Many successful scholars make several attempts before getting that elusive approval. Some admissions offices allow the scholar to file a formal appeal or request for reconsideration. Check with the respective scholarship office if this is possible before you apply.
Dacanay also suggested that students apply for as many scholarships as they can to increase their chances of getting one.
“Apply lang nang apply. Sa UP allowed sila mag-enjoy ng dalawang scholarship. As long as walang prohibition na mag-enjoy ng ibang grant pero para lang ito sa mga scholarship na nagbibigay ng monthly stipend of P7,000.”
(They should apply and apply. In UP we allow our students to enjoy as many as two scholarships as long as there are no prohibitions to enjoy other grants. However this provision is limited to scholarships that give a monthly stipend of P7,000.)
Admissions and aid
The competition for scholarships and financial assistance may be stiff. But with preparation and the right information, students can improve their chances of getting the financial aid best suited for their needs.
If financial setbacks are hindering you from achieving the kind of education you want, don’t fret—there are many schools and private organizations willing to help you achieve your goal.
You only need to equip yourself with the right knowledge and a positive attitude. The key to a brighter future lies in knowing when to seize a good opportunity. – Rappler.com
Student image from Shutterstock