Advice for Scholarship Applicants
Common Scholarship Characteristics
- There are a wide variety of available scholarships: Awards may be general or subject-specific, domestic or international, undergraduate or graduate, and academic or non-academic. Many scholarships are also designed to encourage women and minorities into subjects in which they are commonly underrepresented.
- Most awards are primarily academic: The most prestigious awards such as Rhodes and Marshall require a minimum 3.75 GPA, but there are many other lucrative scholarships that are significantly less exclusive.
- Scholarship committees frequently look for other achievements: Individual awards often stress activities as much as academic performance. Depending on the award, these activities might include examples of campus leadership, community involvement, internships, independent research, or athletic skill.
- Most scholarship applications require you to describe a plan for your future: Scholarship committees rarely give awards simply to reward good students. The scholarships are designed to encourage students to apply their abilities in certain careers or in ways that generally benefit society. A good scholarship essay usually describes how the award will enable you to attain specific educational or career goals.
- Successful scholarship applications require considerable effort: Applications usually require specialized essays, multiple recommendations, and supporting materials. Those who start early will have a chance to work through multiple drafts, and will thus have a better chance of competing at the state, regional, or national levels. In other words, you need to start as early as possible!
- Applying is worthwhile: Eckerd students regularly win major scholarships. In addition, the application process can be very useful even if you don’t win a scholarship. Writing scholarship essays will often help you focus on your goals and plans after graduation. You will also be gathering recommendations from the same faculty and/or employers that you might later use for graduate school or employment applications.