hints and tips
useful advice on how to prepare scholarship applications
Make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare your application.
- Your writing should reflect your ability to think logically and express yourself succinctly with accuracy and clarity.
- Always give your work a final read over before you submit it and carefully consider whether you have conveyed what you intended.
- Ask at least one other person, (parent, teacher, colleague or friend) to proof read your application and your supporting documents before submitting them.
- Change any words that seem ambiguous and rephrase sentences that appear awkward.
- There is nothing wrong with short sentences and simple words if they adequately convey your meaning.
- Choose the first-person or active verbs to express yourself. For example "I prefer to study English" (active) rather than "English is a preferred subject" (passive). The active voice sounds more confident, direct and concise.
- Delete unnecessary words.
- Ensure you have checked the spelling and grammar in your application. It is worth taking the time to do this as the quality of your application will be taken into consideration in the selection process.
Hints and tips
- Carefully re-read and consider the eligibility requirements of the scholarship to ensure that you meet all the requirements. If you do not, you may waste valuable time which could be spent on other applications.
- Explore the scholarships section of the university, sponsor or Tertiary Admissions Centre’s website for additional information about the general conditions of and instructions for the application. This information is often contained in a separate section and may not be repeated for each scholarship. It is important that you follow the instructions and directions provided.
- Many scholarships require online applications and you may need to register online before you can log in to lodge an application. If you are unsure about how to apply or what to include with your application, contact the relevant scholarships office by telephone or email.
- Some universities allow you to select as many awards as you are eligible for with just one online application.
- Supplementary documentation may need to be submitted separately by post or email to the relevant scholarships office.
- Prepare in advance a curriculum vitae (CV), which includes information about your academic results and achievements, work experience and skills, community involvement, extra-curricular activities, goals and ambitions. Sample templates are available online.
- Do some research about the scholarship – if the scholarship is sponsored by a corporate body, foundation or company, find out about them, what their function is, their philosophy and objectives. If possible, try and find the details of the selection committee and past recipients. The information you discover will influence your selection of the material to include in the application and it will highlight the aspects you should focus on in any selection interviews that may be required.
Ensure you provide all necessary information
- Assemble all your relevant information and documentation. Some equity-based scholarships require you to provide evidence of household income to verify your financial situation and that of your family. This is often asked for in order to determine if you qualify as being financially disadvantaged.
- Other common requirements include providing evidence of being from a rural or remote region, having Indigenous heritage, a disability or disadvantage, difficult family circumstances, refugee status, carer responsibilities, sole parent responsibilities or being from a non-English speaking background.
- Documentary evidence may include tax returns, Centrelink letters and statements, statutory declarations, medical certificates, proof of residence or a record of attendance at a particular school.
- Documents must be current at the time of application so check that they are still valid and renew them if necessary.
- Ensure that scanned documents are legible and that they are scanned as a full document (not page by page).
- Include only information and copies of certificates which are relevant to the application. A list of your achievements may be more appropriate than copies of certificates.
- If you are required to mail a hard copy of your application, you may need to obtain official academic transcripts from a previous educational institution; this will take time and may require payment.
- Choose your referees carefully. If necessary provide them with information about your activities and the scholarship you are applying for to enable them to write about you and the interests and abilities you have that relate to the award.
- Referee report forms are generally available to download from the relevant scholarship website.
Personal statement and cover letter
- A personal statement and cover letter usually form part of the application. Be selective about the information you include. Scholarship coordinators are interested in awarding the scholarship to a well-rounded student.
- Include information about your personal goals and ambitions as well as community involvement, leadership abilities and extra-curricular activities.
- Include significant achievements of recent years, not those from too far in the past, such as primary school.
- Keep in mind that the people who will read and judge your application do not know you so it is important to include information to positively differentiate yourself from other applicants of similar merit.
- Explain your motivation to undertake a particular course of study.
- Do not misrepresent yourself and do not apologise for any perceived inadequacies. Present yourself as a worthy candidate.
- It is important that you demonstrate your need for the scholarship and that you address all the criteria noted in the scholarship details.
- Do not use ring binders or folders, a staple in the top left-hand corner is sufficient and facilitates photocopying for selection committees.
Dates and times
- Make a note of the deadline for each scholarship you plan to apply for and apply in good time.
Your contact details
- Ensure that you will be easy to contact and that the addresses and phone numbers provided in your application will be applicable at the relevant times.
- If you do not have a private email address, consider creating one. If you are in Year 12, you may not be able to access your school or college email after your final exams to receive advice of offers and acknowledgements of applications.
- Check your email regularly as you may receive important information or requests for additional information.
Information sourced from