8 tips to ace your scholarship application
Think a scholarship’s not for you? Think again. At CDU, students are awarded scholarships for a whole range of reasons. In short, opportunities abound. So, explore CDU’s scholarship opportunities, find the right ones and consider these eight tips for nailing your application.
Some students receive scholarships for their outstanding academic performance, talent and passion for their area of study. Others are recognised for their commitment and vision in their local community, or their sports involvement or work placement.
Importantly, there are also scholarships to help students who are struggling financially and those who may otherwise be excluded from studying due their socioeconomic, cultural or geographic circumstances.
1. Don’t miss the closing dates!
Obvious, but important. With between $1,000 and $52,000 on offer to help with your studies (which is paid directly to your bank account), it pays to apply on time. Add CDU’s scholarship application deadlines to your diary.
Top tip: Get your application in early. This gives the Scholarships Office plenty of time to follow up with you if there’s anything else needed to support your application.
2. Think outside the box
What are you doing achieving outside of your studies that may merit recognition?
If you’re a high academic achiever, good news: there are plenty of scholarships available, often with options specifically suited to your area of study. For example, you may be eligible for up to $15,000 if you’re studying early childhood education or business, education, social science, IT or Indigenous studies students. Or even, up to $2,500 if you’re studying a vocational and education and training course in IT.
If your strengths lie elsewhere or your circumstances are a bit different, good news: there are also plenty of scholarships available to you. What are you doing achieving outside of your studies that may merit recognition? Perhaps you’re a woman seeking a career in the construction industry or training to work in male-dominated trade. Or maybe you’re a refugee or humanitarian visa holder who’s studying to improve your employment outcomes.
3. Don’t limit yourself to one scholarship
At CDU, you can apply for more than one scholarship, provided you meet the eligibility requirements. You can hold two active scholarships at one time. So, aim high and explore all the possible options.
4. Know what the panel is looking for
Come up with specific examples that demonstrate how you meet the criteria.
All scholarships have a set of individual selection criteria that are used to assess each application. Familiarise yourself with these and spend some time thinking about how you satisfy each one. Come up about specific examples that demonstrate how you meet the criteria. And don’t be shy to include letters from your references or other documents (such as certificates of involvement) in your application.
5. Do your research on the donor
Scholarships are often funded by a donor, which is a separate person or business to CDU. Research the donor online and tie some of this information in your application – it shows you’ve done your homework. If you can relate this to yourself and your goals, even better.
6. Spend some time refining your written statement
Keep your written statement as concise as possible. Don’t use words for the sake of it.
You should be using no more than 1,000 words for your written statement, but keep it as concise as possible. Don’t use words for the sake of it. The panel has a lot of applications to read, so the more succinct you can be, the better.
Make your application easier to read by using the selection criteria as headings and answer them directly underneath. Remember to use examples to show (rather than tell) your strengths.
Extra tip: You can also include a short letter with your application to introduce yourself.
7. Make it personal, but keep it relevant
The panel assessing your application wants to get to know you; to get an idea of who you are, not just your ability to address selection criteria.
If you can include personal information and keep it relevant to the category of sponsorship you’re applying for, then do so.
For example, mention your difficult circumstances growing up if it’s the reason you’re studying social work; or talk about how your family is involved in motor sports if that’s what motivated you to study mechanical engineering.
8. Consider your competition
What sets you apart? Why do deserve or need the scholarship more than your peers?
If your scholarship is aimed at a specific course, consider that you’ll be up against other applicants in the same field. What sets you apart? Why do deserve or need the scholarship more? Think about how you will demonstrate this and stand out from the crowd.