Posted on November 19th in REACH Blog

6 Tips for a Successful Scholarship Application

excited student at laptop

Applying for scholarships? Phi Theta Kappa’s experts offer six practical tips for making your application the best it can be.

And, if you’re still working on PTK’s Fall Scholarship App, keep reading for a bonus — four things you’ll need for the application.

1. Know the Purpose. Scholarship purposes are like shoes. Many styles exist, but the fit is dependent upon the person. Knowing the purpose is powerful in finding the right-fit scholarship. Fun fact: to find out what PTK scholarships you’re eligible for, take our Eligibility Quiz at

2. Update Regularly. You’ll miss 100 percent of the scholarship opportunities shots that you don’t take by not updating your application. Login to PTK’s Scholarship App at least once a semester to update or complete your app. Keep your application updated and relevant.

3. Meet the Requirements. Be honest on the eligibility quiz. Sounds so simple, right? Tricking the system to force an application open causes you to waste time if you aren’t really eligible.

4. Apply Early. Get started working on your app as early as possible to provide ample time to finesse content before the deadline. Essays are usually the most heavily weighted item on an application. It’s worth your effort to invest the most time on this portion of your application.

5. Get Personal. In it to win it? Let’s get real — the more candid you are with telling your story and how it has motivated you in your personal and academic pursuits, the greater chance you’ll have of your app resonating with a judge. Increase the odds of scoring well by telling your story well.

6. Proofing Party. Different strokes for different folks. Having multiple sets of eyes on your application can help strengthen entries, spot grammatical errors, and create cohesive content. Host a proofing party to inspire peer reviewing.

BONUS! Four Things Needed for PTK’s Scholarship App

There’s still time to apply for scholarships on PTK’s fall app, although the deadline is coming soon. Make sure you’re prepared with these four things:

1. Time. Seems like a no-brainer, right? The average amount of time it takes to draft, proof, and finalize your application is two to four hours.

2. Uploads. Two uploads are required: an unofficial transcript(s) and a copy of your proof of citizenship. These are used to help confirm that you meet the scholarship eligibility requirements.

3. Data. How many, how much, how often: all are relevant data points needed to gauge your level of engagement on your campus and in the community. Complete a Scholarship Resume to track important data that can be used repeatedly on any scholarship app. Download a template from our Scholarship Resources page.

4. Letter of Recommendation. It’s the big ask and the singular piece of information from an outside source needed to support your application. While this is not required, we highly recommend that you upload one to help strengthen your application and provide additional insight for judge’s consideration. Request this early and from someone who knows you well. Be respectful of their time by requesting this well in advance of the deadline — so, now, if you haven’t already done so!

The deadline to complete PTK’s fall scholarship app has been extended to Tuesday, December 15, at 5 p.m. CT. Learn more and apply today!

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