After applying to nurse practitioner programs all winter, you likely find yourself tired of writing essays about your accomplishments and typing your name and social security number on form after form for each university where you’ve applied. A short break from the NP program application process is certainly in order, but postponing your downtime to apply for a few nurse practitioner program scholarships just might pay off big.
Similarly to the NP program application process, paying attention to detail in your scholarship applications helps ensure your chance of success. If you could use some extra cash for your NP program, these tips and tricks can help.
1. Don’t waste your time. Apply only if you are eligible.
Scholarships tend to get specific. The organizations offering scholarships want to cater to students in their target demographic or who somehow represent them as an organization or company. If a scholarship calls for Hispanic applicants and you are as Asian as they come, don’t waste your time on the application. Apply only to scholarships for which you meet eligibility criteria.
2. Play to your strengths. Spend the most time on scholarships you have a chance of winning.
Applying for scholarships isn’t easy. Most require an essay and some go as far as requesting letters of recommendation. Since you will be allocating precious time and resources in completing your NP program scholarship applications, focus most on the awards you have a chance of winning. This includes those you are most qualified for and smaller, regional contests (unless you have mad skills, of course).
3. Follow directions!
It sounds elementary, but the many scholarship applicants don’t follow directions closely when submitting an app. Fill out all necessary forms and fields within the application. Read the essay question closely to make sure your response fits well with the prompt. Complete the application in full, even if questions seen redundant or unimportant. Not following directions closely will make your application package appear sloppy. Submit documents in pdf format to avoid formatting errors when your application is submitted. Who knows? Spending an extra hour on your app may just land you a few grand.
4. Leave a lasting impression with your essay.
Make your essay, passionate, personal (but not too personal) and specific. Rather than speaking generically, give your essay power by citing personal examples. Seeing the person behind the application will make scholarship sponsors more likely to help you finance your NP education.
5. Tailor your application to the scholarship sponsor’s goals.
Companies and organizations award scholarships to promote themselves and help like-minded students. Align you essay with specific values from the sponsor’s mission statement. If you are applying for a scholarship from sausage-maker Jimmy Dean, for example, don’t talk about how being a vegan has shaped your life. You won’t win. Choose another angle to support your academic and personal prowess.
6. Read, read, then re-read.
Proof reading is an important part of the writing process, especially when entering a scholarship competition. Misspellings, grammatical errors and just plain sloppiness will have your application bound for the trash pile. Look over your app multiple times before hitting “Submit”. If possible, have a friend or family review your application as well. Two sets of eyes is always better than one.
7. Don’t miss out on smaller scholarships.
While applying only for scholarships in the $10,000 range seems attractive, these contests garner the most applicants. Winning multiple, small prizes can be a good strategy as well. Smaller scholarships also tend to be locally or regionally sponsored increasing your chances of being a competitive candidate.
8. Keep your social media professional.
If you haven’t reviewed your Twitter and Facebook pages since submitting your NP program application, now is a good time to do so. Even if you had the best Spring Break ever, a picture of you boozing on the beach front and center in your profile doesn’t scream “academic” to nurse practitioner program admissions staff or scholarship sponsors. You profiles don’t need to be overtly professional, but make them clean and appropriate.
9. Make copies of everything you submit.
As with any formal documentation you submit, keeping copies on hand is always a good idea. This way, if a scholarship sponsor misplaces a piece of your application, you have it on hand.
10. Start early!
The end product of your scholarship application will be much better if you are able to take your time. Some applications require references. You must allow your references plenty of time to complete their portion of the application. Rushing through an app the evening before it’s due never yields your best work.
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