Scholarship Application Form

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Scholarship Application Form

What is a scholarship application form?

Scholarship application forms are the primary means through which individuals apply for scholarships. A “scholarship” is a grant provided by an organization, often a business or charitable foundation, to help support a student’s education. Scholarships are usually awarded based on academic ability or help overcome structural inequalities and provide assistance to underprivileged groups. 

Who uses scholarship application forms?

Various types of organizations, including colleges, charities, corporate businesses with spare money, government departments such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA, and more, use scholarship application forms to provide financial aid.  

Grant amounts vary significantly. Scholarships may constitute several hundred dollars, several thousand, or even tens or hundreds of thousands.

Are scholarship application forms complex documents?

Because competition for scholarships tends to be high, most organizations have implemented extensive evaluation criteria to find the most suitable recipients and identify the most pressing instances of financial need. As such, scholarship application forms are typically extensive documents that require detailed responses. It’s not uncommon for an application form to take several hours to complete. 

Because of this, creating forms, especially if an organization offers multiple scholarship grants that regularly change, can consume significant amounts of time and resources. Using a template is one way of overcoming this problem. Templates streamline the typical document creation workflow and help organizations ensure that all relevant sections are included. 

Is a scholarship application form the same as an educational grant form?

The terms “scholarship application form” and “educational grant form” are largely interchangeable. “Educational grant” is more commonly used in Britain, whereas in America and Canada, “scholarship” is the preferred word. 

One possible area of confusion relates to general grant application forms that are educational in nature. For example, an organization or college may offer grants to support independent projects, particularly social initiatives, or to help full-time college students cover living expenses. These shouldn’t be confused with scholarships, which are specifically for providing financial assistance to students who wish to complete a degree or course, and are usually processed before the start of the academic year. 

What are the different types of scholarship application forms?

Most scholarship application forms will fall into one of the following three categories: 

College or university scholarship application forms – These are the most common scholarship forms. They are typically used to award large sums of money that will cover all or part of a student’s college fees. Colleges tend to offer a number of scholarships for their own programs. Alternatively, non-affiliated organizations may offer more general scholarships, which can be used for any degree taught at any academic institution. The term “open scholarship” refers to a grant that anybody can apply for. “Closed scholarships”, on the other hand, are limited to members of a particular group, like Ph.D. students.

Private high school scholarship application forms – High school scholarship forms are usually issued by fee-paying private schools. They are aimed at younger students and will be completed with the help of a parent. 

Short course or holiday camp scholarship application forms – Organizations offering short courses or running holiday camps may have scholarship programs. Grants will almost always be smaller than those provided by larger academic institutions. 

The categories described above signify only minor differences, and application forms will usually follow a very similar structure. 

What should a scholarship application form include?

Scholarship forms tend to be extensive, highly tailored documents. Organizations usually have different requirements and evaluation criteria. And individual forms will reflect this. 

That said, scholarship application forms do tend to follow a similar general structure and will typically contain the following sections: 

  • Instructions – Most scholarship forms begin with an explanatory section. This will include information about which materials applicants need (essays, references, grade scores, etc.), how the evaluation process works, eligibility requirements, and possibly some information about the organization’s history and mission offering the grant. It is important to include this section because it will save time for both your organization and potential applicants. Scholarship forms take a long time to process, so limiting the likelihood that ineligible individuals apply will mean fewer surplus forms. 
  • Personal and contact information – Personal details may include the applicant’s name, address, email, birth date, and telephone number. Because grants are often significant sums of money and may sometimes be awarded as part of social mobility initiatives, it may also be necessary to ask for information about nationality, ethnicity, or gender. 
  • Course information – This section asks for information about how the scholarship grant will be used and which undergraduate or postgraduate course (along with enrollment dates) the applicant intends to apply for. 
  • Academic qualifications – To filter applicants, you will need to know their educational qualifications. For university or college scholarships, high school test results and grade point averages will likely be most important. 
  • Personal essay – It is very common for applicants to include a personal statement when submitting a scholarship application form. You may wish to prompt students to talk about their career goals, past achievements, extracurricular activities, community service, personal traits, and reasons why the scholarship grant is important to them. Forms may include a longer entry field or a file upload field for online applications. 
  • Signature – Applicants will usually need to sign the document to signify that all the information provided is truthful and has been entered by them. 
  • Information safety notice – Because applicants will share a lot of confidential personal information when completing scholarship application forms, it is good practice to include a small section towards the end of the document outlining your data safety practices. 

Should you use a template to create scholarship application forms for your organization?

Because scholarship application forms are extensive, multi-faceted documents, they can take a long time to draft. They will often need to be vetted by multiple people within an organization, including high-level managers and legal experts. As a consequence, the creation process can easily span weeks or even months. 

Templates help overcome this problem, especially if an organization regularly requires new forms. Working from a single “master document” ensures that all relevant sections are included and that only minor changes need to be made, thus saving significant amounts of employee time and resources. 

Download the free, fully-customizable sample scholarship application form provided by PandaDoc to get started.