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Tips for How to Apply for Scholarship

There's no single, comprehensive source that can list for you all of the scholarships you're eligible for. So we recommend that you treat this like a research project, and consult several sources.

Scholarship books may be general references, or more targeted ("Scholarships for Women," or "Scholarships for Engineers," for example). Whenever you pick up a scholarship book, the first thing to do is look at how it's organized, so that you.ll be able to focus your search. Most books of scholarship listings will have several indexes (sorting scholarship listings by academic discipline, geographic location, or sponsoring organization).

Database Searches

We recommend that you try a few different databases, since none of them is comprehensive. (Examples are the SRN database hosted in the SRC office—see our workshop listing for our current schedule—and the list of outside free databases on our webpage, Free Scholarship Search Services.) You'll give the database information about yourself (background, career goals, academic interests, hobbies, etc), and it will find scholarship matches based on your profile. Since many of the sites will send you e-mail updates, it's a good idea to set up a separate e-mail account just to handle your scholarship information.

Ask Academic Departments

Many departments at UCLA offer scholarships for their undergraduates.always check for listings on department bulletin boards, and ask in the departmental office. Also, departmental counselors might receive information from scholarship agencies—Many departments at UCLA offer scholarships for their undergraduates.always check for listings on department bulletin boards, and ask in the departmental office. Also, departmental counselors might receive information from scholarship agencies.

Search Online

In addition to the free searchable databases of scholarship information, you can find a wealth of information online. The key is focusing your search, so that you won't be frustrated by the terrifying amount of information, and so that you can avoid disreputable sites and scams.

Think Broadly

Take note of your interests, hobbies, ethnic/religious background, affiliations, etc. There are scholarships based on many, many characteristics that have nothing to do with grades or financial need.

� Identifying Scholarships to Apply For

Read carefully through all of the eligibility requirements for each award, and make sure you meet every requirement.

You should also decide which scholarships are most worth your time to apply for—you will probably be eligible for many programs, and you might not have time to apply for all of them.

Don't limit yourself just to large scholarships—keep in mind that smaller scholarships add up, and each scholarship that you win gives you another honor to list on future applications making you attractive to scholarship committees. Often, smaller scholarships will have fewer applicants increasing your chances of winning.

� Obtaining Applications

Many scholarship programs will post their application materials on their websites—some may use an entirely online application form. If the application is not available online, write to the scholarship agency to request a copy of the application; include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

� Gathering Application Materials

Take note of what materials the application requires, and allow yourself plenty of time to gather everything.
Application Form

Most scholarship applications will include an official form where you will list your personal information. If the form can't be filled out on your computer, we recommend using a typewriter to complete it. It's always best to make your application look as professional as possible. We have a typewriter in the SRC which is available by appointment. Call us at (310)206-2875.

Personal Statement

Many applications require a personal statement or statement of purpose; some require a longer essay. Pay close attention to what the application is asking you to write about (career/academic goals? Formative experiences? Etc).

You may be able to reuse essays (or parts of essays) for multiple applications.but remember to tailor your essay for the specific scholarship you're applying for. Make sure to highlight the most pertinent aspects of yourself or your project. Try to make your essay unique and memorable—this is your chance to show the scholarship committee something about yourself. Always remember to proofread for typos and grammatical errors.

Show your work to peers, teachers, and SRC staff for feedback. For a writing appointment, contact the SRC at (310)206-2875 or src@college.ucla.edu. We also offer workshops each quarter on writing personal statements.

Letters of Recommendation

Many students are anxious about getting letters of recommendation, since so many classes at UCLA are large (with most of the instructor-student contact coming from graduate students). Try to get to know your professors/instructors by attending office hours. Sometimes it is possible to get a letter from a Teaching Assistant, or to ask your Teaching Assistant to work with your professor in writing your letter. Depending on the scholarship, it is sometimes also possible to have a non-academic reference as well (from an employer or community leader, for example).

It is important to have strong letters from people who know you and know your work.

Here are some tips to help you request strong letters that will support your application well:


Ask your potential recommender directly, "Would it be possible for you to write a strong letter of recommendation on my behalf?"

Give your recommender(s) plenty of time to complete the letter(s).

Remind your recommender(s) as the deadline approached and collect the letter(s) yourself: Do not assume that once you have asked for the letter and received an affirmative response from your recommender, the letter has been sent—follow up!

Provide your recommender with the following materials so that he/she can write the most concrete and wonderful things about you: a) the scholarship application information (a summary in your own words is often best because the recommender might not have the time to read carefully through the entire application packet); b) the most recent version of your resume/CV; c) the most recent versions of the essays, statements, project proposals, and other writing samples required for the application; d) a short paragraph reminding the recommender of what you have accomplished lately, as well as a short paragraph about what you would like the recommender to highlight in his/her letter. The more information the recommender has about you and the scholarship you are seeking, the better your letter will be.

Meet with your recommender in person when you give him/her the above material in case he/she has questions about the letter.

Always remember to send a thank you note!


Read the application requirements carefully and determine whether you need an official transcript, or whether an unofficial transcript or DPR will be sufficient. Official and unofficial transcripts can be ordered at the registrar's office in Murphy Hall. Ordering information is available online at http://www.registrar.ucla.edu/faq/transcript.htm. Remember to allow enough time to receive your transcripts—processing takes at least 3 days (not counting mailing time).

� Staying Organized

Especially if you're applying for more than one scholarship, it is important to keep yourself organized. Keep a record of what you've done for each application.when you asked for your letters of recommendation, when you submitted your transcript request, etc.

If you use online database searches like fastweb.com or brokescholar.com, we recommend setting up a separate e-mail account just to handle your scholarship e-mails.

� Completing and Submitting Your Application

Proofread your entire application to make sure you haven't made any careless errors/typos.

Be sure to meet all deadlines—check to be sure whether the deadline printed on the application is for postmark or receipt of the application. Mail your application at least three days in advance of the postmark date. If the application must be received by a particular date, allow at least a week.

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