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Scholarships for BIPOC and Marginalized Students

America’s educational institutions are riddled with severe inequities that put people of color, including Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic/Latinx students, at a disadvantage. Compared to their white peers, BIPOC students are less likely to graduate and are underrepresented in fields like engineering, mathematics, and physical sciences. Fortunately, scholarships for higher education students from marginalized communities are available to help address these racial gaps at the beginning of the career pipeline.

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General Scholarships for BIPOC Students

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Burger King Scholars Program
BIPOC – Any Up to $50,000

The Burger King Scholars program assists employees, employees’ spouses or domestic partners, employees’ children, and high school seniors in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada in continuing their education. Awards are granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, disability, or national origin.

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Provided by Burger King McLamore Foundation

Application Deadline: Not Available
Working Toward: Any degree
Awards Available: Multiple
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: Varies based on track

This scholarship is not renewable.

This scholarship is designed to supplement financial aid and allow exceptional students to afford tuition, books, and/or housing. Awards are given without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, disability, or national origin.

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Provided by Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Application Deadline: Rolling
Working Toward: Any degree
Awards Available: Multiple
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: Varies

Most of these scholarships are not renewable.

The focus of this scholarship is on diversity in schools, communities, and workplaces. Eligible candidates must be high school juniors or seniors who show leadership skills and commitment to these goals.

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Provided by National Society of High School Scholars

Application Deadline: November
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 5
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: N/A

This scholarship is not renewable.

This scholarship, founded by Jay-Z and his philanthropist mother, aims to increase college access and success for motivated yet underserved youth and young adults. All Shawn Carter Scholars are required to give back by conducting community service and serving as mentors to younger scholars.

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Provided by Shawn Carter Foundation

Application Deadline: April
Working Toward: Bachelor degree
Awards Available: Multiple
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 2

This scholarship is renewable.

This scholarship is available to all minority students. Criteria include demonstrating financial need, showing an interest in leadership, and acceptance into a four-year undergraduate program.

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Provided by Jackie Robinson Foundation

Application Deadline: February
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Multiple
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: SAT score of 1,000 or ACT score of 21

This scholarship is renewable, through graduation.

U.S. citizens who identify as African American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific American, or Alaska Native may apply for this scholarship geared toward STEM professions. Applicants must be U.S. citizens enrolled in an accredited college/university (junior or senior year) or in a graduate program.

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Provided by Brown and Caldwell

Application Deadline: August
Working Toward: Undergraduate or Graduate degree
Awards Available: Varies
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.0

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

Through the Spectrum Scholarship Program, the American Library Association affirms its commitment to equity and diversity. The scholarships are for Black, Indigenous, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students who are pursuing a graduate degree in library and information science. Awards are based on the students’ commitment to community service and social justice.

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Provided by American Library Association

Application Deadline: March
Working Toward: Graduate degree
Awards Available: Varies
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: NA

This scholarship is not renewable.

Scholarships for Black Students

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Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Louis Stokes Health Scholars Program
Black – Any Up to $10,000

This multi-year scholarship supports students on their path to becoming a healthcare professional.

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Provided by United Health Foundation

Application Deadline: April
Working Toward: Any degree
Awards Available: 4
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3

This scholarship is renewable.

This scholarship is intended to invest in a new generation of young Black Americans, so they are ready to become leaders in our community and in our nation.

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Provided by North Central University

Application Deadline: July
Working Toward: Bachelor degree
Awards Available: 1
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: N/A

This scholarship is renewable, through graduation.

Dr. Arnita Boswell is the founder of the National Hook-Up of Black Women, Inc. and the League of Black Women. This scholarship named in her honor is for Black students who care about their community and have achieved academic excellence. Applicants must show 200 hours of community service and must be accepted into an accredited college or university.

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Provided by National Hook-Up of Black Women, Inc.

Application Deadline: February
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 1
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 2.75

This scholarship is not renewable.

The Ron Brown Scholarship is for African American students who show financial need, academic excellence, and dedication to community service. Students must be high school seniors to apply.

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Provided by Ron Brown Scholar Program

Application Deadline: January
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Multiple
Essay Required: No
GPA Required: Not Available

This scholarship is renewable, through graduation.

The Footlocker Foundation has partnered with the United Negro College Fund to create this scholarship for students planning on attending any of the 37 UNCF member colleges or universities.

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Provided by Foot Locker Foundation

Application Deadline: June
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Multiple
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 2.5

This scholarship is not renewable.

Full-time, incoming freshman at an accredited four-year institution can take advantage of this scholarship from the Jack and Jill of America Foundation. Eligible candidates must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and show unmet financial need. They also need to show 60 hours of community service in the previous year.

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Provided by Jack and Jill Foundation

Application Deadline: June
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Multiple
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.0

This scholarship is not renewable.

Fredrick Douglass was one of the most important African Americans in the history of the United States. This honorary scholarship is for students attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) nationwide who have financial need. Applicants must be seniors at an HBCU institution, demonstrate a commitment to community service, and show unmet financial need.

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Provided by UNCF

Application Deadline: October
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 1
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.5

This scholarship is not renewable.

James Weldon Johnson is the author of the poem “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is the unofficial Negro National Anthem. This scholarship, in his name, is for NAACP members under the age of 25 who are either accepted to or enrolled in an accredited college or university. In their essays, students discuss how James Weldon Johnson has affected their lives or analyze his poem.

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Provided by Poise Foundation

Application Deadline: July
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 71 per NAACP region
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 2.5

This scholarship is not renewable.

The Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships offers three $5,000 scholarships to high school seniors interested in technology. Applicants must be a high school senior and identify as African American or African. They should have an interest in technology and plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, computer information systems, or a business-related program at a four-year college or university following graduation. Applicants must demonstrate financial need in order to receive funds. The award is renewable for up to four years for a possible total of $20,000.

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Provided by Microsoft

Application Deadline: April
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 3
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.3

This scholarship is renewable, for up to four years.

This scholarship is for African American women who have been unable to reach their career goals due to family or personal responsibilities. They may be returning students or those who were never able to attend. The scholarship honors Dr. Wynetta Frazier, a leader in civil rights and champion for equity in education.

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Provided by National Hook-Up of Black Women, Inc.

Application Deadline: February
Working Toward: Undergraduate or Graduate degree
Awards Available: 2
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: Not Available

This scholarship is not renewable.

Students who are sophomores in any of the 37 UNCF member institutions can apply for this generous scholarship of up to $10,000. Students need to show financial need and dedication to community service.

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Provided by UNCF

Application Deadline: July
Working Toward: Undergraduate or Graduate degree
Awards Available: Multiple
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.0

This scholarship is renewable, through graduation.

This scholarship is in honor of Agnes Jones Jackson, who was a longtime NAACP member in San Francisco. Applicants must be members of the NAACP, under 25, and demonstrate need based on the federal poverty guidelines. Scholarships are awarded to high school seniors and current college students.

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Provided by Poise Foundation

Application Deadline: Not Available
Working Toward: Undergraduate or Graduate degree
Awards Available: 20 to 40
Essay Required: Not Available
GPA Required: 2.5 for high school students and 3.0 for college students

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

Agnes Jones Jackson, a longtime NAACP member in San Francisco, is honored in this scholarship for African Americans who want to pursue graduate study. Applicants must be current NAACP members under 25 who are enrolled or accepted to a college or university in the United States. They also must demonstrate financial need.

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Provided by Poise Foundation

Application Deadline: Not Available
Working Toward: Graduate degree
Awards Available: 20 to 40
Essay Required: Not Available
GPA Required: 3.0

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

This scholarship is for male students who are members of the NAACP majoring in engineering, chemistry, physics, or mathematical sciences. Applicants must be currently enrolled or accepted to an accredited college in the United States and pursuing a STEM degree full or part time. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. Students don’t have to be NAACP members, but membership or participation is desirable.

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Provided by Poise Foundation

Application Deadline: Not Available
Working Toward: Graduate degree
Awards Available: 20 to 40
Essay Required: Not Available
GPA Required: 3.0

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

Scholarships for Hispanic Students

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The McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship Program
Hispanic – Undergraduate Scholarship Amount is Not Available

This scholarship awards funds for college education to students with at least one parent of Hispanic heritage. In order to qualify, applicants must be a high school senior and planning to attend a two- or four-year college full time. Students must be younger than 21 years of age. Funds are sent directly to the winner’s school of choice.

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Provided by McDonald’s

Application Deadline: Not Available (application period opens in the fall)
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Not Available
Essay Required: No
GPA Required: 3.0

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

The ExxonMobil Engineering Scholarship Program recognizes Hispanic students who plan to pursue a degree in engineering. Applicants must be high school seniors who have been accepted to an engineering program. Students must be residents of selected cities in California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Washington.

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Provided by League of United Latin American Citizens (LNESC)

Application Deadline: August
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 1 national, 12 local
Essay Required: No
GPA Required: 3.5

This scholarship’s renewablity varies.

Hispanic students interested in pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree can earn awards of between $500 to $5,000. The award is open to high school seniors, undergraduate students, community college students transferring to four-year universities, and graduate students. Awards are based on merit. Applicants can be from any educational field, but science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors are highly encouraged to apply.

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Provided by Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Application Deadline: February
Working Toward: Undergraduate or Graduate degree
Awards Available: Not Available
Essay Required: Not Available
GPA Required: 2.5 for undergraduate and graduate students and 3.0 for high school students

This scholarship is not renewable.

The Hispanic Scholarship Consortium offers scholarships to Texas residents of Hispanic or Latino origin who plan to enroll in an accredited two- or four-year college or university. Scholarships are awarded based on community service, merit, and need. Applicants do not need to be U.S. citizens.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by Hispanic Scholarship Consortium

Application Deadline: April
Working Toward: Undergraduate or Graduate degree
Awards Available: Varies
Essay Required: Not Available
GPA Required: 2.5 for non-renewable, 3.0 for renewable

This scholarship’s renewablity varies.

The Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA)’s general scholarship application process allows applicants to submit one application to be considered for all undergraduate scholarship opportunities provided by corporate and individual donors. Applicants must be of Hispanic origin or have DACA status and be seeking a degree in business, accounting, finance, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Scholarship recipients must be sophomores, juniors, seniors, or graduate students enrolled at a college or university.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by Association of Latino Professionals For America

Application Deadline: May
Working Toward: Undergraduate or Graduate degree
Awards Available: 35
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.0

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

Scholarships for Indigenous Students

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Tribal College & University (TCU) Scholarship
Indigenous – Undergraduate Scholarship Amount Varies

The American Indian College Fund administers Tribal College & University (TCU) Scholarships for 35 tribal colleges and universities. The scholarships are awarded on a semester basis by each school. Applications open in January and August. Applicants must be Native American or Alaska Native students, enrolled members of a federal or state-recognized tribe, or descendants of a grandparent or parent who is an enrolled member. The scholarships are available to students enrolled at a tribal college or university.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by The American Indian College Fund

Application Deadline: Varies depending upon college
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Not Available
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: Not Available

This scholarship is not renewable.

This scholarship is provided by the Daughters of the American Revolution for Native American students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees. Applicants must identify as Native Americans and can be of any age and from any tribe. Proof of Native American heritage is required. Preference is given to undergraduate students, but all degree levels can apply. Students must demonstrate financial need and have a GPA of at least 3.25 to qualify.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by Daughters of the American Revolution

Application Deadline: January
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Not Available
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.25

This scholarship is not renewable.

Applicants for this scholarship must identify as Native Americans and provide proof of heritage. Scholarships recipients must be enrolled as full-time students at a two-year or four-year college or university, demonstrate financial need, and have a GPA of at least 3.25 to qualify. The winner is eligible to reapply for this scholarship.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by Daughters of the American Revolution

Application Deadline: January
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 1
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.25

This scholarship is renewable.

The Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars awards two scholarships each year to Native American students. Applicants must identify as Native American and be an enrolled tribal member. Students should be enrolled in an undergraduate program at an accredited college or university. Preference is given to students entering or in their junior year. Scholarship recipients should plan to work with Native Americans in the fields of education or social service.

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Provided by Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars

Application Deadline: June
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 2
Essay Required: Not Available
GPA Required: 3.0

This scholarship is renewable.

This scholarship program awards more than 200 educational grants to Native American and Alaska Native students each year. Applicants must be enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited vocational school, college, or university. Students must provide proof of tribal enrollment—either for themselves or a parent. Scholarship recipients must maintain a 2.0 GPA and provide transcripts containing their ACT scores.

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Provided by American Indian Education Fund

Application Deadline: April
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: More than 200
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 2.0

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

This scholarship awards undergraduate Native American and Alaska Native students up to $5,000 for one year of study in any field. Applicants must be enrolled members of a state or federally recognized Native American Tribe or Alaska Native Group or have ancestry of one-fourth degree Indian blood of a state or federally recognized Tribe. Undergraduate students pursuing a degree in any field full time are eligible to apply. Applicants must hold a GPA of 2.7 or higher.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by American Indian Graduate Center

Application Deadline: May
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Not Available
Essay Required: Not Available
GPA Required: 2.7

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

The American Indian Graduate Center, in partnership with Accenture, awards scholarships to students who have the potential to become leaders in Native American communities. Applicants must be enrolled members of a state or federally recognized Native American Tribe or Alaska Native Group or have ancestry of one-fourth degree Indian blood of a state or federally recognized Tribe. Students should be pursuing a degree full time in fields related to engineering, computer science, management, finance, marketing, or business. Applicants must be entering college or university as undergraduate freshmen.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by American Indian Graduate Center/Accenture

Application Deadline: May
Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Not Available
Essay Required: Not Available
GPA Required: 3.25

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

The competitive Cobell Scholarship is administered through Indigenous Education, Inc. The scholarship provides funds to postsecondary students who are enrolled members of a U.S. Federally-Recognized Tribe. Scholarships are awarded based upon merit and need. Students must be pursuing a vocational certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or postgraduate degree full time.

This scholarship is for up to $5,000 for undergraduate students or up to $10,000 for graduate students.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by Indigenous Education, Inc.

Application Deadline: Rolling for vocational / March for academic year / May for summer
Working Toward: Undergraduate or Graduate degree
Awards Available: Varies
Essay Required: No
GPA Required: No

This scholarship is not renewable.

This scholarship awards funds to Native American and Alaska Native students seeking undergraduate or graduate degrees at tribal, public, or private nonprofit colleges or universities. Applicants must be enrolled members of a federal or state recognized tribe or descendants of a grandparent or parent who is an enrolled member. Alaska Natives can use Native Corporation membership to apply. Students must be enrolled in a certificate program, college, or university full time to be considered.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by The American Indian College Fund

Application Deadline: May
Working Toward: Undergraduate or Graduate degree
Awards Available: Not Available
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 2.0

This scholarship is not renewable.

The American Indian Education Fund provides scholarships to Native American and Alaska Native graduate students pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees. Applicants must identify as Native American or Alaska Native and provide proof of tribal enrollment—either for themselves or a parent. Students must have a 2.5 GPA to be eligible to apply. Full-time and part-time graduate students can apply. Applicants must be accepted or attending an accredited school. Online degrees are not applicable.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by American Indian Education Fund

Application Deadline: April
Working Toward: Graduate degree
Awards Available: Not Available
Essay Required: No
GPA Required: 2.5

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

This graduate-level scholarship is funded by the Bureau of Indian Education and administered through the American Indian Graduate Center. The award is for Native American and Alaska Native graduate and professional students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Applicants must be enrolled members of a federally recognized Native American Tribe or Alaska Native Group or have ancestry of one-fourth degree Indian blood of a federally recognized Tribe. Students should be pursuing a graduate or professional degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields full time.

This scholarship is for $20,000 to $30,000 for graduate students or $1,200 to $10,000 for professional students.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by American Indian Graduate Center/ Bureau of Indian Education

Application Deadline: June
Working Toward: Graduate degree
Awards Available: Varies
Essay Required: Not Available
GPA Required: Not Available

This scholarship’s renewablity is unavailable.

Tips for Finding Scholarships from Nancy Parode

Nancy Parode

Nancy Parode teaches history, literature, and related subjects at a home school tutorial in Bowie, Maryland. She also serves as the tutorial’s college counselor. Her freelance writing career includes experience in researching and summarizing college programs, scholarship opportunities, and true costs of college attendance.

Finding a Scholarship

1. First, it’s worth the time to search and apply for scholarships, not only those specifically for BIPOC but also general scholarships and scholarships with particular requirements, such as place of residence, field of study, or veteran status. There are plenty of scholarships for BIPOC out there, but there is, unfortunately, also a great deal of need, so it is important to pursue all your options.

2. Although some students do apply to schools specifically because those schools offer generous financial aid packages, I do try to encourage students to look at other factors and create a list of schools they would like to attend. Once that list is complete, students can then contact each school’s diversity office and financial aid office to learn more about that school’s scholarship opportunities. This will have the added benefit of showing the college or university that you are truly interested in attending. Colleges closely track student interest, so you will boost your chances of admission by asking for information about minority scholarships. Contacting academic departments to learn more about departmental scholarships is a good idea, too.

3. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the way you will gain access to scholarships that are sponsored by individual colleges and universities. Private organizations and nonprofits that sponsor scholarships sometimes ask for FAFSA data, too. And often you can’t get a needs-based scholarship unless you show that you have applied for federal aid and either didn’t receive it or didn’t receive enough.

4. Don’t confine your scholarship search to scholarships for BIPOC. Yes, you should definitely search for these scholarships, but you will increase your chances of receiving scholarships if you also apply for scholarships that are open to all students. There are so many kinds of scholarships out there; you may find that there are scholarships for students in particular degree programs, such as nursing or ministry, or scholarships for people who live in your state or county. This is where the scholarship search websites can really come in handy.

Applying for Scholarships

1. I always tell students that setting up a tracking system will save them time and reduce the stress that goes along with applying for scholarships. If you create a good system, whether it is a spreadsheet, smartphone app, or file drawer, you can arrange information by due date—very important—and keep tabs on which documents you have submitted and which essays you have written.

Use your tracking system to list the documents you will need to assemble for your scholarship applications. These could include essays, a résumé, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and test scores as well as community-specific documents. If you ask someone to write a letter of recommendation for you, that person will appreciate receiving a list of your accomplishments and academic and career goals. Recommenders receive many requests from students, and your courteous gesture will make their task easier and speed up their writing process.

2. Deadlines are critical. If you miss one, or your supporting documentation does not arrive on time, you will not be considered for that scholarship. This goes for transcripts and letters of recommendation, too, so request those documents early in the scholarship application process. If something goes wrong, such as a recommender who becomes ill and cannot write your letter on time, contact the scholarship’s sponsor right away to discuss the situation.

3. As you write your essays, be sure you are reading the prompts correctly and responding to them, not to a nonexistent prompt. Carefully read the application, too, so you are sure you are filling it out correctly. Contact the scholarship’s sponsoring organization if you have questions. Keep in mind that nearly all college advising is being conducted remotely, so you will have to make inquiries by email. Allow the scholarship counselor several days to get back to you. (Yes, this is another plug for using a tracking system and paying attention to deadlines.)

4. Proofread everything. Ask someone else who is a strong writer to proofread everything, too. The scholarship application process is a competition, so you should make every effort to ensure that your application and essays are error-free.