A First-timers Look at Scholarship Applications

From the editor:

Lunch Pail Defense Foundation WIN In the spring of 2011, I was honored to be asked to serve on the first scholarship review committee for the Lunch Pail Defense Foundation.

Founded by Virginia Tech Football Coach Bud Foster as a non-profit scholarship organization, the Lunch Pail Defense fund awards academic, financial need, and character-based scholarships to graduating high school students in the New River Valley of Virginia.

Having reviewed more than 20 scholarship applications, during the inaugural cycle, I now understand, and appreciate, the advice from scholarship experts regarding how important it is to pay attention to details. While 20 apps may be a small number compared to the number of apps received by better-known scholarship programs, an omission, a misspelled word, or simply not following the directions can result in an almost immediate rejection. Why take that risk when you need money to go to college? 

At the very least, scholarship applicants should:

1. Complete the Application. Make sure no fields are left blank. If you are inclined to leave a field blank because it does not apply to you, enter "N/A" for not applicable. 

2. Use a Spelling Checker. Make it a habit to do so with every change made to your document. 

3. Proofread Everything. Better yet, have someone else proofread the scholarship application and essay. Every high school student applying for college admissions or scholarships can certainly find a guidance counselor, teacher, or other professional to review the application prior to submission. Don't be afraid to ask someone to proof your application. In my experience, most people are more than willing to help. 

I know that as the Lunch Pail Defense Foundation grows and expands to other areas of the state, the number of applications will increase and we'll be paying close attention to the details, so you do, too! With every type of scholarship you may apply for, whether  locally or nationally funded, academic, need-based, or merit, the details matter.

You can read more about Bud Foster's Lunch Pail Defense Foundation on Handshake 2.0 or visit the foundation's web site: LunchPailDefense.com.