Tips for Writing a Strong Application

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  • ANSWER the questions being asked. Make sure you understand what you are being asked on the application and thoroughly, but concisely, answer the questions.
  • Give CONCRETE examples of why you are interested in the particular project/work. Abstract explanations won’t catch the attention of the decision committee.
  • USE correct grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Your application may be the only factor a decision committee uses in choosing whether to select you.
  • EDIT your essays. Make sure that you review what you have written and ask someone else to review them as well. A simple mistake can make a bad impression on the decision committee.
  • KEEP your essays to the page/word limits given. Squeezing another paragraph onto the page by decreasing your font size drastically will be noticed. If the decision committee has placed a word/page limit on an essay, there is a reason.
  • REMEMBER you are one of many applying for the grant/scholarship/fellowship. Present only your best work and find a way to distinguish yourself from others who may be applying.
  • TAILOR your application to the selection criteria. For example, if one of the selection criteria is "commitment to public service," make sure to focus on your commitment to public service.
  • REVIEW your materials one last time before turning them in. If there are any mistakes your application may not be as competitive as others.
  • START EARLY! Don’t wait until the last minute to begin your application. The more time that you give yourself, the better your application will be. Starting early will allow time for feedback from others and editing your application.
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