Applying for scholarships can be intimidating. There are hundreds of them out there and figuring out which ones you qualify for, then correctly completing the requirements for each one, can be quite confusing. Sometimes, students even wonder if they should submit an application. But the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” To help ease some of the anxiety and confusion, applicants often find themselves in need of tips and suggestions.

First and foremost, do your homework. Finding scholarships takes time and research. Good places to start are in your guidance counselor’s office, the local library and online. Sara Glickman of Silver Spring, Md. is a recent scholarship recipient who successfully applied for a national scholarship. Glickman was surfing the Internet and looking at college scholarship information when she came across the Target All-Around Scholarship.

Glickman knew her strong volunteering background with organizations like the American Cancer Society, Race for the Cure, her college’s community service fraternity, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars gave her a shot at the scholarship.

While Glickman’s scholarship application materials mentions her work with various local volunteer organizations, her essay focused on one specific project — “Living Journals” — a program Glickman started when her grandmother was in a local hospice to record her memories, stories and conversations. Other patients soon were asking Glickman to help make recordings of their family’s memories, and she even expanded her services to nearby nursing home facilities. The Living Journals project continues to be a special project for Glickman, one she continues to be involved in which is near and dear to her heart.

Glickman’s focused essay impressed the scholarship committee, and she was selected as one of the Target All-Around Scholarship winners.

“We believe it’s important to recognize aspiring leaders for their volunteerism and academic achievements,” says Laysha Ward, vice president, community relations, Target Corporation. “In line with our company’s commitment to community service, the Target All-Around Scholarship program awards young people who have given back and have made a visible difference in their communities.”

Following are some tips for writing a winning scholarship application essay:

Narrow The Topic. Before tackling an essay question, create a list of possible topics, ranking the ideas in order of interest, and selecting the one that is most important to you. Narrowing the topic down to one activity or experience ensures that your essay will be clear and concise.

Be Passionate. Most of us have a hard time writing good things about ourselves. But when writing your scholarship essay, it’s important to talk about yourself and the things that are important to you. Chances are, if you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into a particular activity, then you’re passionate about it. Make sure your essays reflect this and explain how your participation has affected you.

Edit. Revise. Re-write. You should never submit a first-draft as a final product. Make sure you review your essay, revise it, and have someone close to you read over your work.

Identify References Early. Many scholarship applications require an endorsement from someone familiar with you and your accomplishments. Select a person who knows you well and will be an advocate about your commitment. Make sure you give this person plenty of time to complete their letter, and be sure to send them a hand-written thank you note afterwards.

Be Timely. Every application has a deadline. No matter how great your application is, if you don’t honor the deadline your application won’t be considered. Make sure to allow enough time to request and receive your transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any other supporting documents.

Like Glickman, if you are a college-bound senior or an active undergrad, age 24 or younger who spends a lot of time volunteering in your community, you are eligible to apply for Target’s All-Around Scholarship. The company awards one $25,000 scholarship and more than six-hundred $1,000 scholarships to applicants nationwide.

Applications are due November 1, 2004. For application materials please call (800) 316-6142, visit your local Target store or go to and click on “Community Giving.”

Courtesy of ARA Content