I’ve been looking at a lot of this year’s scholarship applications lately and I wanted to give three tips about things that stick out to me. The first two are minor pet peeves and are things are not going to be the reason why you did or didn’t get a scholarship offer (at least I don’t think so), but they will help make your application just a little more efficient. The last is fairly significant and you need to focus on this one.
Essays and formatting
It’s always a good idea to write and edit your essay before you load it into the essay boxes on the application website. This will allow you to check grammar and spelling and really think about what you are writing. I’ve noticed that if you save your essay in a .doc or .docx when you paste it into your application it sometimes generates some formatting issues in the system I see applications in (CCIMM). I’ve tested this out with my application. I recommend you save your essays in a .txt format before you cut and paste to the application. It will look cleaner and reduce any formatting issues with from a word processing app.
A couple tips about the email address you list on your application. First, the obvious thing is to make sure it’s appropriate and conveys seriousness. firstname.lastname@example.org is not going to make someone think you are the next General Patton.
I occasionally see an email address that is obviously a parent’s or family email address. When I see those, the first thing that goes through my mind is to wonder why this future Army Officer doesn’t have his own email address. Makes me jump to some conclusions that may not be true.
The last email issue I’ll mention is using a school email. A name@central.CSD.org type email address is obviously a school email address. That’s fine in most cases, but once the school year ends and you have graduated and Cadet Command is still sending emails about your medical status or confirming you accepted your scholarship offer and you no longer check that email there could be issues. If you have to use that school email address, at least make sure you establish a new email and update it with Cadet Command once you graduate and lose access to that address.
I’m not endorsing any product, but establishing a free email address with google or outlook or apple and making sure you check it regularly (as a minimum once a day) is what I recommend.
Sports and Activities
This one is not so minor. On the application there is an activities tab. On this tab you are going to identify the Scholar/Athlete/Leader activities you do. I’ve been reviewing a lot of application and every so often I’ll see an application where there are some sports listed, but no activities. A few applicants every year miss the activities portion of this tab. When you click the yes button for either of the two questions you will get a drop down menu of possible answers.
When I’m reviewing a file with an applicant I’ll highlight two that are mentioned right on the tab, but applicants often miss.
First, it says it’s important for you to indicate all activities you participate in. This is how your application generates points, and this is what the PMS who interviews you and what the board members will see that hopefully convinces them you are worthy of a high score, and subsequently a scholarship offer. Don’t make anything up, but make sure you check all the boxes you can. And if you do something that you can’t find a box to click then mention it in the additional information box on the essay tab.
Second, use that additional information box to explain or highlight sports or activities you checked boxes on. There is a box for volunteer hours. If you click that box, but don’t explain the board has no way of knowing whether you volunteer to sit in front of your TV and watch cartoons or if you volunteer to deliver Covid vaccines. Use all the white space to tell your story.
Hope that all helps. If you are an applicant leave me a comment and let me know how the process is going for you.