Frequently Asked Scholarship Application Questions

Scholarship FAQs

What type of scholarships are available?

There are all types of scholarships available ranging from partial scholarships (which cover some tuition and fees) to full-ride scholarships (which cover the duration of your studies). The majority of scholarships are designed to cover tuition, books, and fees.

Example Scholarship Types:

Merit-based – based on grades, cumulative GPA, and test scores

Degree specific – based on the college degree you are seeking and enrollment status

Demographic-based – based on race, gender, age, etc.

Regional – based on where you live or grew up

Needs-based – determined by your financial needs (usually FAFSA information)

Achievements – determined from participation in clubs, sports, and academic competitions, etc.

Non-traditional – either based on your gender and degree selection or age

First-generation – based off immediate family member’s college completion

Others – single-parent, marital status, left-handed, red hair, vegetarian, location

What are my chances of gaining a scholarship?

While some scholarships have very specific criteria to apply, other scholarships are completely open-ended. For example, the CEI Foundation has over 250 scholarships available each year and allocates approximately $250,000 during the annual award cycle (one academic year).  Many of the scholarship awards at CEI are open-ended scholarships awarded to students who complete the general scholarship application.

Please consider the number of qualified applicants when applying for a scholarship. For example, a scholarship offered by Dr. Pepper off of Facebook is likely to have 100,000+ applicants, while local high schools, colleges, and companies usually have fewer applicants (<1,000). Students are encouraged to apply for scholarships on the local level for the best opportunity to be awarded.

Examples of Local Scholarships:

Idaho School District Education Foundation Scholarships
District 93 Education Foundation
Idaho Governor’s Cup Scholarship
Idaho Falls Mayor’s Promise B Scholarship
Idaho Falls Mayor’s Senior Scholarship
Idaho Opportunity Scholarship
Blackfoot Rotary Club Scholarship
Bingham County Mayor Scholarship
District 7 Rodeo Scholarship
Eastern Idaho Junior Miss Scholarship
4-H Club Scholarship
Brody Newman Scholarship
Or others from local companies or businesses

How do I know if I am eligible to apply?

Eligibility for a scholarship depends on the criteria listed within the scholarship application or on the organization’s website. You will know if you are eligible to apply by reading the description and requirements. If you have any questions about whether or not certain criteria apply to you, then it is best to contact the scholarship organization directly. Remember, only complete applications are considered.

What should I submit with my scholarship application?

Students are encouraged to read the requirements outlined for the scholarship to which they are applying. Most scholarship applications include an information sheet and may ask for additional materials such as a personal statement/essay and a letter(s) of recommendation. The criteria for these items are usually outlined within the application. Please make sure to follow the application instructions carefully.

If the application requests documentation in order to apply (i.e. official transcript, high school diploma or GED Certificate, or proof of acceptance), please consider the timelines that may take place in order to obtain this documentation from other institutions (summer break, or holidays). All components of the application need to be submitted before the deadline. If you have questions, contact information is usually located within the application.

What should be included in my scholarship essay?

Students are encouraged to use this opportunity to make themselves stand out. The majority of scholarship committees want to know why they should fund you over the other applicants that have applied. Use your essay to mention your academic achievements, interests, life struggles, etc. Proper grammar and format should be used when writing essays. Often, committees will score applications based on the student’s ability to write and spell. Essays that are written well and have been edited, typically score higher. Please do not use text lingo or acronyms in your essays.

Learn more

Who should I ask to write my letter of recommendation?

Always refer to the requirements on the scholarship application. Most applications require a letter of recommendation from a non-family member. Some examples of non-family members are employers, teachers, tutors, counselors, coaches, church leaders, close family friends, etc.

Please allow plenty of time for the person you ask to write the letter. The more time you allow the more likely you are to receive a strong letter of recommendation. It is best to tell the person writing your letter about the deadline and request it be turned in as far in advance as possible.

Get a letter of recommendation request template

When is the best time to apply for scholarship?

It depends on the scholarship. Some scholarships are awarded to all high school levels, while others have specific timelines that students can apply. For college and university-specific scholarships, the best time to apply is your senior year of high school. Please remember most deadlines are between December-April.  Students are encouraged to re-apply every year, throughout their college career.

How are scholarships evaluated and awarded?

Most scholarships are evaluated on a blind process. This means the student’s name and identification are removed from the application, and scores are based on essay and letter of recommendation content.  Most committees have several people evaluate each application at random. Scores will be determined by answering all questions completely, grammar, spelling, and formatting in both the personal statement and letter of recommendation.

What are scholarship scams and how do I avoid them?

Scholarship scams can be hard for students to spot. Most scholastic scholarships are offered by a well-known or local business or organization. A student should NEVER have to pay a fee to complete an application. Nor should a student have to download any software, complete a credit card application or donate body parts to receive the scholarship. Please use careful judgment and always ask questions if you are concerned. Most scholarship opportunities will have a URL ending in .edu, .gov, .org, rather than .com.

Can I apply to a scholarship before I have been accepted to a college or university?

Yes, however, it depends on the scholarship. Some scholarships have strict timelines listed within the scholarship criteria. Refer to the application for timelines to apply. For example, some scholarships are awarded to students throughout their high school duration (ex. Mayor’s Scholarship, 4-H, athletic, club, etc.). Other scholarships require a student to be accepted to the school before the scholarship can be awarded. A student may apply for scholarships prior to acceptance to the school but should complete the acceptance process before the scholarship deadline.

In order to receive your scholarship funds, most organizations will require proof of acceptance, registration, or other documentation before the money will be released. Please consider the timelines to obtain this documentation from other institutions and ask for it before school is out of session.