Pro Tips for Submitting a Scholarship Application

The start of a new year can be an incredibly busy time for students. January and February are typically when graduating high school seniors are applying to colleges and determining the type of financial support they’re able to receive for post-secondary education. Students already in college are often seeking additional financial support, as well.

Finding the right scholarship(s) for your circumstances can seem overwhelming and stressful but is equally exciting if you’re able to find the right opportunity! Partnership With Native Americans appreciates the dedication of its American Indian Education Fund (AIEF) scholars and works diligently to provide support whenever possible, especially during “scholarship season.”

The 2020 AIEF scholarship application deadline is April 4, but students can score an extra point if their application is postmarked by March 1.

We’ve gathered several tips based on feedback from our scholarship committee to assist students who are seeking to apply for an AIEF or other scholarship this year:

1. Determine whether you are eligible.

Carefully review scholarship guidelines – it’s no fun putting work into something if you aren’t eligible. To be eligible to apply for an AIEF scholarship as an undergraduate or graduate student, you must be:  

  • Native American, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian (student or one parent must be enrolled and able to provide documentation)
  • Attending an accredited two or four-year college or university or technical/vocational school as an undergraduate student, or accepted to an accredited graduate school as a graduate student (online schools, summer programs and ABD do not qualify)
  • Enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student for the entire school year, or a part-time or full-time graduate student (level of scholarship funding is dependent on the number of credits for which you are enrolled)

2. Read the fine print.

Applications vary so be sure to review and respond to all required elements, including supplemental materials, how documents should be ordered and presented, how to submit the application (online vs. by mail), etc.

3. Dedicate time to your essay.

A scholarship essay is arguably the most important part of the application because it’s where reviewers can gain a better sense of the student. Reviewers also note which students follow directions regarding subject matter, length and font size as attention to detail is important. AIEF provides an essay guideline and urges each applicant to expand on the details they provide as it relates to their community involvement form (page 4 of the AIEF application).

4. Ensure your application is complete.

It’s extremely important to ensure all application materials are complete and submitted with all the required supplemental materials. One of the most common oversights from students applying for an AIEF scholarship is an incomplete application – whether it’s a missing photo, a signature, sending your transcripts separately, or opting out of completing a portion of the application. Unfortunately, these mishaps can determine whether a student moves forward in the scholarship selection process.

If you have a question about the AIEF scholarship or process, please contact PWNA at 1-866-866-8642 or visit our FAQ page. We hope this information is helpful as you embark on completing your scholarship applications!

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