Every year, scholarship providers receive hundreds of applications. These are meticulously collected, read through, and discussed, before likely candidates are shortlisted and interview invitations sent out. After the interviews and examinations comes another round of discussion and debate before one or two individuals are selected for the prestigious offer.
As organisations only start reviewing applications after the deadline has passed, your application will be reviewed no matter how early or late you submit as long as it was within the stipulated timeframe. This makes it even easier for your submission to get lost in the crowd.
So, if all you did is submit an application through BrightSparks and then sit back and wait, you will likely be overlooked along with all the other candidates that did the same.
Luckily, there are ways to stand out as an applicant that help ensure your application gets a more thorough look-over. While nothing can guarantee that you get a scholarship, these actions will help you stand out as memorable, passionate, and enthusiastic to join, all of which the scholarship review committee will appreciate.
1. Doing an internship with the organisation
Internships are the Number One way to Get Noticed. You will be technically employed by the organisation and have all the opportunities to stand out right away. Network with your peers and superiors, make sure your work is great, and who knows? Scholarship providers have been known to recommend worthy interns apply for their scholarships, giving them a leg up in the vetting process.
2. Attending seminars, talks and experience days
If you are interested in more than one organisation or have other commitments, it may be difficult to commit to the duration of a full internship. In that case, try to attend as many events as possible. Scholarship providers often host information sessions and experience days to introduce themselves to potential applicants, so sign up and attend! There is also our BrightSparks Virtual Fair, a gathering point for sponsoring organisations to meet great prospective candidates.
3. Taking advantage of every opportunity to network
In all these experiences, it is vital to not be a passive recipient but an active applicant. If you are doing an internship, do not simply be content with completing your work. Make an effort to meet people, take on projects, lead teams, hand out your name card or LinkedIN profile, and let it be known that you want the scholarship and why. The same goes for event attendance. The key is to be memorable – someone who is engaged and involved, with a passion for the organisation and its cause.
4. Keeping in touch
Relationships are not a one-off event. They require constant care and maintenance, so make sure you check in with your professional network regularly. There is no need to be pushy or write long emails, but a simple message asking about application dates and progress will help the scholarship reviewer remember your name.