Planning to Apply

The Scholar Development office has the experience to help you plan and organize your scholarship application, so your first step should be to contact us well in advance of the deadline.  Some scholarships can take months or years to prepare effectively, so it is imperative to seek advice as soon as possible.

  • Choose a scholarship for which you are eligible and have plenty of time to prepare.
  • Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the application requirements. 
  • Mark all deadlines on your personal calendar and plan accordingly—note the difference between a postmark and a receipt deadline.
  • Request letters of recommendation as early as possible and provide writers with plenty of information about you and the scholarship to which you are applying. 
  • Assemble application materials, such as transcripts and test scores, well ahead of the deadline. 
  • Ask respected advisors to proof your application essays for style and content.

Personal Development

Scholarship committees are looking for well-rounded, civically-engaged scholars with a passion for learning and sharing. Here are a few suggestions on how to develop into a first-rate scholar-leader: 

  • Challenge yourself by taking a diversity of courses outside your major. Expanding your academic experience with courses from a wide range of fields deepens your understanding and improves your ability to engage others in stimulating conversation.
  • Pursue research in an area that interests you. OSU is a comprehensive research institution with many funding opportunities that can help undergraduates develop and implement a project of their own.
  • Become active in the community by volunteering for a non-profit organization that means something to you. A passion for service is part of being a positive member of society.
  • Get to know your instructors. Talk to your professors and advisors about your interests and opportunities for enrichment. These people will be your best source of recommendation letters when competing for scholarships.
  • Develop your writing and speaking proficiency by taking courses in the humanities—especially if your major is in the sciences. Strong language and communication skills are critical to compelling essays and interviews.
  • Inform yourself on current events by reading serious newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times and The Economist. Vigorous recreational reading habits will also contribute to your development as an educated citizen of the world.
  • Pursue internships or work in your field of study. Activities related to your major evidence a genuine interest in your choice of academic courses.
  • Look into study abroad opportunities to help you become a knowledgeable member of the global community. You can also take part in the many cultural events on campus.
  • Step up to a leadership role in a campus organization. Make sure that your participation is genuine and that you are committed to the task.
  • Apply for institutional scholarships before pursuing a major national or international competition. Even if you do not win, the experience preparing for the competition will prove beneficial.
  • Think about your academic and personal goals and consult with a trusted advisor about the best way to achieve them. The Scholar Development office is always open to provide direction to what can often seem like a hectic and overwhelming process.
  • Go for it! Many students feel that they are not up to the task of competing for prestigious scholarships, such as the Rhodes or Marshall; but anyone with enough drive and ambition should be encouraged to pursue their dreams. People are not born great scholars; they are developed with hard-work and determination.