Scholarships can be an important factor in attending and paying for business school. Here’s a guide to help you prepare for applying for a scholarship.
Complete an Application (Print or Online)
Everything starts with the scholarship application. Most schools will offer an application in both print and online formats. Choose the format that is most comfortable to you. If you decide on a print application, be sure to print legibly with black or blue ink.
Check the eligibility requirements for a scholarship before you put in the time and effort to apply. Do you meet the criteria? If you don’t, will you meet it in the future? If you’re in doubt about specific requirements, contact the entity sponsoring the scholarship with your questions.
Read the scholarship application carefully and follow all of the instructions. Include only requested items or materials with you application packet.
What is the deadline for the scholarship? Is it offered annually or several times a year? Be sure to give yourself adequate time to fill out the application and gather supporting materials. It’s always better to apply early than to wait until the last minute.
Standardized Test Scores
Most scholarships will require you to report the results of standardized test scores. The most common test for business school scholarships is the Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT. The GMAT is a standardized test that measures your ability to succeed in a graduate school setting. Check the minimum score requirement for each scholarship you apply for. If you’re a foreign (non-U.S.) student, you may need to include your TOEFL score.
You may need to provide official transcripts to the scholarship committee from every college or university you have previously attended.
Do you have references lined up? You may need to provide up to three people (professors or employers) who can provide recommendations for you. Be sure to use people who will provide positive feedback on your background and abilities. Ask them before you apply if they are willing to provide letters of reference for you.
Have you updated your resume? You may need to include an up-to-date resume with your most current professional and academic experience. Your resume is a snapshot of you who you are. It doesn’t have every single detail, but it does provide an important overview of your skills and abilities.
Many scholarships will include one or more essay questions. Take your time to complete a concise and informative answer. Pay attention to expected word count.
Prepare for the scholarship interview. As you prepare, think about potential questions from the scholarship committee. Why do you need this scholarship? How will it benefit you? What type of career are you interested in? Practice your answers. Create your elevator pitch. Imagine you’re in an elevator with Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. You have five minutes. Describe yourself.
Proofread the Materials
Once you’re completed your application and gathered or requested the supporting materials, review your application packet. Have you included everything? Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes? Proofread everything before you send it off.