Outreach Toolkit: Write Winning Applications for Scholarships and Internships

Looking for the secret recipe to receive a UNCF scholarship? You already have what it takes, but we can help you tailor your thoughts with a few simple steps.

Check all basic eligibility requirements

One common mistake of applicants is that they do not read through the qualifications of the scholarship or internship. Those who do not read carefully may spend time applying for an opportunity that they are not eligible for.

Beat the deadline and submit all required documents, including recommendations!

Whether you are a planner or a procrastinator, follow these tips for you to beat the deadline.

  • Set YOUR deadline to be earlier than the actual deadline
  • Do the tasks that take the most time first—in other words, write your essay or make your video first!
  • Make sure all required documents are submitted by the deadline posted on the scholarship pages. This includes submitting all your recommendations. Contact the people you asked to write your recommendations and make sure they get their letters to you on time! If the person does not submit the letter of recommendation by the application deadline, your application is incomplete!

Address all components of your essays

Some applications will ask for an essay or personal statement. Most applications will request that you address certain questions or topics in your essay. Make sure you address every question and every topic. Failure to address all components will detract from a winning essay.

Your recommender should highlight skills based on the program

You want your recommender to write the best reference possible. Help them to help you!

  • Send them the link to the scholarship or internship you are applying for.
  • Share with them why you are interested in the opportunity and why you think you are a good candidate (a resume` always helps).
  • Be sure they know the deadline for completing and submitting their recommendation.

Describe your leadership skills and the impact of your activities

Yes! You are wonderful and have demonstrated great leadership skills and have been involved with many activities. Now tell us details about your impact:

  • How many times a week were you engaged in the activities?
  • How many people did you help?
  • What were the results of your leadership actions?

Be realistic with your self-appraisal

Make sure that you articulate realistic goals. For example, if you want to be a medical doctor, don’t write that you dislike science! Make sure your statements reflect your goals.


UNCF’s Outreach College Readiness Toolkit provides tips on how to apply to colleges, qualify for scholarships and more!