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Apply for scholarships now, thank yourself later

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The ASU Scholarship Portal for the 2020–21 academic year opened on Sept. 1. Welcome to crunch time. We spoke to Courtney Morris, a financial aid manager in the Financial Aid and Scholarship Services office about any advice and tips she has for you as you start the process. Check out her advice before you apply — you’ll thank yourself later.

What advice do you have for students applying for scholarships?

Be mindful of deadlines! Most scholarship deadlines occur between Jan. 1 and March 1, 2020. There are exceptions to this, but the vast majority of scholarships will follow this standard timeline as donors generally like to have scholars selected in advance of the coming school year. Students who begin their scholarship search after these deadlines will find fewer opportunities.

What should students have prepared before they start applying for scholarships?

It’s a good idea to have a resume and list of volunteer, internship and student organization activities you’ve participated in throughout the past school year. Some students have had success in drafting a personal statement including their background, goals and contributions they hope to make in society after college, which they can then tailor to specific scholarship opportunities or essay prompts.

What about letters of recommendation?

Some scholarships require recommendations, so it’s always a good idea to have one or two people in mind who may be able to provide one. These should be individuals you know in a professional capacity, such as professors, advisors, employers or community organization leaders.  

It is also important to give recommenders enough notice prior to a scholarship deadline so that they have time to draft a quality letter. We usually recommend two to three weeks. When students ask me for a letter of recommendation, I always request a current resume and personal statement as well as details about the scholarship, so be ready to provide those items.

Are there any open scholarships that have early deadlines?

Some current opportunities include:

What about after the portal opens?

Stay tuned for a number of opportunities opening after Sept. 1, including general scholarships from several of our larger schools and colleges, opportunities for both residents and nonresidents such as the Sun Devil Family Scholarship ($5,000) and CLAS First Generation scholarships like the Faire Elizabeth Virgin Sax Scholarship ($10,000). We also have opportunities for incoming transfer students including the ASU Retirees Association Re-Entry Scholarship and the ASU Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship.

Good luck on your applications, Sun Devils. If you have more questions, ASU offers lots of resources to support you in your scholarship search and throughout the application process. And you can always ask us your questions, too. Now go get that money!


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