Adam Goldwater knows all about scholarships. A careers evening at school opened his eyes to the number of scholarships out there for the taking. An aspiring horticulture student, he discovered a cluster of horticulture scholarships available on Massey University’s website.

He applied, and was successful in securing the Zespri and Horticulture New Zealand scholarships in his first year at university. The following year he won three more scholarships, each helping to relieve some of the financial burden of university study.

“I didn’t have a part-time job during my degree, only during the summer,” said Adam. “When going to uni, you have to pay quite high fees, but it means you can come out pretty much debt-free if you work hard and keep getting scholarships.”

5 steps to scholarship success

Step 1: Know what’s on offer

Most libraries provide free access to the givME database. Get to know the full range of scholarships available to you so you don’t miss out on anything.

Step 2: Make sure you qualify

Read through the scholarship information carefully to make sure you meet the criteria. Make a list of the scholarships you are qualified to apply for.

Step 3: Gather your information

To apply for a scholarship, you will most likely need to fill out forms and supply documents to support your application. You need to collect, make copies of, and certify all the necessary documents to support your application. You may also be asked to attend an interview with the selection panel.

Step 4: Make a good impression

A sloppy, late or incomplete application might cause the selection panel to think that the scholarship is not important to you or that you are not really interested. Allow yourself plenty of time to put care and effort into your application. Try to do everything you can to show that you are deserving of the award. Be tidy, be thorough and be timely.

Step 5: Do a final check

Check, check, and recheck. Use this checklist to make sure you are ready to submit your application:

  • Fill in the application forms carefully.
  • Check for spelling mistakes.
  • Provide all the necessary supporting documents.
  • Get copies of documents certified.
  • Meet the closing date.
  • Make copies of every application sent.
  • Provide current contact details.
  • Get someone to check over your application – they might pick up something you’ve missed.

Adapted from Careers New Zealand.

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