Tips on How to Complete a Successful Application
Let us help you make the best possible application you can! Here are some tips on completing a successful application.
Outline of Proposed Research
Common Scholarship Application Mistakes
- Follow the instructions very carefully.
- READ THE APPLICATION GUIDELINES AND TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY.
- Follow all rules concerning font size, line spacing, margins, page limits, etc.
- Failure to follow the guidelines can result in an ineligible application
- pages that exceed the specified limit may be discarded without your knowledge.
Complete every section that applies to you.
- Follow all the rules regarding font size, line spacing, margins, and any other additional requirements. Failure to follow the guidelines can result in an ineligible (or a disadvantaged) application.
- Write clearly and concisely for a general audience.
- Avoid jargon and technical language.
- Define any acronyms or abbreviations the first time they are used.
The selection committee members may not have specialized knowledge of your particular area of research. You will need to convey to the reviewers answers to the following questions:
- What issues will the research address?
- Why is this issue important?
- What is already known about the issue?
- How is your approach innovative? How will it advance knowledge in the field?
- Why are you qualified to carry out the research?
For most fields of research, you should provide a testable hypothesis (ie. one overriding great idea) and then outline the specific objectives that will be used to address it.
Avoid jargon and technical language - write your proposal for a general audience. Be sure to define any acronyms or abbreviations the first time they are used - reviewers do not want to read about a "TNS" device seven times in a proposal not knowing what it means!
- Use short sentences whenever possible.
- Vary sentence length within paragraphs to avoid monotony.
- Do not use a big word where a smaller word will do.
- Submit all post secondary transcripts (whether you completed the program or not).
- In some instances unofficial transcripts are accepted. If Unsure check with the Research Awards Facilitator.
- Choose wisely: ask your prospective referees if they can give you a strong reference. A strong letter of support provides concrete, behaviour-based examples of your strengths and personal attributes. To assist your referees, provide them with a copy of your application, CV, transcripts and samples of previous work.
- Give your referees lots of time – you don’t want them writing letters at the last minute.
- Check with your referee about a week before the deadline to ensure that your reference has not been forgotten.
- A good referee has known you for at least two years. If you are applying for an award after completing a graduate degree or during a graduate program, it is important to provide a letter of support from your supervisor.
- A good letter of support provides concrete, behaviour-based examples of your strengths and personal attributes.
- Check in with your referees about a week before the deadline just to ensure that your reference has not been forgotten.
- Academic Excellence – as demonstrated by academic transcripts, awards and distinctions. Reviewers tend to give credit for steadily improving or consistently good performance.
- Research Ability & Potential – quality of analytical skills, ability to think critically, ability to apply skills and knowledge, judgment, originality, initiative and autonomy, determination and ability to complete projects within an appropriate time period – as demonstrated in the description of the program of study, work experience, research contributions, reference forms/letters and the departmental appraisal.
- Interpersonal, leadership and communication skills – reviewers will assess evidence of leadership both within university and outside; communication skills as evidenced by publications, presentations; and interpersonal skills as evidenced by reference letters and other work experience.
Reviewers only know what they see on paper. If you want the reviewers to know something about you, it needs to show up somewhere in the application materials.
Reviewers will evaluate your achievement relative to their expectations for someone at your stage of training.
These are some common mistakes that students have made; however they have drastic consequences, mostly resulting in disqualification from the scholarship or awards to which one is trying to apply. Please check this list before submitting your application!
Applications submitted to the combined CIHR/NSERC/SSHRC competition shall be removed from the competition for any of the following reasons, if:
- the application form or the free-form pages are handwritten,
- two reference forms or letters are not submitted with the application,
- transcripts from any of the institutions listed in the academic history of the application are missing,
- the free-form pages are not submitted with the application,
- the free-form pages are not correctly formatted (according to the requirements listed in the application instructions, including font size and margins).
If the application exceeds the page limits listed in the instructions, the additional pages will be removed.
These Scholarship Tips have been compiled from:
UBC Okanagan College of Graduate Studies web site: http://web.ubc.ca/okanagan/gradstudies/finance/external/Granting_Council_Awards/mistakes.html
UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies web site: