Applying for Scholarships

Applying for Scholarships

Application Components

The application process and requirements vary slightly for each scholarship program, but they all share the following basic components.

Academic Proposal/Statement of Purpose

This is usually the crux of any application and spells out in detail what you want to do, and why, where, how, and when you want to do it. It is normally not longer than two pages. The proposal should also show:

  • How well you are prepared for the project.
  • That whatever you intend to do is a natural follow through on what you’ve already been doing.
  • How it fits into your future goals.

The project must be feasible, well-researched, and carefully thought out, and your proposed study/research must have intellectual merit. The essay itself must be well-written! Be prepared for many re-writes, and seek out as many readers as possible for constructive criticism. Proofread!

Personal Statement

The personal statement is your opportunity to present a picture of yourself. It is not a re-statement of honors, awards, activities, but an essay which lets the reader know what motivates you, what’s important to you, your goals and dreams, your vision for yourself and the world around you, and the role you will play in making that vision a reality. It is normally not longer than a page or two.

Activities List

Depending on the scholarship, this may be a separate document or information provided on the application forms. In any case, your goal here is to provide evidence of yourself as a well-rounded individual with initiative, passion, talent, and most importantly, leadership potential! (Note: this does not mean you have to want to be President of the United States; it means you have to want to make a difference in the world one way or another.)

How to shore up your resume:

  • Enter essay contests (and win them!)
  • Seek out research opportunities
  • Seek out leadership opportunities
  • Volunteer
  • Serve on university committees
  • Find ways to pursue your extracurricular interests
  • Use vacations and summers to do really interesting things
  • Sign on for international experiences
  • Rethink your decision not to study a foreign language

Note: Ideally this will not all be started in your junior year, but rather begun freshman year and pursued throughout your university career.


You will need as few as three and as many as eight references. Depending on the scholarship, as many as four of these will need to be academic references, i.e., references from faculty who have taught you in at least one course and who know you well, both as a person and in terms of your academic ability and potential.


The mechanics: You will need to submit official transcripts for all of your college/university work. This means that if you transferred to Temple, you also need to submit transcripts from whenever you transferred from. Do not wait until the last minute to do this! It can take several weeks for your request to be processed. Temple transcripts can be ordered online or from the Office of Academic Records on the 2nd floor of Conwell.

The substance: For many of the most prestigious scholarships, you need to have an excellent academic record, i.e., mostly A’s (withdrawals do not look good). Specifically, you must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.7 after your freshman year. If your GPA is not that high, but close, don’t despair. Other scholarship programs may be more flexible.


1. Plan ahead! Scholarship applications are often due one year in advance of the start of the grant period.
2. Start researching scholarships to determine what’s out there and what your options are. Sources include:

  • The International Programs office for studying abroad scholarships
  • Pick up a copy of our Getting Started brochure.
  • Visit our website. Go to and click on Scholarships.
  • Search our resource library with scholarship information.
  • The Honors Office for domestic scholarships.
  •  Your faculty/major department.

3. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with what’s available, go to the Web sites for specific scholarships (i.e., to read more about the requirements and process, review profiles of previous winners, and download application instructions and forms.
4. Cultivate your relationships with your faculty members.
5. Become involved on campus and in your community.
6. Make an appointment to meet with Ruth Ost in Honors or Denise Connerty in International Programs to discuss your options and qualifications.
7. For scholarship programs that require the endorsement of Temple University, be sure you know Temple’s internal application deadlines and requirements.