Interview with Leigh Marlow, International Scholarship & Tuition Services, Inc.

As selection committees review applications, they consider all of the information applicants are asked to provide, how the applicants present themselves through this information and the applicants’ ability to follow directions.

When you submit an application, consider these tips:

  • Show your commitment to community service, extracurricular activities and work experience

When providing this information, list the items with your greatest degree of involvement first. If the application limits the number of activities you may enter, include as many as allowed. It’s also best to include this information in the space provided on the application, even if you choose to include a resume or curricula vitae. The resume may be removed from your application and the committee will not be able to gauge your involvement because the application is blank.
  •  Submit A+ essays and personal statements
The content, spelling, grammar and presentation of your essay(s) are equally important. Explain yourself and your point of view well so the committee is not persuaded to rely on any assumptions. Include the facts in a way that helps the reader invest in you and what you have to say. 
If your essay or statement must be handwritten on the application, print neatly. If the committee cannot read your handwriting, the value of essay or statement is lost. If your essay must be submitted on a separate paper, make sure it is typed, not handwritten, unless the application instructs you otherwise. Finally, always adhere to any the word count and/or number of pages requirement listed on the application and print on white paper with Arial or Times New Roman font to provide a clean and easy-to-read essay.

  • Be smart when preparing required documents

When providing additional materials – such as transcripts, tax forms and recommendations – be sure that you understand all of the requirements for the documents and that you provide only what is requested. Ask yourself a few questions: 
1.) Does my transcript have my ACT and SAT test scores?  If not, include a copy of the scores with the transcript if the scores are listed as a requirement. 
2.) If my parents have not yet filed their tax return, what tax-related forms should I submit? Unless the requirements provide you with the option to submit a W2, it is best submit 1040 forms. Check again to determine if the application requests the current year’s tax forms. If the application period is early in the year, you are likely expected to include the previous year’s 1040 forms.
3.) Does the committee need to see my college acceptance letter or all five of my recommendation letters?  Only send the acceptance letter if it specifically requested and provide only the number of recommendations required. Make sure you submit the best recommendation letter(s) you have – if you send extra letters, some of them may be removed from your application and you may not have control over which letter(s) the selection committee will read.