Scholarship Do’s and Don’ts


  1. Do tell emotional stories i.e. When I was younger I was incredibly impoverished and I don’t want my kids to face similar conditions, family over came cancer, feel it is a duty to gain an education, something your parents were unable to do…don’t make the whole essay about an emotional story however.
  2. Do find a way to make the scholarship or internship be critical to realizing your long term goals i.e. with the support of this scholarship I will be given the opportunity to realize my goals and have a greater ability to give back to my community.
  3. Make your community and network important and that you want to give back to that community and network. This is something as Native students that should always be on our minds. Finding ways to give back and improve the societal wellbeing of our communities.
  4. Recycle your work. It is fine to reuse your essays for separate scholarships. They many times ask the same questions so it makes sense and saves a considerable amount of time. Sometimes you can only use parts of an essay for a new one. 


  1. Never, ever cast any sort of doubt on your capabilities. You must exude confidence. Why would an organization want to fund someone that may give up on anything? Never critize yourself in any way, the essay must be completely positive (unless you are talking about an emotional story, even then you are this beacon of hope because you overcame that obstacle).
  2. Don’t be overly emotional. Emotional triggers are important, but drama isn’t. If you put too much drama or emotion into an essay you may come off in a negative light.
  3. Don’t be generic. When you are asked for a unique obstacle or situation you have overcome, make it unique. i.e. for what do you need funds? Bad answer: to pay rent, buy food etc. good answer: support will allow me the opportunity to attend a conference that is critical to my understanding of my research, your family is dependent on you, student loans etc...