How to Put Together a MaineCF Scholarship Application

Most college applicants are busy with school and extracurricular activities, balancing a job, child care, and other responsibilities. Here are a few tips that may help you make the best use of time and effort.

These instructions are tailored to our online applications, but can be used to guide you through any scholarship application process. In short: follow directions and meet the deadline.

You can print out a copy of this page here.

The Application

1. Apply only if you are eligible. Read all the scholarship requirements and directions carefully to make sure you're eligible before you submit an application.

2. Watch all deadlines. To keep on track, impose your own deadline that is at least two weeks prior to the official deadline. Use the buffer time to gather supporting materials and make sure everything is ready. MaineCF does not  grant deadline extensions. Our online system does not allow submissions after 11:59 p.m. on the day of the deadline.

3. Complete the application in full. If a question doesn't apply, indicate that on the application by writing “n/a” (“not applicable”). Don't just leave a space blank. Empty fields will prevent you from successfully submitting your online application.

4. Upload all supporting material.  Supporting materials typically include an official transcript, letter(s) of recommendation, a copy of your Student Aid Report, the financial aid notification from your college, and an essay.

5. Be sure to submit your application. Many students complete their application in several sittings. It's fine to leave it for a few days, then go back and read through to be sure you've gotten everything the way you want it. Then submit it

6. Jot down your sign-in name and password to keep in handy. Ask for help if you need it. You may want to go back and read through your application. You can even print it, if you'd like. But you'll need your sign-in credentials to do so.

7. Ask for help if you need it. If you have questions about any part of the application process, contact Liz Fickett by email or by phone, (207) 412-2015.

The Essay

1. Know your audience. Personal essays are not "one size fits all." Write a new essay for each application -- one that fits the interests and requirements of that scholarship fund. The essay is your chance to show that you are the ideal representative of that fund. Do not reuse your college application essay; rarely is it a good fit for our scholarships.

2. Write to the prompt. Don't simply list all your achievements. Identify the big ideas in your essay and write about experiences related to that.

3. Show, don't tell. Use stories, examples, and anecdotes to individualize your essay and demonstrate the point you want to make. Specific details will make a stronger impression for the committee.

4. Keep it real. The simplest experience can be monumental if you present it honestly.

5. Originality counts. Our scholarship committee members read a number of essays. It's your job to make yours stand out from the rest. Be creative in your answers but be sure your essay addresses the prompt on the application. If you are submitting a renewal essay, please submit a new essay -- don't just rework last year's. Committee members remember your writing from year to year.

6. Proofread carefully. Do not rely only on your word processing software’s spell-check and grammar-check tools. Read your essay with your own eyes and be on the lookout for misspelled words or grammatical errors. Ask a friend, teacher, or parent to proofread it.

7. Read it aloud. Reading your essay out loud forces you to slow down and helps you to notice awkward sentences and spelling or grammar errors.

Before You Click Send

1. Give your application and essay a final once-over. Check for completeness, spelling, grammar, and factual errors.

2. Have you uploaded current versions of all required documents? Go over your checklist and be sure you have transcripts, letters of recommendation, and anything else required by the scholarship application.