5 tips for a successful PSU scholarship application

Students studying around a table

We know that the PSU scholarship application process can be daunting. With that in mind, Graduate Business Programs admissions and systems manager, Laura Bald would like to suggest some tips to help you submit the best application possible:

1. Recommendations matter

When selecting your recommenders make sure:

Your recommenders have agreed to recommend you. It may seem obvious, but blindly assuming that someone will recommend you might land you in an awkward situation. Getting explicit approval from a recommender will ensure that they expect to receive a link to the recommendation form and feel confident in their ability to recommend you.

Students holding diplomas

The recommender can speak to your professional or academic skills. While it may be tempting to list a friend or relative, especially one that you’ve worked for, these recommendations can appear biased and hinder your candidacy. Instead, consider a professor, supervisor or academic adviser.

Give your recommenders enough time. Recommendations are due along with the application on February 1, and it’s important you give your recommenders at least three weeks to complete their letters.

After your recommender has submitted their letter, send them a thank you note. Thoughtful recommendations take time, and your recommenders should be applauded for their efforts to support you.

2. Give yourself all the time you need

The application takes time to complete. It’s important that you take to heart what you’ve been hearing since grade school: Read all of the instructions carefully, so as not to miss an important step or detail.

When completing the application, it’s better to do more than less. The more information that you can provide, the greater likelihood you’ll have of earning a scholarship.

3. Be purposeful with your essays

Your essays are the best way for you to show what a scholarship would mean for you. Consider using The STAR Method for your experience essay.

Make sure that you especially focus on scholarship essays in which you have a clear connection or passion. Authenticity is key.

Write your essays in a separate document first so that you can save your progress and avoid technical glitches that may occur in the scholarship application.

It’s okay to tailor or refine your essays to fit multiple scholarship opportunities, so read through the application before starting your essays to identify opportunities to overlap for similar prompts.

4. Consider all of your options

The application has numerous scholarship opportunities, so be sure to take advantage of as many as you can. You should definitely complete the Laurels Graduate Award essay, as it offers $5,000 per year for master’s students. Remember PSU offers Graduate Assistantships throughout the year, which can reduce tuition by up to 50%. Be sure to explore non-PSU scholarships, as well. If you’re an international student, reach out to PSU’s International Student Services office for external scholarship opportunities.

5. Attend the PSU scholarship webinar online or in-person

Join staff from the Graduate Business Programs December 11 from 5:30–7 p.m. (Karl Miller Center 465) for an interactive workshop on applying for PSU scholarships as a prospective, new or continuing graduate business student. (A second webinar on financial planning will take place January 8.)

Can’t attend? The webinar will be recorded. You can also contact Laura Bald at lbald@pdx.edu or GBP Student Onboarding Specialist Julian Steele at julian.steele@pdx.edu for help as you complete the application.



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