Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

Scholarship application tips

Courage to apply

The worst thing that can happen is that they say no. No matter what you think of your work don’t let imposter syndrome stop you from achieving greatness.

– Briza De La Cruz Trujillo, Sedlock Icon Scholarship applicant

When I compared myself to my peers, so many times I just did not try. Now looking back, I wish someone told me to not minimize my accomplishments and to be confident in my abilities.

Hana Arega, Alumni Class Gift Scholarships applicant

An opportunity not taken is an opportunity lost; just by applying, your chances of getting a scholarship increase significantly! Don’t let a large applicant pool deter you from applying.

– Ammara Touch, Udall Scholarship applicant

The amount of essays and rounds can discourage you, but you miss all of the shots that you don’t take! So, pour your heart into those essays and be confident!

Morel Takougang, Martin Family Foundation Scholarship applicant


Be persistent and have confidence in yourself!

Nelson Liu, Goldwater Scholarship applicant

The biggest barrier to getting a scholarship is believing in yourself enough to apply.

Keyan Gootkin, Goldwater Scholarship applicant

Never self-select out of a scholarship. Regardless of how your background compares to others, your story is worth telling.

Caroline Paxton, Martin Family Foundation Scholarship applicant



Give yourself the space to breathe before you start writing and ask yourself, “What do I want to bring into my potential future? What vision and impact do I want to have on the community that I’m serving?” Give yourself plenty of time to think about how you are going to show up as a student, peer, and leader at UW. Be thoughtful, but most of all just be yourself and be clear with what you want out of this experience.

Carlos Morales, Martin Family Foundation Scholarships applicant

Start the process early! There are a lot of components to the application and you want to give yourself enough time to go through several drafts and get feedback from your peers and mentors.

Sara Mar, Fulbright U.S. Student Program & Marshall Scholarship applicant

Sarah Leibson

Go to as many scholarship info sessions or workshops as it takes to motivate yourself to start the application early and review it a thousand times over.

– Sarah Leibson, Fulbright U.S. Student Program applicant

You want to make sure that people who have written/reviewed such grants and are inexperienced in your field review your proposal because it provides unbiased feedback.

Vidhi Singh, Fulbright U.S. Student Program applicant

Focus on establishing relationships with great mentors early on in college that will be excellent leaders and resources for letters of recommendation for scholarship opportunities.

Hannah Hampson, Fulbright U.S. Student Program applicant

Have a focus

Pursue the place where your gifts intersect with the world’s need.

– Naomi See, Truman Scholarship applicant

Consider how the scholarship you are applying for will set you on a path, both professionally and personally, that aligns with the mission of the grant-making organization.

Connor Edick, Luce Scholars Program & Fulbright US Student Program applicant

Honson Ling

Be specific with your goal for the future, even if it is uncertain. Demonstrate that you have thought critically about the future with specifics in mind. After all, be resilient and aim high!

Honson Ling, Sedlock Icon Scholarship applicant

Be very specific and honest about your dreams and aspirations in the application. Do in-depth research into the programs you’re proposing and have a very clear idea of what your outcomes are. It may seem overwhelming when you start, and you may experience imposter syndrome. Apply anyway and put yourself out there. 

– Shannon Pierson, CBYX, UK Scholarships, Yenching Academy applicant

Be cognizant of what the fellowship looks for and think about how that aligns with your own values, the experiences that have shaped those values, and how you think they apply to what you want to do in the fellowship and beyond.

Henry Milander, Carnegie Junior Fellowship & UK Scholarships applicant

Be very intentional about what you want to showcase in each part of your application, and make sure the parts are complementary, rather than repetitive.

Henry Chan, Schwarzman Scholars applicant

Authentic identity


Good luck on your journey! You deserve to be here…Be honest, dig deep in yourself, and write about your true self. It’s important to start early and go through your application many times.

Sohrab Osmany, Martin Family Foundation Scholarships applicant

Sasha Lee

Don’t be afraid to be authentically bold in every step of the process: who you ask to help you, how you articulate your future goals and communicating what makes you a competitive applicant.

Sasha Lee, CBYX & Marshall Scholarships applicant

My advice is to fully embrace the opportunity. Be authentic, and invest time in self-reflection to understand your strengths and areas for improvement. Engage in numerous mock interviews to sharpen your ability to think on your feet. Moreover, savor the experience and make the most of it.

Shahd Linjawi, Rhodes Scholarship applicant

Reflect on your story – who and where you come from, who you are now, and who you hope to be. Find the core values that drive you, and authentically share specific past experiences, current pursuits, and goals for the future that demonstrate them.

Linda Vong, Alumni Class Gift Scholarships applicant

On applications for big scholarships or grad schools, it may feel like you need to portray yourself as perfect, but committees are interested in your humanity and ability to reflect on both successes and failures.

Alexander Peterson, Marshall Scholarship & Rhodes Scholarship applicant

Strive to tell stories about yourself and your dreams that could not be inferred from a glance at your resume or transcript!

Annie Lewis, Luce Scholars Program applicant

Accept your past and be passionate about your future. Let people hear of the struggles you’ve overcome, the accomplishments that you’ve been able to achieve, and the goals you have.

Ngoc Vy Mai, Alumni Class Gift Scholarships applicant

Nola Peshkin

Your quirks, passions, and unique interests all help you stand out in an authentic way and help selection committees see the real you.

Nola Peshkin, Fulbright U.S. Student Program applicant