Are you applying for grants and scholarships? Find out how to stay organized!

Filling out applications for scholarships and grants can be a messy business, especially if you're dedicated to getting as many out there as possible.  There's a lot of paperwork involved in filling out applications, and if you're not organized you run the risk of missing application deadlines or forgetting some key component of the application process.  Staying organized throughout the process can also help you to pace yourself and prevent you from getting overwhelmed.  Here are a few ideas that could help you to stay organized while you're applying for money.

Make a calendar

Whether it’s on paper or on your computer, having a calendar to remind you when important application deadlines are coming can save you from missing out on some great opportunities.  Make a habit of writing down the due dates for each scholarship or grant you're interested in and make sure you're constantly looking a few weeks ahead.  Some scholarships and grants require students to submit projects or essays, so keep an eye on when they're due and pace yourself.  Avoid doing all of your work at once and avoid excess stress in the process. If you don’t, you could potentially be costing yourself a lot of money due to poor applications and essays.

Create and organize files

Again, it doesn't matter whether you keep hard copies or digital files, but make sure that you have files for each of your applications and all of the paperwork associated with them.  Throwing all of your applications in a pile or scattering them around your room isn't a good method of organization, so file and label them so that they're readily accessible and nothing gets left out. It will also allow you to locate everything easier if an organization calls with a question or perhaps is missing something. You should also have copies of everything sent. Send in the official copy and make a second copy for yourself.

Make a list of what you need with each application

Each grant and scholarship has different requirements that students must meet in order to be seriously considered.  Make a checklist of the requirements for each individual opportunity and look at it each time you work on that application.  Make sure that you're not missing anything so that your applications will be well-received. Keep your checklist filed with each set of applications so you can go back and check to make sure everything was completed and sent in.

Make a list of your accomplishments and relevant experiences

Part of many scholarship and grant applications is sharing academic and other personal achievements.  Make a list of the important achievements in your life, when they occurred, and key details about them.    By doing this you’ll have the information readily available and you'll be less likely to forget something from one application to the next.

Keep important school records nearby

Be prepared to send test scores or letters of recommendation with your applications.  If you don't have a letter of recommendation to submit when needed, see if your boss or one of your previous teachers will write one for you. You should keep the originals and copies of them close by in case they are ever needed.

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