Do not have time to get a recommendation letter?
Very few scholarships require a recommendation letter. Remove the scholarships from your application and concentrate your efforts on your essays, etc. You will still be considered for all scholarships that do not have a recommendation letter requirement.
Application Scoring and Tips
Possible score: 0-10
0 is equal to 2.0 or below
10 is equal to 3.9 or above
Possible score: 0-5
0 is a blank activities chart
5 is super hero status
- Extra-curricular activities within school or community (such as clubs and sports)
- Community service (through school, clubs, or independent)
- Other significant or noteworthy obligations that do not fit in the above categories such as parenting.
- Within all categories, be sure to note any leadership roles you have held.
Treat the activities chart like a resume. Provide short descriptions which highlight your accomplishments and/or most impressive responsibilities. For example, if you worked in an office where you did filing but also improved the system do not just say in the chart that you filed. Tell the readers that you implemented new filing procedures. This small shift takes that one activity from simply giving you employment points to also giving you leadership points.
The activities chart is scored separately from the essays. In order to receive credit for an activity, you must list it on the chart, even if you mention it in an essay. Be as thorough as possible and include your activities from the past five years.
Use action verbs and key words
Where appropriate break big commitments into multiple activities. For example, if you played basketball all four years in high school but your senior year you were team captain, list the first three years as basketball and the last year as basketball team captain. Or if you were involved in Honor Society and had a couple volunteer projects that were a substantial time commitment and/or you had a leadership role, then make those activities separate entries. Do not forget to subtract those hours from your Honor Society entry.
Be sure to fully detail your responsibilities for each activity. Just because you worked in an office does not mean the reader knows what you did. One reader might assume you filed all day while another might think you assisted with special projects, answered phones, and filed. Do not make the readers guess.
Provide hours for each activity. Enter your hours per week, month or season and then specify which measurement you are using (i.e. 40/week)
Provide total hours. Do the math and provide the total hours. If you worked 40/week for two years: 40hrs x 52wks = 2080hrs x 2 years = 4160 hours. Having this data helps the readers assess how you are spending your time.
Curious how readers score your activity chart? Check out the Activity Chart Scoring
Possible score: 0-5 for content (each essay)
0 is a blank essay
5 is excellent mastery of the essay question
Possible score: 0-5 for formatting (each essay)
0 is a blank essay
5 is skillful use of language; accurate and appropriate vocabulary, meaningful sentence structure
Answer the question completely. Do not skip over any details that seem obvious to you but the reader may need to understand your motivation. If there are multiple aspects to a question, make sure you fully answer all parts of it.
Stay on topic.
Use appropriate examples, reasons and other supporting points in your essay. Don't just tell the reader, show them!
Be yourself; and, do not try to find the “right” answer.
Proof read your application! There are as many potential points for formatting as there are for content. Have multiple people read your essay not only for spelling and grammar errors but also to check that your content has logical consistency and answers the question. Also, type your essay in Word or another word processing program, read a printed version and only once you are happy with the final product, copy and paste it into the application. You should not complete the application on your cell phone, it is much too difficult to spot errors or format correctly.
Do not exceed the word limit but be sure to also meet the word minimum. Your response should be between 200 and 500 words per essay. If you are barely making 200 words make sure you are not leaving out any details that should be included. If you have exceeded the 500 words then the application will cut off the excess. Look for redundancies, or details that do not support your main point and eliminate them.
Possible Score: 0-10 for remaining need
0 is for no FAFSA
10 is over $18,000 in remaining need
Remaining need is determined by taking the student’s Cost of Attendance and subtracting his/her Expected Family Contribution (from the FAFSA), Grants, and Oregon Tech Scholarships.
Possible Score: 0-5 for each essay
0 is for a blank essay
5 is for insightful mastery of the questions with limited (or no) spelling and grammatical errors.
All additional essays are 2000 characters or less (between 200 and 350 words)
For pointers and common errors please see the Main Essays section above.
Possible Score: 0-5 for each letter
If your reference is looking for guidance on how we score recommendation letters please refer them to Recommendation Letter Tips