Tips & Tricks

General Tips

Apply only if you are eligible. With a few exceptions, only those students residing in Northwest Ottawa County or attending high school within the Grand Haven or Spring Lake School Districts may apply. Please call if you have questions about your eligibility.

Proofread your work! Especially the responses to the narrative questions. Check your grammar and spelling. Ask a parent, friend, or teacher to proofread your application.

Watch deadlines! Financial Aid Offices and Scholarship Providers stick to them!

Click submit. Make sure that all required pieces are uploaded and submitted with your application – including your transcript and Page 1 of your SAR (Student Aid Report). Be sure to complete the FAFSA with plenty of time for you to receive your SAR and include it in your scholarship application.

Responding to the Narrative Questions

These questions help the selection committee get to know you. The application includes the following questions (a few of which come from the Common Application you may have already filled out for acceptance to a college and/or university):

Eleanor Roosevelt said: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” What are your career goals & dreams? Why?

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

›› Be sure to share with us your unique story – this is your chance to advocate for yourself, your education, and your journey. The selection committee reviews over 200 scholarship applications each year – tell us something about yourself that will make you stand out from the other applicants.

How are Scholarship Applications Considered?

Each of our scholarship funds has varying criteria (financial need, leaderships & community involvement, the school you’ll be attending, etc.), but overall you should keep the following in mind when completing your application:


Special Circumstances – If you’ve overcome obstacles or faced unusual circumstances be sure to include those in your application. Maybe you’ve battled health issues or are working significant hours on top of going to school – be sure to let us know.

Financial Need –The SAR (Student Aid Report), specifically Page 1, of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Form provides this information. Please be sure to file your FAFSA as early as possible in order to have the information by the scholarship deadline. If you need assistance completing the FAFSA, reach out to the College Advisor.

Academics – Some scholarship awards look for a competitive GPA and test scores, while some look at what you’re planning to study after high school and what school you’re planning to attend.

Leadership & Community Service – For awards that include this as the criteria, it’s important to include any leadership roles and service you’ve done within your community, school, church, or other opportunities.