After Completing Your Application
Revise the essay, again and again. Revise it over many days, preferably over several weeks, so that intervals between viewings can offer distance and fresh perspectives. Revise it to eliminate all attempts to sound “learned”: they invariably make you sound pretentious. Delete all generalizations, abstractions, irrelevancies, and peacockery. Try to economize on every sentence: ask how it can be shortened and strengthened, with verbs, not modifiers. Vary sentence structures (from the standard subject, verb, object order). Cut whatever fails the “essential test”: is the essay better without this? Read the essay aloud: if you stumble, consider changing whatever tripped you up. If you’re really pleased with a given sentence, it almost certainly needs revising for clarity and directness. Use your spellchecker. Then use it again. Polish the whole until it sparkles.
Ask a crabby roommate or a dyspeptic advisor or a hypercritical sibling or a disgruntled parent to read the essay with the following questions in mind:
- Is the author someone I’d like to chat with?
- Does she understand where she’s been and know where she’s going?
- Do her plans make sense? Do they make sense for her?
- If I had the cash, would I fund a scholarship to support the plans?
If any answer is negative, ask for a rationale, elaboration, and assistance.
Sign and Date
Sign and date the application, in ink, as indicated. If duplicate copies are required, sign each.
Sign the back of all copies of your photograph, if required (as by Rhodes), but preferably not with a ball-point pen, since the impression will show through.
With twenty-four hours notice, OHS will make copies of your application for you. It will not do so on the day the application must be mailed.
Assemble the components of your application package in the order given in the instructions. You may paper-clip the completed application to distinguish one copy of it from another but unless otherwise instructed, do not use staples, clips, plastic covers, or other binders. Do not ornament any part of the application with original artwork.
If you wish OHS to review the final version of your application before it is mailed, please bring it in no fewer than two days before it must leave your hands, and be prepared to remain in the office for the review.
OHS will FedEx the application for you no later than one day before it must be postmarked or two days before it is due at the foundation offices.
Write thank-you notes to your referees, letting them know that your application has been submitted.
Forget about the application for a week. Then begin preparation for the interview, if one is required.