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During the Application Process


Carefully read through all information provided by the scholarship foundations on how to apply, on “rules” governing applications, on prescribed procedures for preparing forms, and related material. Follow such instructions to the letter to avoid disqualification on technical grounds.


If you cannot apply on line and are permitted by the scholarship foundation to apply with a hard copy, you will need a typewriter (or a typist) to complete the application form. OHS can direct you to a typewriter. In some cases script may be allowed but it is always less desirable than clean, well-formatted type.On some forms (Rhodes, for example), provided space for typing referees’ contact information is minimal and cramped. Use the Form Tool on the full version of Adobe Acrobat to create fields for any PDF document and then type directly onto the form. Acrobat full version is necessary for saving the completed form. You may use the full version of Acrobat to extract a page from a PDF document (e.g., for e-mailing a referee the form request for an evaluation).

Completing Forms

Answer every question, or complete every blank, that is relevant to you on the application form. Limit yourself to the space provided unless you are specifically invited to expand elsewhere. Do not feel obliged to fill up any provided space: blank space is preferable to padding. Avoid the congested effect–packing too much into a limited space: readability trumps exhaustiveness. Don’t offer more or other than what’s requested. If instructions read, “If applicable,” and the question isn’t, do not write in “N/A”: just leave the space blank.

Fine Print

Read all the fine print. Some of the instructions will appear in tiny print but they are no less important for such typography.


Use academic titles in listing academic referees: “Professor” not “Dr.” For faculty with senior administrative appointments, use “Dean” (even if actually an “associate dean”), “Provost,” “Chancellor,” etc. Do not write, “Professor John Smith, Ph.D.” (the doctorate is assumed). If uncertain, check with OHS or see the Vanderbilt telephone directory.

If asked for FAX and e-mail contact numbers for your referees, be sure to supply them, along with addresses and telephone numbers. Departmental FAX numbers for faculty are acceptable and are listed in the Vanderbilt telephone directory.


Order any lists (employment, publications, travel, activities, etc.) from the most to the least recent.

Sign and Date

Sign and date the form after carefully reading any prose about “agreement” or “declaration” or “commitment” or “understanding” above the signature line. Be sure you understand what your signature “agrees” to.


Visit The Office of Honor Scholarships for a look at sample applications.