Tips to Create a Winning Application

  • Get started early by setting up your STARS login, finding out which scholarships you are eligible for, and familiarizing yourself with the required elements of those scholarships.
  • Have questions about your eligibility or about specific requirements? Check the FAQ page. If you do have questions, contact Dr. John Kerrigan at sigmatdapply@niu.edu, well in advance of the deadline.
  • Give your recommenders PLENTY of time to compose their recommendations. Most faculty will expect that you allow them two weeks to work on letters of recommendation. Be sure they know which scholarship(s) you are applying for and that they understand that the judges are looking for testimony about academics and service.
  • Proofread your application thoroughly.
  • If you intend to send official transcript(s), order early. If you download electronic versions, compile them in order from most recent to oldest. Be sure your most recent transcript shows a cumulative GPA (graduate students may need to provide a cumulative undergraduate and graduate GPA).
  • Applicants for the Graduate Scholarship MUST provide documentation that they are presently enrolled in a graduate program in English. A current transcript with a list of the courses the applicant is taking during the semester he/she applies would provide such documentation; or a scanned copy of an original letter of acceptance into a graduate program would suffice.
  • Scholarship and awards applicants, take note of when your chapter will meet, ahead of the deadline—you will need to seek and receive the nomination of your chapter, so you may wish to have your packet of original information compiled and available to be reviewed by your Chapter Sponsors and chapter members.
  • Scholarship and awards applicants, personalize your convention theme application essays. Judges enjoy reading these and getting to know you. They especially appreciate the myriad ways students approach the same topic. Be creative, but keep the essay under the 400-word limit.
  • Do NOT stray from the formatting guidelines! Adhere to the word counts and other specifications given. Packets that ignore such conventions will not be considered.
  • Ask other knowledgeable readers to assist you in proofreading your application materials one final time before you submit them.