Audrey Martinko, a freshman at Ohio State University, won several scholarships and applied for most of them online. "It was a lot more convenient," she says. "The problem with paper is that you have to mail it. Things get lost. Sending it online was more secure."
Simpler. Quicker. More secure. It's no wonder each day, more sponsors make their applications available online.
There are a myriad of advantages for online applications:
By accepting online applications, sponsors don't have to mail out applications, or manually process them when they come back, saving time and money.
"Paper costs a lot of money to process," says Greg Lee, the associate program manager at the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. "An average mailing can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The money we save can be used to fund more scholarships, larger scholarships."
And sponsors find the increased convenience attracts more applicants. "We've found that the likelihood of a student sending in an online application is greater than when we offered only paper," Sherrill says.
The drawbacks to online applications for the student and sponsor are few, but they are significant:
Avoid the risk of lost data by applying early. The increased application activity just before the deadline can slow or shut down a provider's Web site.
Check if the provider's site enables you to save your information online. Texas A&M University offers an online application form that saves your information and allows you to make updates up to the deadline. "Our students love our online application process, because if they forget to include something, they can always come back and make changes," says Jody Ford, assistant director of financial aid at Texas A&M University.
If the provider does not offer this feature, print off the application and use it as a guide. Save your answers to a word processing document, when you're ready, copy and paste your answers to the online form.
If you have limited Web access, check for a public Internet connection at your local public library, community college or neighborhood Internet café. Also, ask the scholarship sponsor if they have a paper copy available or if you can submit your information via regular mail.
Consider these other tips when completing your online application:
This article originally published on Fastweb.com.