Once you read this section, it’ll seem very obvious, but most people completely overlook the advantage you can give yourself by paying great attention to the way you physically package your essay. Remember Rule #1: Competitors are everywhere, and you must put your best foot forward. Your essay’s packaging is one way to do this that hasn’t even crossed the mind of most of your competition; hence, it’s an area where you can seize a big advantage if you give it your best effort.
First, though, let me give you a little bit of background on the nuts and bolts of what happens to your scholarship essays once you send them in. Where do you think they go? You’ve probably never given it much thought, and rightly so. You’re much more concerned with winning the contest and collecting the cash. I can’t blame you.
In most cases, the scholarship essays go in a) a big pile; b) a big file cabinet; or c) a big pile inside a big file cabinet. If you imagine the committee eagerly rips them open and reads them the moment they come in –- sorry, it doesn’t happen that way. Most scholarship judges have day jobs, and during the day, that’s what they do –- their day jobs. Usually, we just set aside big blocks of time later on down the line, closer to the end of the application period (often after the application period has passed) for reviewing applications. And like other normal people, we often procrastinate as the stack grows bigger and bigger.
Consequently, you as the scholarship applicant face one of the most difficult challenges around: you must beat The Stack. That’s what we’re going to call this phenomenon from now on in this book: Beating the Stack. You’ve got to find some way, any way at all, to somehow make your piece(s) of paper stand out from the thousands of others in that stack. If this site were a human being, his purpose in life would be to help you Beat the Stack.