Student Application Instructions (9:04)
What You Will Need (and How to Get It)
This step is optional, however, many of the applications consider financial need which requires completion of the FAFSA. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid online. Once you have completed your application you will receive an Expected Family Contribution Number (EFC#) as well as a detailed Student Aid Report (SAR). This can take 5 to 10 days to process so be sure not to wait until the last minute on this step.
You can request an electronic (.pdf) copy of your unofficial transcript from the Records portal online. If this is your first time accessing the portal, you will need to create a 'New Learner Account'.
You will upload your transcript to your application and you will use the information provided to fill in parts of your scholarship eligibility form.
Scholarships may request contact information for 1-3 references from teachers, community members, supervisors, coaches, etc. Speak with each of your potential references beforehand to ask if they are willing to be a positive reference for you. If they agree, be sure to obtain their email address to include in your application.
Note: The same reference(s) can be used for many if not all of the scholarships you are applying for. You will most likely need 1 to 3, although there are a few students who will need more. You will not submit more than 5 in any situation.
A portfolio will only be needed if you are applying for art scholarships. Compile a collection of your art to be submitted. The best way to do this is to create a free website or video that showcases your art. You can include the URL in your application.
Otherwise, plan to get your art files into the correct file formats for upload (.pdf, .tif, .png, .gif, .jpeg, .bmp and .xps).
If you plan to upload large or multiple files you will need to compress them into a .zip file to be able to submit and keep files together.
When the application window opens, register on the Sisters GRO Scholarship Application Website. The first time you log in you will need to create a new account by clicking on 'Don't have an account? Register!' at the bottom of the white box on the login page. We recommend that you use your personal (NOT SSD) email address when you register so that we may contact you after graduation to send you funds for scholarship awards received.
2. Complete the Eligibility Form
The eligibility form is the first page of the scholarship application. Know that you only get ONE SHOT at submitting this form and the form determines the scholarships that you will be eligible to apply for moving forward. Be sure to pay close attention to the details on this page and fill everything in as best you can with what you know today.
A PREVIEW of the form can be found here. You will not actually fill this form out, it is just to use as a point of reference so that you know what questions to expect when you log in for the real application.
3. Select the Scholarships You Want to Apply For
Review the list of scholarships that you are eligible for and select those that you want to 'opt-in' to. You have the option to apply for all of the scholarships that you are eligible for, although you certainly don't have to. Be sure to select 'Yes' in the drop-down menu for each of the individual scholarships you are interested in.
4. Fill Out Applicant Info and Upload Supporting Documents
The Application Information page prompts you to upload your transcript and art portfolios (if applicable). If you are submitting an art portfolio you can either submit a link to a website that showcases your work or you can upload individual files in the correct file format (.pdf, .tif, .png, .gif, .jpeg, .bmp and .xps) and compress larger files into a .zip file if needed.
5. Enter High School Activities
Include extracurricular activities, volunteer, work, leadership, and honors and awards, both inside SHS and in the community.
6. Upload Financial Aid Information
Enter your EFC# and upload your Student Aid Report (SAR) from your FAFSA application in the correct file format (.pdf, .tif, .png, .gif, .jpeg, .bmp and .xps). If you did not select need for financial aid on the eligibility form, you will not see the Financial tab.
Note: Students have experienced issues in the past with either not receiving their SAR in time for the application deadline or not being able to download it in the correct file format. We will accept a screenshot of either an email from FAFSA or the front page of your SAR as long as the image displays both your full name and your EFC#, and is in the correct file format.
7. Request References
Review the references needed for the scholarships that you are applying for and create the appropriate requests by entering the email addresses of your recommenders into the system. Your references will receive an email message from the application system with a form to complete. You can check on the status of your recommendations by logging back in and going to the Recommendations tab.
Note: References have an additional week after the scholarship deadline to get their forms in so do not panic if the deadline is soon or has recently passed and your letters are not submitted yet. Reach back out to your references to remind them and restate the deadline to ensure they get it in on time.
8. Write Your Essays
Every student will have to write the same two short essays for the application. The first is 100 words that describes your post high school plans and the second is 500 words and gives you the option of one of two topics; a significant challenge or accomplishment and its value to your life, or how you have helped your family or made your community a better place. In addition to these general essays, you may also need to submit essays specific to the scholarships you are applying for.
Note: We highly recommend that you write your essays in a Word or Google document and then copy and paste them into your application. The application system could time out while you are writing and you could lose what you have written. Also, you may want to save your responses to use for applications to other scholarships.
9. Hit 'Submit'
Once you have completed all of the steps above, you are ready to hit the submit button! If there is anything missing in your application you will receive notice in red text on the top of the page stating what you need to change in order for your application to be complete. If you experience issues, utilize the green chat or help feature in the bottom right-hand corner of the ISTS page.
10. Check on Your Status
It can take up to three days for ISTS to review and approve uploaded documents. Be sure to check on the status of your application on your 'Home' page to ensure that all of your uploaded documents have been approved, letters of recommendation have been received, and you are not missing any necessary information. On your 'Home' page you will see a button within the Sisters GRO application box that will either say 'Started' or 'Complete'. If the button says 'Started' and is gray, this means that you have started the application but have not yet submitted it. If the button says 'Started' and is yellow, this means that you have submitted your application but it is not yet complete. Click on the button to understand what, if anything, you need to do in order to complete your application. If the buttons says 'Complete' and is green, you are all set and your application is ready to be reviewed by local scholarship committees.