Writing a scholarship application can seem like a daunting task, especially if this is the first time you have put one together. It doesn’t have to be too difficult or time-consuming, but once you have decided to apply, it does take some focus and planning to craft a strong application.
Here are the best tips from our Avant/AAPM Scholarship judging panel - who are all experienced practice managers - to smooth the process to help you create a winning application.
1. Start with a plan
Before you put pen to paper, check you meet each of the criteria listed and take the time to consider whether you have the capacity to complete the course. It’s important you are confident you can commit to studying, as this is something which is often overlooked.
The most effective way to meet the application deadline is to map out your time across the whole writing and review process. Hurrying to put your application together at the last minute is not a good idea as you need time to hone your application before submitting it.
2. Make it clear and concise
The judges read through a large number of applications so it’s important to present your answers in a clear and easily digestible way. Ultimately, it’s about focus and your ability to convey your influence in better healthcare outcomes through practice management in a concise manner.
Keep your application succinct, adhere to the maximum word count and be professional but personal in your tone. Make it simple and specific, and write your information in a natural order that flows.
3. Answer all of the questions
This may seem obvious, but if you haven’t met the minimum criteria, it doesn’t matter how outstanding your submission is. Be especially aware of not using all of your word count answering one part of a question and address all parts of a multiple question equally.
4. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself
The application is about demonstrating your practice management expertise and showing your personal attributes. Your submission needs to be evidence-based with examples and where you have achieved both personal and practice goals.
Think about the times you have been able to ‘make a difference’ in your practice. What uniquely sets you apart in the way you contribute to quality improvement in health-care in your practice?
5. Include all the critical information
The judges use all the information on your application to get a sense of who you are and your practice management approach. Information such as references from the doctor/s in your practice or practice owner showing support for your scholarship, the type and size of the practice and details about previous employment, study, and demonstration of your commitment to ongoing professional development is essential.
6. Let your passion shine through
Convey your passion for your role as a practice manager on paper – this will help demonstrate to the judging panel why you deserve a scholarship. Illustrate your passion by describing what you do in your position, the people you work with, how you care for patients or how you seek out opportunities for development and growth.
Do you see practice management as your long term professional career? If so why? Tell the judges why you love what you do and what inspires you.
7. Revise your submission and get it proofed
Writing an excellent application is a process of drafting and reviewing. Take your time and persist until you are confident you have told your story in a concise and interesting way.
A pair of fresh eyes is critical in getting to a final document you are proud to submit. It’s a good idea to ask a person who knows you and your role within the practice, to read your final draft and provide feedback.
8. Be consistent
Don't cut corners at the end. The judges can tell when your submission starts with gusto, peaks and then ends flat. Make sure the submission is consistent and of a high standard throughout, leaving plenty of time to develop a strong executive summary of your CV that sets the tone right from the start.
About the program
Avant recognises that good practice managers are vital in the successful running of a medical practice, which is why we are proud to support this scholarship in partnership with Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM) to empower practice managers through education.
Each year, the program offers five scholarships up to the value of $4,000* each, for online practice management courses at UNE Partnerships.
For more information on how to apply visit www.avantdifference.org.au/aapm-scholarship-program/. For full terms and conditions visit www.aapm.org.au/Your-Profession/Scholarships/AAPM-Scholarship-Program.
Photo: Avant/AAPM Scholarship Program 2019 recipients and judging representatives