Tips & FAQs for a Successful Scholarship Application

Tips for a Successful Scholarship Application

  • Start early. Don’t wait until the last minute to complete the application.
  • Proofread your application, particularly the essay response. Pay close attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. It is highly recommended that you have an advisor or teacher read over your complete application before submission.
  • Follow the directions in the essay prompt. Pay close attention to both content and word count when writing your essay.
  • Be yourself. There is no “right” answer.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Deadlines are final. Your application will not be considered if it is late.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?
Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a high school senior, college freshman, sophomore or junior.
  • Be either a full-time employee (32 hours or more), or a son or daughter (including stepchildren) of a full-time employee who is employed by a P&CMA member company in good standing.
  • The employee must be a resident of Alabama and must have been employed by a P&CMA member company for at least one-year as of January 1 of the year in which the scholarships are awarded.
  • The employee must be employed at the time awards are announced.
  • Children of owners of P&CMA member companies are not eligible to apply for the scholarships.

Note: If you or your parent/guardian is an eligible employee at the time you receive notification that you have received an award, you will retain the award for the full academic term.

When is the application deadline?
March 1, 2022 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time Zone.

What is the Program timeline?

  • Application Opens: January 3, 2022
  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2022
  • Scholarship Recipients Notified: May 2, 2022
  • Scholarship Checks Issued: August and December

What are the selection criteria?
An independent selection committee will evaluate the applications and select the winners. The committee will consider:

  • Standardized test scores
  • Community involvement
  • Academic achievements and records

Decisions of the selection committees are final and are not subject to appeal. No application feedback will be given.

What are the details of the award?

  • 10 or more scholarships will be awarded annually and are not renewable.
  • The award amount is $2,000.
  • Students may reapply each year as long as they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The scholarships will be applied to tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for course load at accredited, nonprofit two or four-year colleges, universities, or technical institutes in the United States.
  • Students may transfer from one institution to another and retain the award.

Is this scholarship renewable?
This scholarship is not renewable, but applicants can apply each year as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

Which school should I list on the application if I have not made a final decision?
You should list your first choice on the application.

How do I change my college choice?
You may update your final school choice on the My Profile page at If you are chosen to receive an award, it will be your responsibility to make sure your college is updated at least 30 days prior to the check issue date stated in the award notification so your check can be issued accordingly. This will not update any application or acceptance forms; however, all awards are issued based on the My Profile page.

How do I get an application?

  • Go to
  • You will be taken to the main log-in page for International Scholarship and Tuition Services (ISTS).
  • Create an account or log into your existing account, if you have one.
  • You will then be taken directly to the application.

NOTE: Incomplete applications will not be considered.

I have several potential school choices. Which one should I list on the application?
You should list your first choice on the application. If you are chosen to receive an award, it will be your responsibility to make certain ISTS is aware of your final school choice so that your check can be issued accordingly.

How do I check the status of my application?

How do I know if my application is complete?

Allow five to seven business days after uploading documents for your online status to update. You may monitor your status of each required form and attachment on your home page at

  • Not Started – the form has not been requested or started
  • Started – the form has not been submitted and will not be considered.
  • Submitted – the form has been submitted, but is not Complete.
  • Complete – all required forms and attachments (if applicable) have been received and your application will be considered for the scholarship.

You may also monitor the status of your attachments and recommendations (if applicable).

  • Not received – the attachment has either not been received or has been rejected.
  • Requested – the form request has been created, but the form has not been started.
  • Processing – the attachment has been received and is being reviewed.
  • Accepted – the attachment has been verified and accepted by ISTS.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to monitor the progress of all application requirements to make sure the application is complete. The status Complete will display on the home page when all forms have been submitted and all documents have been verified.

I uploaded a document that no longer displays on my application. Do I need to submit it again?
Previously uploaded documents that are no longer displayed with a status on the home page have been rejected. The most common reasons for a rejected document are as follows:

  • The document uploaded is not one of the accepted file types: .pdf, .tif, .png, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .bmp and .xps.
  • The document uploaded was not the document requested.
  • Not all pages of the document were contained in the file.
  • We cannot open the file. The file may be corrupted or password protected.

Refer to the upload section of your application for the details of the required documents and upload a new file that meets the criteria stated.

How do I upload more than one file at a time?
You may create a .zip file containing more than one file as long as everything included is in an acceptable format (i.e. .pdf, .tif, .png, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .bmp and .xps.)

How do I create a .zip file?
To use this format, follow the steps outlined below:

1. Create a new folder on your Desktop, name it the document type you will be uploading. For example, Test Scores, Transcript, or Financial Documentation.
2. Move all the pages you wish to upload into the new folder.
3. Right click on the document from your Desktop:
3 a. PC Users: select “Send to,” followed by “Compressed (zipped) folder.”
3 b. Mac Users: select “Compress ‘[folder name]’.”
4. Your new .zip file will be located on your Desktop, ready to upload.

What is the difference between Official and Unofficial Transcripts?
Official transcripts
must be obtained through your high school administration office, or your college registrar office. These transcripts are normally printed on official letterhead and/or state that they are official. These may contain a signature.

Note: Your official transcript may come to you in a sealed envelope, stating it will become unofficial if opened. When scanning or copying your official transcripts, a watermark may appear noting they are now unofficial. Despite any watermarks or sealed envelopes, you may open the envelope if needed to upload the document. These documents will still be considered official for our purposes. When scanning or copying, you do not need to include a copy of the sealed envelope.

Unofficial transcripts may be accessed through your school’s online student portal. These pages must still be converted to one of the acceptable file formats. There are free tools available that will allow you to save various documents (including web pages) as a PDF. Unofficial transcripts must contain your name and the school name and contact information.

What are the DOs and DON’Ts of uploading documents to my application?

  • Upload in the correct file format.
  • Only upload the requested documents.
  • Black out any Social Security numbers on the documents you are uploading. This is not required, but advised.
  • Return to your Home page at to verify your documents have been accepted.


  • Upload a Microsoft Word™ document (.doc, .docx).
  • Upload more than the requested documentation.
  • Assume your documents are correct and accepted once you have uploaded them.
  • Upload a document stating you are mailing your documents.
  • Assume the required document does not pertain to you. If the application states the document is required, your application will remain incomplete if you do not provide that document.
  • Password protect your uploaded documents. Password protected documents will be rejected.

Where and when should I send my supporting documents?
The required supporting documents must be uploaded to your online application by the application deadline. If you do not follow the upload instructions exactly, your application may not be considered. Documents that meet the criteria required for the scholarship application, and are uploaded by the deadline, will be processed and considered on time.

How and when will I receive notification?

  • Notifications are sent to recipients and applicants not selected to receive an award via email by the beginning of May. For recipients, an Acceptance link will be displayed on the home page following the notification.
  • Add and to your email address book or “safe senders list” to ensure these important emails are not sent to your junk mail folder.
  • Do not ‘opt out’ of any email sent from or You may not receive vital information regarding your scholarship applications.

Note: Your email address will only be used to communicate with you about your scholarship applications or other opportunities administered by ISTS for which you may be eligible to apply. We will not provide your email address to any third parties.

What are my responsibilities if I am chosen as a recipient?
You must enroll as a full-time undergraduate student in the fall of the year in which the scholarships are awarded, continue the entire academic year without interruption unless approved by scholarship sponsor, deliver your scholarship check(s) to the proper office at your institution, and notify ISTS should your check not arrive within 30 days of the issue date.

How do I make changes to my application?

  • Return to
  • Log into your account.
  • Make any necessary changes.
  • You do not need to resubmit your application. Your changes are saved each time you click “Next Page.”

How do I update my address after the program deadline?

  • Return to
  • Log into your account.
  • Click the Profile Tab.
  • Update any necessary information and it will automatically update within your application.

What are my responsibilities as a recipient?

  • You must enroll as an undergraduate in the fall of the year in which the scholarships are awarded.
  • You must continue in school the entire academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters as a full time student) without interruption unless approved by scholarship sponsor.
  • You must deliver your scholarship check(s) to the proper office at your institution.

NOTE: Failure to meet these responsibilities can result in the loss of the scholarship award.

How and when are checks issued?
Checks will be issued in early August for the Fall semester and early December for the Spring semester to each recipient’s mailing address and made payable to the institution on the profile page. If your college or mailing address changes in between the Fall and Spring semesters, log onto and update the information on your My Profile page.

How and when will I receive notification?

  • Notifications of scholarship winners are sent about the middle of May.
  • Winner notifications will be sent by mail.
  • Non-winner notifications will be sent by e-mail.
  • Past experience indicates that e-mails are sometimes not received or successfully delivered. Be certain to provide us with your most current e-mail address.
  • Decisions of the selection committees are final and are not subject to appeal.

Are scholarships taxable?
Tax laws vary by country. In the United States, scholarship funds used exclusively for the payment of tuition or textbooks are normally not taxable. The scholarship recipient is responsible for taxes, if any, that may be assessed against his or her scholarship award. We recommend consulting your tax advisor for more guidance. You may also click here to consult IRS Publication 970 for further information.

Program Administration
To ensure complete impartiality in selection of recipients and to maintain a high level of professionalism, the program is administered by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc., a firm that specializes in managing sponsored scholarship programs.

My parent’s employment makes me eligible for this scholarship. Whose contact information should I include?
You, the applicant, must register with a personal email address. Do not use a parent’s work email address. Your My Profile page should reflect your legal name and contact information. If your parent’s information is needed, it will be specifically asked for on the application.

For additional information regarding the scholarship program click here or call toll free (855) 670-ISTS (4787). Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Central.

Subject Line: PCMA
Phone: (870) 670-ISTS