Tillman Scholar Margo Darragh Offers Advice for Preparing your Application

Blog, Tips for Applying | 01/18/2023

Are you preparing your application for the 2023 class of Tillman Scholars? We want to help you put your best foot forward and what better way than to hear from those who have made it through the process!

2022 Tillman Scholar Margo Darragh offers insight on how she prepared her application last year — read on!

“I didn’t know any current Tillman Scholars personally, so I dove into a number of Tillman Scholar biographies on the PTF website. I wanted to get a sense of who was chosen for the scholarship in the past: what they are passionate about, what service-oriented goals they have, what their personal stories are — I found it helped me really reflect on who I am and what I care about. It was also inspiring and definitely a little intimidating, but don’t count yourself out after reading these! Reading these examples helped me find my own voice. When it came to writing my own biography and application essays, having read the incredible stories of various Tillman Scholars helped me put into words what I wanted the foundation to know about me.

I gave my recommender two months’ notice and provided him information about the foundation, what they look for in their scholars, and sent him my resume and my draft essays. I think this put us on the same page going into the process, drove some really good conversation between the two of us about PTF and what my goals are, and gave me some peace of mind that I’d done what I could to make this process easier on him.

I revised my essays several times, and asked two friends that know me well to read over them. They gave me some really ruthless feedback on my writing and message (always needed!) that, looking back on it, really shaped my application and helped create a more holistic and genuine picture of who I am, what I care about.

It’s ok if you don’t know EXACTLY what you want to do with your degree, but I’m sure you know what gets you out of bed in the morning, what problems you’re passionate about, or as I like to say, ‘what fires you up!’ Reflect on that, and find a way to communicate it in your application. Don’t try to be something that you’re not.

If you could tackle a problem in the world, and solve it, what would it be?”

Applications close February 28, be sure to get started on your application today! Want help? Register for our live Q&A session with PTF staff this Thursday!

For more information on the application process you can check out our apply page and for more resources, check out apply.ptf.org.