FAQS for New Applicants

If I am applying for an early response using the New Application for High School students and applying by April 3rd, what tax forms do I need to send and to where do I send them?

If you are submitting the New Application for High School Students by the deadline of 12 Noon on April 3rd, 2017, you will need to mail:

  • your parent(s) 2016 IRS 1040 tax form(s)
  • your (student) 2016 IRS 1040 tax form or W2 forms
  • your (student) 2017 W2 forms

The mailing address is: The Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship, PO Box 870, Salem MA 01970.

Your tax forms must be mailed/postmarked no later than April 3rd, 2018. Copies of tax forms should include all schedules. Please include a note with your name so that we can match your tax information with your application. It is also extremely important to take security precautions and cross out any social security numbers, bank account numbers and bank routing numbers on your tax forms.

Can I apply if I am a DACA student? If yes, what documents do I need to send with my application?

Yes, students covered by DACA can apply for the Phillips Scholarship. You will need the documents as asked for in the application. Items to note are that even though DACA students do not qualify for federal aid, we still need the Student Aid Report filled out and submitted with your application. If it is easier for you to submit a copy of your CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Form, that is fine. If you are selected as a semi-finalist, we will need your I-797 Form. Semi-finalists will be contacted by email later in the process.

How do I get a security token after beginning my application?

After you complete the Applicant Login Data, you should receive an email from The Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund with the subject line “Your Stephen Phillips Application Activation.” This email will provide you with a link to set your security token. The link in this email will only work once within 24 hours of the email being sent. Please check your inbox and junk mail for this email, which should arrive very quickly after completing your Applicant Login Data.

If you do not receive the security token activation email, please email us at staff@spscholars.org or call 978-744-2111 between 9am-4pm and we will assist you.

How do I change the type of application I would like to submit? I accidentally selected New College, when I meant to select New High School.

If you chose the wrong application type (for example – you chose the New High School Application and now need to change to the New College Application) please email us at staff@spscholars.org and tell us your name and the change that you need.

Do I need to know which college I will be attending before I complete the application?

Yes, you will need to make a final decision before you can complete the application. In order to calculate your eligibility for the Phillips Scholarship, you will need to know the actual cost of the college you’ve chosen and the financial aid award from your college. Your financial eligibility will likely be different for each school you are accepted to, so you will need to know which school you will be attending in order to accurately calculate your eligibility. Please know that you can begin your application and be working on it before you have made your final decision. Once you have know the college that you are attending, you can input the financial information and complete the application.

If you are applying for an Early Response using the New Application for High School Students by the April 3rd deadline, you will also need to know what college you are attending in the fall. For more information about the Early Response process, please click here.

How do I take a screenshot of information on my computer that needs to be uploaded as a file to my application?

Taking Screenshots

If you have information that is required to complete your application accessible on a website, do not send us the web link. Instead, take a screenshot of the website to upload to your application.

Please be sure that your name or your student ID number, as well as your college name, show on the screenshot. If your screenshot includes the website URL, that will often provide the college name.

How to Take a Screenshot on a PC:

  • The “Print Screen” button may be labeled “Prt Sc”, “Prnt Scrn”, “Print Scrn”, or similar. On most keyboards, the button is usually found next to the “F12″ and “Scroll Lock” keys. On laptop keyboards, you may have to press the “Fn” or “Function” key to access “Print Screen”.
  • Looking at the screen you want to save, hold down the “Alt” key and press “Print Screen”.
  • Open Microsoft Paint. To open Paint, open the Start menu, click on “All Programs,” click on “Accessories,” and click on “Paint” to open it.
  • Right-click on the canvas and select “Paste.” Your screenshot will be pasted onto the canvas.
  • Save the file using “save as” and upload it. Paint will automatically save your file as .PNG, which is fine.

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac:

  • To capture the entire desktop, press Command-Shift-3.
  • The screen shot will be automatically saved as a .PNG file on your desktop. Rename the file so that you can easily recognize it (for example, “SARscreen.png” or “FinAid.scrnshot.png” then upload it in the normal manner.

Combining Multiple Files as One

If you have used multiple screenshots to capture a document that you need to upload, you must combine them into one document to upload. 

How to Combine Files in Word:

  • Open a new blank Word Document.
  • Click “Insert” and “Picture” and then select the file that you created from a screen shot (or from a photo taken by a smart phone).
  • Insert the first screen shot. Make sure that the information is readable. Then move the cursor below the first screen shot but still on the same page.
  • Click “Insert” and “Pictures” again and navigate to the second file. Insert that file.
  • Do this until all screen shots are in that word document. Save the word document (as .doc or .docx). Even if it is multiple pages, it is still only one file and will upload successfully.

How to Combine Files in Adobe Acrobat:

Many personal computers run Adobe Reader, which does not have the same capabilities as Adobe Acrobat. Make sure you are using Adobe Acrobat to combine files this way.

  • Open Adobe Acrobat.
  • Click on the “Create” button and select “Merge Files into a Single PDF” from the dropdown.
  • A new window will open. Click on the “Add Files” button to browse for the PDF files that you would like to combine. You can select these saved files from your desktop.
  • Use the “Move Up” and “Move Down” buttons to put your PDFs in the correct order. Make sure that “Single PDF” is checked.
  • When you have added all the PDFs you would like to combine and have ordered them correctly, click “Combine Files.” Then Save your new PDF.

How to Combine Files on a Mac using Preview:

  • Open all the PDF documents that you want to combine in Preview.
  • Select each Preview window, then choose View > Thumbnails to open the Thumbnails pane.
  • Select the thumbnails of the pages you want to move. You can press the Shift key or the Command key while clicking each page thumbnail to select multiple thumbnails at once.
  • Drag the thumbnails from one PDF window to the thumbnails pane of the other PDF window. Move your pointer to where you want the pages to appear in the PDF. Release your pointer to move the pages to the location you’ve selected.

Note: When dragging the thumbnail to the top or the bottom of the thumbnail pane, a divider line may appear. To ensure your pages are inserted into the current document, do not drag the thumbnail beyond the divider line.

  • If you need to re-order the pages in a PDF, you can continue to drag and drop the thumbnails of each page in the sidebar of the Preview window. Then Save your new PDF.

What are acceptable forms of documents to upload to my application?

Uploading Files to Your Scholarship Application

Please follow these instructions carefully! If you attempt to upload a document in an incompatible file format, all your other work on that page of the application will be lost.

File Naming and Saving

Apply these general tips about file naming and saving to all of the processes outlined below.

Tips on File Saving & Naming:

  • Please name the document something that you can easily recognize, for example, “Formal Essay.docx” or “Goals Essay.pdf”
  • Save the file on your desktop so that you can easily find it to upload in the appropriate field on your application.

Saving Other Files as PDFs

If while writing your essays, you have used Google Docs or Pages- the default word processing program on a Mac, Text Editor, etc., you will need to save each document as a PDF.

Also, htm or html files cannot be uploaded to your application. These are internet files (your financial aid information or Student Aid Report) that must be saved as a PDF before uploading to your application.

How to Convert Your Pages File to PDF:

  • After completing and saving your document in Pages, click on the File menu and select Print.
  • Under the printer menu, on the lower left hand side click on PDF and select “Save as PDF.”
  • The default application for opening your PDF on your Mac will be Preview. You can view your PDF here before uploading the file to your application.

How to Convert from Google Drive to PDF:

  • After completing and saving your document in Google Drive, click on the File menu.
  • Hover over “Download As” and select “PDF Document (.pdf).”

How to save a file as a PDF document in general:

  • Most files you can “Save As” a PDF document to your computer, then upload to your application.
  • If this does not work, try printing the file as a PDF. From the print menu, you can change the selected printer to “save as PDF” or “print to PDF.”

Can the essays be submitted using pages?

We require that all documents to be uploaded are in the following file formats: pdf, doc, docx, jpg, jpeg, or png. (If you try to upload a document in an incompatible file format, all your other work on that page of the application will be lost.) We do not accept pages or google docs. Please click here for information about file formats for uploads.

What part of the Student Aid Report (SAR) do I need to upload to my application?

We need a full copy of your 2018-2019 Student Aid Report (SAR). If you have completed the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) online, the SAR is usually five pages in length. Information that is required for the Phillips Scholarship is as follows:

  • EFC or Expected Family Contribution
  • Summary Information – usually in a grid format, summarizing the information you submitted in your FAFSA application
  • College Rates – information about the retention and graduation rate for your college
  • Loan Summary – this is for college students only and summarizes all federal loans to date

Please use watch this video to learn how to save your SAR as a PDF file and upload it to your application.

Do college and high school transcripts have to be official or can they be unofficial downloaded from the school's site?

For high school applicants, the transcripts are uploaded by the guidance counselor, which makes it official. For students completing the New Application for College Students, we do require an official college transcript.

  • If you graduated from high school within the last year, you should upload an official, final high school transcript in addition to your college transcript.
  • If you have been out of high school for more than a year and have studied at college for three or more semesters, the high school transcript is optional and may be either an official or unofficial transcript.
  • If you have been out of high school for more than a year and have studied at college for two semesters or less, you should upload an official high school transcript in addition to your college transcript.

How do I send a reminder to people who wrote me a recommendation after I have submitted my application?

After you submit your application, you can log in and view a “Review Your Application” screen. You can see the information you entered for all fields, in addition to the name, email, personal note from you, and whether a recommender has responded. You cannot send a reminder email. However, you can email us at staff@spscholars.org or call 978-744-2111 and we can initiate a reminder email.

I am a current freshman in college. The financial aid office told me that they will not send out financial award information for next year until June. However, this application's deadline is May 1st. What should I do?

College students filling out the New Application for College Students need to upload a copy of their financial aid award for the current academic year. We understand that you will not be receiving your award for next year until after the May 1st deadline. If you are a college student who is transferring to a different college, then we do need financial aid information for next year from the college that you will be attending.

I am a home school student, so I don't technically have a guidance counselor. Who should fill out the guidance counselor recommendation form for me?

If you are a home school student then one of your parents, as your teacher, may fill out the guidance counselor form and write a recommendation letter for you. Only one of your recommendation letters can be from a family member and we do suggest that you provide a third recommendation. You can do this by adding a second recommender in the General Recommendation area of the application.

I received some one-time scholarships for my first year in college, but won't receive them next year. How do I show that on the application?

If you are a current college student, list the name of each outside scholarship you receive in the “Other Financial Awards” section of the “Your Phillips Eligibility” page of the application and enter the award amount. Also indicate if the award is renewable for next year.

What happens if I receive other scholarships after I apply for the Phillips Scholarship?

During the review process we ask semi-finalists to report the name and amount of any scholarships they have received since completing their application for the Phillips Scholarship. Applicants are also encouraged to report any outside scholarships to our office. Using this new information, we will determine whether these semi-finalists are still eligible for the Phillips Scholarship.

When do applicants receive notification of an award decision?

High school students who applied by April 3rd will receive notification by April 26th.

All high school and college students who submit a completed application by May 1st, 2018, will receive an email by late June with our decision. You will know that you have successfully submitted an application once you receive an email from us confirming that we have received your submission. (This should happen within a few minutes.) If you do not receive an email confirmation, your application has not been successfully submitted and you will not be contacted in June.

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Helpful Resources

FAQs for General Questions
If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, please look at our general list of questions.

FAQs for Current Scholars Looking to Renew the Scholarship
If you have received the Stephen Phillips Scholarship in the past, you will find answers to your specific questions here.

We are happy to answer email queries about the scholarship application process.

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