5 of Camelback’s Hottest New Application Tips


So you’re putting your thoughts into a box and sending them to the internet. You may be racking your brain for the best possible answers. Trust me, I’ve been there too. With that in mind, I’ve compiled some tips that should hopefully get you that much closer to writing the application of your dreams (and hopefully our dreams).

This post was originally posted on October 19, 2016, and has been updated. 

1. Be specific

You’ve thought about the intricacies of your organization. We want to hear about them. Take the time to dig into specific details, specific examples, and specific reasons for each of the questions in the application. We don’t want to only hear about who you are building strategic partnerships with, we also want to know how those partnerships will help you, why those partners have decided to work with you, and other pertinent information that can tell us why those partnerships are valuable to you.

2. Write clearly and concisely

Applications reviewed for clarity and brevity have a greater likelihood of moving on to further rounds of our application process. One of our favorite resources for clear and concise writing is from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

3. Stories make complex things simple

And good stories start with who and move to what. Try to share your experiences in this narrative format; this will make your information easier to understand (and to remember). If I’m having difficulty explaining my complex idea, the first thing I’ll do is try to explain that idea as a day in the life of someone. Knowing how to succinctly and effectively explain your product or service to your specific audience is a great tool to have for pitching to potential funders or customers.

  • Example: one of our 2017 Fellows, Tyler Brewster, shared how an interaction with a student made her question her own beliefs and role in perpetuating systemic inequities. Her story brought us on her journey with her, and also helped us understand why she and her work was uniquely positioned to making an impact in her community. She recently wrote a blog post sharing this journey.

4. Don’t just present your bright side

We totally understand that you are growing your venture. We are too. It is alright for everything in your organization to not be shiny and seamless. Our goal in our Fellowship is to help you move towards the venture you want to be. Tell us how you are great, but also let us know where you see opportunity for improvement.

5. Get someone to review your application

Ask your aunt, life partner, or a trusted friend (Sparky?) to review your application before you submit it. Having both someone who understands your product or service and someone who doesn’t understand it review your application can really improve the quality of your application. While our main concern is your venture idea, a review of your application for spelling and grammar shows us that you’ve taken time on your application.

Jon Losey is Camelback's Director of Insights and Strategy, and is the project leader of the Camelback 2018 Application.