As a recipient of numerous scholarships during my undergraduate and graduate days and, now a judge to give scholarships away, I can tell you that those who have the money really want to give it to deserving students and they are very willing to do so, if they can find a student with a good story. Reflecting on my student days, I can share that creative writing was not on my list of favorite activities, so for me as well as many of you, this was a challenge that I had to be prepared to manage.
So there are scholarships from private and public universities and colleges as well as businesses and associations and even government agencies. You should know that private institutions usually have more money than public universities and colleges. In the US, many public institutions are required to spend most, if not all, their money to support local students. From a time allocation perspective, I suggest you spend more of your time focusing on scholarships from private institutions, businesses and associations.
There are merit-based scholarships and needs-based scholarships. If your family has some money, you should focus on the merit scholarships, which are awarded, based on your academic achievements – including your test scores and other extra-curricular activities. If an institution only offers needs-based scholarships, then your academic record has to be very strong but you have to show you need the money. This can be a challenge, because some colleges will not consider a student for admission if they don’t have enough money, but they can still offer a merit-based scholarship. You should note that some institutions will not consider a student for any scholarship until they meet the academic requirements, but others can offer you a scholarship before you apply. Requirements vary from institution to institution.
How do you prepare for applying for a scholarship? It is important to know the requirements for the application. While some college applications will automatically enter you into a college’s consideration for financial aid, many colleges request a financial application from your family. However, some colleges, especially when managing alumni scholarships for students and almost all business and association scholarships require their own separate applications. So be prepared to type the same information over and over again, with gusto and embellishment. But definitely try to make your life, your ideas and your personality stand out, because that is what the judge is looking for – some unusual or dedicated person who shares their passions or how they have overcome their challenges. This makes the person a memorable candidate for a scholarship. Make sure you provide exactly what the application forms ask for – grades, test scores, essays and recommendations from your professors, deans or employers.
For graduate study, the most prestigious scholarship administered by the US government is the Foreign Student Fulbright for Master’s and PhD students. The scholarship will cover tuition, fees, textbooks, living stipends, and health insurance. You can find more information at iie.org about Fulbright.
Apparently, there is also a Humphrey Fellowship program, which are full grants covering all expenses for a year, for professional development in the US for leaders interested in public service.
All the top 20 universities offer some kind of scholarship, either merit or needs-based. Harvard University is famous for indicating they can give a full scholarship to a deserving student. Columbia College can offer twenty 25-100% tuition grants. Cornell also has 30-40 partial or full tuition scholarships. Dartmouth College has offers both scholarships and loans, including a travel allowance to the US. Yale has scholarships also.
Following are other colleges and universities offering or have offered scholarships to international students 🙁 You should check to see if they are still offering scholarships as policies do change. The institutions with asterisks participated in the IntroAmerica Jiangsu Star Students Search scholarship program in 2014. For specific scholarship amounts, see www.introamerica.com or www.introamerica.cn)
Art Institutes – located in different cities.
Amherst College – needs based
Brandeis University Wein International Scholarship Program
Colby-Sawyer College- merit-based
East Tennessee State University
Emory College Scholarship – merit-based – Emory University Scholars Program (Nov. 15 deadline)
Fordham University (Nov. 1 deadline)
Illinois State University International Awards
Illinois Wesleyan University- merit-based
Iowa State University International Merit Scholarships
Michigan State University
MIT Zaragoza Women in Logistics Scholarship- Zaragoza Logistics Center
New School Competition for bachelors of arts majors
New York University Wagner Scholarships- merit –based
Oregon University Scholarship
Queens University of Charlotte*
St. Catherine’s University
St. John Fisher College*
St, Michael’s College (in Vermont)
Southern Oregon University
Southern Utah University*
University of Denver-merit-based
University of Hawaii – East West Center Graduate Degree Scholarship – funding for up to 24 months for PhD or Master’s program
University of Kentucky*
University of Maryland, Baltimore county-Center for Women in Technology Program-for STEM majors
University of Minnesota Excellence Scholarships
University of Mississippi*
University of Northern Iowa*
University of the Pacific*
University of the West
University of Vermont*
University of Wisconsin – Superior Non-resident Tuition Waiver Program
In addition to colleges and universities offering scholarships, there are often scholarships for specific majors or for women interested in STEM, etc. Some examples are
Amelia Earhart Fellowship for PhD in aerospace-related or engineering studies
AWAM scholarship for women interested in aviation
SWE Scholarship – from the Society of Women Engineers
ESA Foundation Computer & Video Game Scholarship
Google Anita Borg Scholarship for minority women in technology and computers
Association for Women in Mathematics Scholarship
Susan Stutz McDonald Scholarship for women studying environmental engineering
Palantir Scholarships for Women studying STEM
Women Transportation Seminar (WTS) Scholarship for women in transportation
Jane Klaussman Women in Business Scholarship for under grad and grad students
Laurel Fund Scholarship for advanced accounting studies
Here are a list of websites for you to look at that lists all types of colleges and universities. Some of the colleges offering scholarships are listed below too.
The US government tries to offer some basic information on their educationusa.com site. Of course, they have counselors who might know some more college-specific information, but last time I checked, there are less than 10 counselors in Beijing so even if they have great memories, it would be difficult for them to remember everything you need to know.
Other websites are www.topuniversities.com, www.fastweb.com, www.niche.com, www.studyusa.com, www.unigo.com or www.scholarshipexperts.com. If you are athletic, you can check www.sports-scholarships.com. If you want to just try randomly to apply without concern for grades or financial requirements, you can enter www.collegeweeklive.com or www.gotchosen.com‘s scholarship drawings by completing your profile on their sites. Note there are many sites that will offer you the opportunity to win a small scholarship – between $500-1000 by collecting your data and selling it to other organizations.
Remember that after you get into college, you can still continue to apply for scholarships, either for your major or from your local college community or alumni. If you already have a scholarship, make sure you keep up your grades. And remember to thank the people who gave you the scholarship
Full disclosure note- Betty Wong was a recipient of the Johnson& Johnson leadership award while at Columbia Business School, and also received other scholarships when she attended NYU-Stern and Pratt Institute. She is currently on a committee to award the Jan Stackhouse Scholarship at Baruch College.