Tuesday, January 2, 2018

You can't win a scholarship if you don't apply

(This post is an update from Jan. 31, 2017.)

Here's the thing about UMass. Sure, it's big, and sure, it's sometimes crazy and it feels like no one cares about you. But here's the other thing: if you reach out, you can almost always find help.

A student just told me a story about not having any money. This student was worried about not being able to come back in the fall. The student met with an advisor at Financial Aid, and the advisor walked through all this person's options, where the student was from, what the student's financial situation was. Asked many questions. The student ended up with a scholarship that helped ensure a return to UMass in the fall. This never would have happened if that student hadn't gone to the Financial Aid office and asked for help.

Which brings me to scholarships. There's probably more than $250,000 in scholarships about to be handed out over the next few months. Some are straight scholarships, others go to help fund research or study abroad. Still others defray the costs of  summer internships, which, in journalism, generally go unpaid. So if you want to spend the summer in New York, read on.

I hear you now: I won't bother applying because there are so many applications I can't be competitive, and I never win anything. But this isn't the Powerball, where there are 7 bajillion other players from 50 states. It's UMass! I sit on many review committees for scholarships and I can tell you, if you just put some time and effort into your applications and essays, you have a pretty good chance.  But you need to apply.

How do you win some of this money? Look at every list below and see what you're eligible for. Don't wait until the last minute. If the application requires a financial need, make sure that you're on record with the Financial Aid office. If you're not, be sure to include a financial need statement of your own that spells out your circumstances. Make sure you have a great looking resume (see my Career Tips handout on the right for a good model). Then, write a great essay. What makes a great essay? Heart and substance. More than a few drafts. Solid spelling, punctuation and grammar. Run it through the Hemingway App and Grammarly. Have a friend read it.  Here's some great advice from SBS Advising. And here's my advice.

If there's enough interest, I'll host a workshop this semester. In the meantime, I'll be posting the available scholarships as I find them. Three words: APPLY, APPLY, APPLY.

Scholarships for 2018
The UMass Alumni Association offers more than $100,000 in scholarships each year. I love these because most of them are donated by UMass alumni. Check this list out, because some of the requirements are so specific that the applicant pool is very limited.

School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Scholarships include scholarships to fund research, study abroad and other areas. If you are doing study abroad, apply for these! 
Journalism Dept. Scholarships are given out to Journalism majors only. If you are in other departments, check their websites for major-specific scholarships.

New England Newspaper Publishers Association $1,000 scholarships for college students pursuing a career in journalism.

Broadcast student? Apply for the Student Broadcaster Scholarship. 


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