Below is a step-by-step guideline to help you through the process of applying for scholarships. It is not a comprehensive how-to but it is a basic overview of the basic steps to take to pay your way through college!
Please, feel free to leave comments with any further suggestions or questions.
Step 1: Apply for Financial Aid at RIT!
- Click here if you are an incoming, new undergraduate student.
- Click here if you are a current RIT undergraduate student.
- Click here if you are an international undergraduate.
- Click here for more resources for U.S. citizen's hoping to become graduate students.
- Click here for more resources for international students hoping to become graduate students.
Step 2: Look for scholarships.
- Start with a basic google search like this one:
- Then narrow the search to find more specific scholarships relevant to the field of study you are most interested in. Some examples may include:
- Corrections Officer Scholarships
- Media Law Scholarships
- Police Officer Scholarships... etc.
Step 3: Applying for those scholarships!
- Ask a close professor, or teacher if still in high school, to write you a letter of recommendation for the scholarship.
- Give them a copy of the scholarship requirements as well as a list of your accomplishments and/ or a resume so they can talk about some of the things you have done.
- Make sure you give them enough time to write this - if you have three months until the scholarship deadline, ask them as soon as you know you want to apply, especially if they are the busy type. Remember, it is not their responsibility to get you scholarships, it's yours so act in a timely manner.
- Get your resume critiqued.
- Use RIT's resources such as the Cooperative and Career Services Office. Ask them to critique your current resume or ask for help getting started!
- Ask a friend, relative AND professor. The more eyes, the better. This way if two of you miss a small error, someone else might catch it.
- Mimic your resume after the resume of someone else in the field you are interested in. Chances are, if they are successful, they know a thing or two about writing a well-received resume.
- In the end remember, it is your resume. Be happy with what you create but make sure it is professional enough.
- PROOF READ!
- Proof read your essays, Q & A sections and contact information. Small errors make the biggest difference.
Step 4: Follow up
- Call or email whoever you submit the application to so that you can ensure they received everything necessary to evaluate your application. After spending all that time preparing, it is the worst to find out they never received the information. When possible, make copies of everything before you send it in!
- If you have heard nothing from the scholarship committee after the decision date contact them to see the status of their decision.
- If they say you did not win, ask them if they have any suggestions or if there was a main reason your application was not strong enough. They may or may not tell you but it doesn't hurt to ask!'
Step 5: Don't get discouraged!
- Pace yourself, this is not an easy process but in the end it is worth it!
- Expect that you will not win every scholarship but know that if you focus on your strengths and constantly improving, you have as good of a chance as anyone else.
- Be realistic when applying for scholarships. If you have a 2.3 and every scholarship you are looking at is for a full-ride for someone with a 3.7, keep looking.
- If you do not meet the criteria for the application, reconsider applying or ask your advisor if you should apply because you have this great advantage over other students - but again, be realistic.
Some specific scholarships you may be eligible for:
- Scholarship search: http://www.scholarships.com/scholarship-search.aspx
- Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Degrees - Undergraduate Academic Award. This award is based on your academic history as well as extracurricular activities: http://education-portal.com/pages/Criminal_Justice_and_Law_Enforcement_Degrees_-_Undergraduate_Academic_Award.html
- Captain James J Regan Memorial Scholarship - based on your academic record, leadership ability and extracurricular activities. http://www.learning-for-life.org/exploring/scholarships/pdf/regan.pdf
- Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Awards - Varies in criteria and deadlines: http://www.acjs.org/pubs/167_770_3512.cfm
These scholarship sources may or may not be perfect for you so check them out as a starting point. If none of them fit, know there are scholarships that are ideal for you - focus on your strengths in searches. Keep looking, ask for help and stay motivated.
Good luck and happy scholarship hunting! :)
-- Chyna Trible
C.J.S.A. - Public Relations Executive