UCCS scholarship guide: what to consider in your application

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May 09, 2017

Jasmine Nelson

jnelso14@uccs.edu

     While tuition increases every year, some students worry about being able to pay for a quality college education.

     Many students apply for scholarships to help pay tuition, but applying for aid through websites that are unaffiliated with UCCS means weeks of essays, filling out online forms and hundreds of emails.

     The application for 2017-18 scholarships closed on March 1, but private scholarships open at various points during the year. Applications for scholarships during the 2018-19 academic year will open on Dec.1.

     UCCS students receive a total of $10.6 million each year in both private and institutional scholarships.

     Private scholarships are disbursed through parties that are not associated with UCCS, while institutional scholarships are set up by donors through the CU Foundation or University Advancement.

     Applications are reviewed by a committee of UCCS members and the donors depending on the scholarship.

     These scholarships can be found on websites like fastweb.com and scholarships. com. If you apply for money through these sites, you will be sent a lot of emails, so it will be helpful to set up a separate email account to use when applying for scholarships, according to the UCCS Scholarship website.

     In order to manage the sea of scholarship work, The Scribe compiled a scholarship guide, complete with advice and resources to help you succeed.

Increase your chances of receiving a scholarship

     Apply for as many scholarships as you can, but only apply for scholarships you are eligible for.

     Often times, students are rejected the first time they apply for a scholarship because they fail to meet the minimum requirements.

     According to the UCCS Scholarship website, this means that if you have a 3.7 GPA and the application asks for 3.8, don’t apply.

Resume tips

     Scholarships typically require a resume as part of the application process.

     Classes like ENGL 2090: Technical Writing and Presentation, teach students how to design and format documents on multiple programs, including resumes and cover letters. The Career Center, located in Main Hall 201, is another resource available to students for resume tips.

     As a hiring manager, I’ve seen some good and bad resumes.

     These are several common mistakes.

*Poor design

     Poor design can make your resume look unprofessional. Be careful when selecting elements of your resume like fonts. Choose a font that is readable and distinct from default typefaces like Times New Roman or Calibri.

     All job positions you list, along with other relevant experience, should be typed in the same font and style.

     Use spacing to separate groups of information. This clearly organizes the information in your resume, and helps the reader pick out specific information they want to find.

     You can use color in a resume, but do so sparingly and make sure that all text is readable. For example, dark text should not be typed over a dark blue background.

     Your resume should also never exceed one page unless you have 10 or more years of experience. To avoid incorrect formatting in Microsoft Word or other document programs, save your resume as a PDF before you send it in an application.

     Also pay attention to the organization of your resume. If you’re applying for a scholarship through a research fund, and you have an impressive GPA, list that information at the top.

*Listing attributes instead of skills

     Include hard and soft skills on your resume, like expert-level experience with Microsoft Excel.

     But traits like friendliness are not skills—these are attributes and should not be included.

     Hard skills, like math and programming, can be learned in school and follow the same rules regardless of the environment you’re in.

     Soft skills, like flexibility and teamwork, require more interpersonal intelligence and are more difficult to learn without on-the-job trial and error.

*Outdated documents

     If you submit a resume that does not have your current information, it is clear to the scholarship committee that you did not care enough about your application to review your resume before you sent it.

     Make sure that the dates included in your resume are current to avoid looking unprofessional.

*Grammar and spelling errors

     Always have someone proofread your resume, especially if you are applying for a scholarship.

     Your application is essentially an argument for why you deserve to further your education and is meant to show that you care about higher learning. Make sure to proofread your resume to, again, show your professionalism.

Community service, experience

     Scholarship committees value community service and students who spend their time outside of school productively. The UCCS Scholarship website explicitly states community service is an important factor in their consideration of scholarship applicants.

     You don’t need to volunteer at a soup kitchen 40 hours a week, but you should consider tutoring younger students, assisting professors with research or volunteering with a local organization in your career field.

     It’s also important to develop work experience or be involved with clubs and activities. You can gain experience as a freshman by starting your own club or applying for an on-campus job.

     Don’t be discouraged by the kind of position you hold, especially if it’s your first job. Any experience looks better than no experience, and jobs like food service, custodial work or manual labor show that you are able and willing to work hard.

     Apply for jobs through SEAN on the Student Employment website, at uccs. edu/~stuemp and attend the annual Club Fair, held at the beginning of each semester, to learn more about how to get involved on campus.

Essays

     The essay is your chance to explain anything not included in your application that would be important to a committee. It’s also a good way to show off the qualities you may or may not have listed in your resume.

     Scholarship committees typically give out vague prompts to write your essay. Make sure to pick something that you feel shows your experience.

     You can make an appointment with the Writing Center in Columbine 316 to get feedback on your essay if needed.

Recommendation letters

     Even if a recommendation letter is not required for your scholarship, providing one could still increase your chance of receiving an award.

     Teachers, supervisors and other professionals can write recommendation letters. Ask for letters with specific qualities the scholarship committee may be looking for.

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