Welcome to the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment’s weekly blog published during the quarter! Our blog features scholarship related advice, how-tos, and tips for the whole scholarship process, from searching to applying to getting that cash so you can graduate from college as debt-free as possible. And ultimately that is our goal here at the CSSE: for you to graduate debt-free!

Apart from our blog, you can also check out archived issues of our quarterly publication, Strategies, published from 2010-2020, back when we were called the Scholarship Resource Center. Each issue is filled with articles that will help you in the scholarship process. You will find articles teaching you how to avoid scholarship scams, how to ask for letters of recommendation, and how to create the habits that will keep you on track for scholarships.

Both the blog and issues of Strategies are two of the many resources that CSSE offers you. For more, we recommend you make an appointment or drop-in to speak with one of our advisors.

2023-24 BLOG

Spring 2024 — Departmental Scholarships & Awards

2024-05-15 Deparmental Scholarships & Awards: Anthropology

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Scholarships & Awards from UCLA Anthropology Department

UCLA is a research university and does its best to provide undergraduates with funded research opportunities. If you’re looking for internal UCLA scholarships, it’s most likely you will find research fellowships. Which brings us to today’s internal departmental scholarship.


The Anthropology Department at UCLA offers research funding to juniors in the major through the Lemelson Anthropological Honors Program. The purpose of the program is to train undergraduates in anthropological research.

Interested students will need to find a mentor from faculty in Anthropology whose research interests are aligned with their own. This mentorship opportunity will provide the student with valuable academic writing and speaking presentation skills as well as opportunities to meet with other research-minded students in the UCLA Honors Program.


In the past, Anthropology majors in the Lemelson program have done research in a variety of areas, including, Chinese social networking, science-fiction fandoms, Andean chichas, ancestor veneration, Quechua language ideology, and so many more. Anthropology is a department with faculty who have a wide range of interests. You can see a list of Lemelson scholars past and present and read about their research projects here.

For more information on the Lemelson research program, see their website, https://lemelson.anthro.ucla.edu/. Next time, we’ll continue looking at other social science departments.

2024-05-08 Deparmental Scholarships & Awards: Gender Studies

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Scholarships & Awards from UCLA Gender Studies Department


What internal departmental awards and scholarships does the Gender Studies Department offer? As it turns out, they appreciate undergraduate students who want to do research.


The Gender Studies Department promotes research by awarding scholarships to its undergraduate students. And guess what? The deadlines for these scholarships are coming up soon! So, let’s talk about them.

This year, the department is offering 2 undergraduate students $1000 to travel to the National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference. The conference will be held in Detroit, Michigan between Thursday, November 14th and Sunday, November 17th (see here for more information).

The deadline to apply to the department for funding is June 1st. The application requires a Cover Letter, Statement of Interest (500-700 words), the name of a department faculty for reference, and unofficial transcripts. All materials should be emailed to info@gender.ucla.edu


The department also offers the Gender Studies Honors Research Project Assistance Prize, which is given to an upper division undergraduate student who would like funding to do research.

This award has a rolling deadline, meaning you apply when you have a project that contributes to gender studies ready. The application itself requires a Cover Letter, 2-pg Project Description, an itemized budget, a Faculty Letter of Support, CV, and unofficial transcripts.

For more information on other awards, see the Gender Studies website. Next time, we’ll continue looking at other social science departments.

2024-05-01 Deparmental Scholarships & Awards: Chicana/o & Central American Studies

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Scholarships & Awards from UCLA César E. Chávez Chicana/o and Central American Studies Department

Continuing from last week, today we look at another ethnic studies department at UCLA: Chicana/o & Central American Studies (CCAS). We ask: what internal departmental awards and scholarships do they offer?


Much like language departments, the CCAS is linked to the UC system-wide Education Abroad Programs (EAP). As you might know, EAP offers quarter-long to year-long study abroad opportunities at participating universities. This means there are many opportunities available for you to study Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country to fulfill foreign language requirements.

For more information on programs and how to successfully petition for fulfillment of the foreign language requirement, visit the UCEAP website or visit the International Education Office in Murphy Hall.

The CCAS specifically advertises Mérida, Mexico as “the perfect place to study Spanish language or Mexican literature.” Indeed, Mérida is located in the state of Yucatan, Mexico’s eastern gorgeous peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico and with deep connections to the Caribbean. The website continues, “You will participate in a number of cultural excursions to the most important Mayan ruins, the Yucatecan cenotes, and protected wildlife reserves. This program also includes a multi-day excursion to the Caribbean coastline to visit the Mayan ruins of Tulum, among other cultural attractions.”

Archaeological trips and Spanish language study paid for by UCLA? Sounds amazing!


On a serious note, while CCAS does not have scholarship resources for AB540 qualified students, they do have informational resources to help find scholarships. And remember that CCAS has founding scholars who were part of the Chicano Movement of the 1970s. If anything, they may be able to connect you with job and research resources to help pay for school while doing school work. Here’s the link to informational resources for AB540 students: https://chavez.ucla.edu/undergraduate/student-resources/


Next time, we’ll look at the Gender Studies Department and other social science departments. See you next time!

2024-04-24 Deparmental Scholarships & Awards: Asian American Studies

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Scholarships & Awards from UCLA Asian American Studies Department

Continuing from last week, today we look at another ethnic studies department at UCLA: Asian American Studies. We ask: what internal departmental awards and scholarships do they offer?


Most of the undergraduate scholarships from the Department of Asian American Studies are offered through the Asian American Studies Center.

They have 8 undergraduate scholarships with different eligibility requirements: one is for a declared major student with high GPA, another for a student with a disability, and a few are for students with Japanese ancestry or who write on Japanese topics.

The awards range from $500 to $6,000, and they all require an essay. Needless to say, the $6,000 John Kobuta Scholarship is for students proposing a research, creative, or community project. The deadlines for these scholarships are all in late February. You can see the complete list of scholarships here.

In the past, the Department of Asian American Studies has conducted study abroad trips for their students. This included Summer 2019, when Prof. Keith Camacho facilitated a study abroad trip to Guam. Students applied for funding through the UCLA Study Abroad, International Education Office, and were able to take courses on Social Movements and Community-Based Research. Really exciting stuff!

The Department of Asian American Studies may currently be planning other study abroad summers to other Pacific islands (I don’t know, maybe, Hawaii). Reach out to them to inquire more!

Finally, Foundation 649 Scholarship is a scholarship specifically for Asian American and Pacific Islander students who contribute to their communities. While technically this scholarship is not an internal UCLA scholarship, and not offered by the Asian American Studies department, we included it because the department linked it on their website. So, there you go!


Alright, seems like the Asian Studies Department has some good donors looking to care for students. Next time we’ll look at the Cesar E. Chavez Chicana/o & Central American Studies Department. We should be able to find some good stuff there!

2024-04-17 Departmental Scholarships & Awards: African-American Studies & American Indian Studies

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Scholarships & Awards from UCLA African-American Studies & American Indian Studies Departments

The last two weeks we looked at the Humanities Departments and the scholarships they offer. For the next few weeks we will look at another branch of the UCLA College, the Social Sciences Division. The Social Science division is the biggest of the four divisions in the College in terms of departments and students enrolled (Humanities comes in second, Physical Sciences third, and Life Sciences last). The size of the Social Science division is good news for you: that means they offer more scholarships.

Since you asked about the scholarships offered by UCLA, this week we look at two Ethnic Studies Departments. We ask: what internal departmental awards and scholarships do they offer?


The Department of African-American Studies through the Bunche Center offers the Chisholm Moore Endowed Scholarship to graduate or undergraduate students “who demonstrate both financial need and merit.” The scholarship requires that you first complete the General Application on Academic Works, after which you can apply to the scholarship directly through the same site. The scholarship application itself requires unofficial transcripts, a writing sample on a subject related to Black Studies, and a letter of support from a faculty or advisor. Contact the Bunche Center for information about deadlines.


The Department of American Indian Studies offers the Arianna & Hannah Yellowthunder Scholarship to undergraduate juniors and seniors. To be eligible, you must be enrolled as a student in the Division of Social Science. If you are enrolled in the American Indian Studies major or minor, you qualify. But you also qualify if you have proof of American Indian ancestry or can prove lineal descent.

Like the Chisholm scholarship above, first you need to fill out the General Application on Academic Works. The separate application requires two letters of support, one from a professor, the other from a community member; unofficial transcripts; a Statement of Educational Goals (200 words); and answers to other minor questions. The deadline for this scholarship is in mid-May. For more information, you can email the AIS department at: sao@amindian.ucla.edu


For those of you wondering, you only need to fill out the General Application on Academic Works once. However, be sure to save all your information in a separate Word Document, since the system resets every year around Winter quarter.

Next time, we’ll look at the Chicana/o and Central American Studies Department as well as the Asian American Studies.

2024-04-10 Departmental Scholarships & Awards: Linguistics & Philosophy

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Scholarships & Awards from UCLA Departments: Linguistics & Philosophy

This week we continue to answer the question most students ask us about scholarships, “What scholarships does UCLA offer?” Last week we looked at internal UCLA awards from the Literature & Language Departments. Today we will discuss two other departments in the Humanities: Linguistics and Philosophy.


Like many of the literature departments, Linguistics offers an Undergraduate Research and Travel Award for students seeking to do research elsewhere. The application involves filling out an application form with a project title and description, a letter of recommendation, and a proposed budget for project.

You can download the application  here and read about the projects of past recipients, from how English influences the production of Hebrew to digital projects on generating names that don’t fall into typical heteronormative patriarchal assumptions. Whatever your linguistic project may be, you can get funding to conduct a study on phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, or semantics.


The Philosophy Department offers 3 awards to it’s undergraduate students. The Kalish Prize is awarded annually to a promising undergraduate in the major or minor. The Bragin Prize is a topic specific award given to a student who produces the best paper on the philosophy of science. And the Gloria Rock Award is reserved for a student from an underrepresented group who plans to continue studying philosophy in graduate school. See more information here.


As I stated last time, the main lesson to learn here is that you should ask your department about the types of scholarships & awards they offer. For now we are done looking at Humanities. Next time we will look at another branch of the College–the Social Sciences. After that we will search through the Physical Sciences and Life Sciences. And once we’re done unearthing all the scholarships that the College has to offer, we will begin looking at UCLA’s various Professional Schools. So keep an eye out on the blog for future information about scholarships and awards.

2024-04-03 Departmental Scholarships & Awards: Literature & Language

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Scholarships & Awards from UCLA Literature & Language Departments

When students ask about scholarships, they typically want to know about scholarships offered by UCLA. So while we spent the last two quarters giving you information about Nationally Competitive Scholarships, none of which are internal UCLA awards, this Spring Quarter we are answering your question and letting you know about the various scholarships and awards available by the different departments here at UCLA. Today we’re beginning by looking at the literature and language departments.


The English Department has annual creative writing contests where they hand out cash prizes from $100-$5,000 for poetry, short stories, or a chapter from a novel. While some contests are limited to English and American Literature and Culture majors, quite a few of them are open to undergraduates from all majors. Even if you aren’t an English or American Literature major but you took a Creative Writing course or two, you may qualify.

The department also offers awards for undergraduate essays in humanities subjects. While these require a nomination from your professor, there’s no reason why you can’t suggest to your professor that they nominate you. Honestly, sometimes professors just don’t have the presence of mind to remember to nominate the excellent writers that show up in their courses. Nudging them a bit can go a long way for you. And remember, you are your own best advocate!

The deadlines for these contests are coming up in April and May. Please see their department website for more information about eligibility, requirements, and deadlines for these cool creative writing contests: https://english.ucla.edu/undergraduate-opportunities-scholarships/


Many of the Language Departments are well connected to UC’s Education Abroad Program (EPA) and to UCLA’s International Education Office (IEO). Specifically, they want to promote language-study and will thus offer scholarships for students wishing to study a language in another country. The Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies, for example, offers 6 undergraduate awards. Their Heidsieck Scholarship funds long-term language study in Germany, and their French Foundation of California scholarship awards $2,000 to French majors wishing to study-abroad in France.


Of course, most of the scholarships and awards offered by departments are reserved for its own students. If any of you are in the Department of Classics, they offer 5 awards for outstanding and excellent students in the classics or those who demonstrate great achievement in learning Greek or Latin.  The Spanish and Portuguese Department has 5 essay prizes for its declared majors and minors. The Department of Slavic, East European & Eurasian Languages and Cultures offers two awards for undergraduate or graduate students demonstrating excellence in the major.


The main lesson to learn here is that you should ask your department about the types of scholarships & awards they offer. Next time, we’ll look at the other Humanities Departments. For now, go find that poem or short story you wrote a year ago and submit it to the English Dept. Creative Writing Contests. You never know…

Winter 2024 — Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships (Cont.)

2024-02-28 Fulbright Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Fulbright Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

Today, we are taking a look at the best federal scholarship program in the U.S. for studying and researching abroad, The Fulbright Scholarship.


The Fulbright Scholarship is handled by the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Its vision as a cultural exchange program is to expand “perspectives through academic and professional advancement and cross-cultural dialogue.” It achieves this vision by funding research, teaching, and studying abroad in almost any part of the world.

In general, there are 3 scholarship areas: Study/Research, English Teaching Assistant, and Special Programs. The study/research award is the traditional scholarship offered by the program. For this scholarship, you propose a project to be conducted in another country and explain the significance of your research. The English Teaching Assistant award is for those who want to teach English abroad.

As for Special Programs, there is the Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship in Public Health, which aims to expand research into public health and clinical research in areas with limited health resources. There is also the Fulbright National Geographic award, which is awarded to projects examining globally relevant issues about the ocean, land, wildlife, human ingenuity, and human histories and cultures.

In addition, there is a Critical Language Enhancement award that acts as a supplement to the previous awards. The Critical Language award is meant to fund those who will need to learn certain critical languages, such as Arabic, Hindi, or Urdu.


To be eligible for the Fulbright you must be a U.S. citizen and have received your Bachelor’s degree before your Fulbright grant begins. You will also need to meet certain language requirements dependent on the country you plan to conduct your work. Preference will be given to veterans and those who have not previously been awarded a Fulbright scholarship.

Application Materials

The required application materials are determined by whichever scholarship you’re applying to. In general, all awards will ask for a project description with an abstract, a description of how you will spend your time in the host country, and what you will do upon your return. To answer these questions they require a Statement of Grant Purpose, an Affiliation Letter from UCLA, a Personal Statement, a Foreign Language Form, 3 Letters of Recommendation, Transcripts, and any IRB approval documents required for clinical investigations, social behavioral studies, and animal studies.


The application for the year 2024 will open April 2nd. If you’re interested in applying this year, you should immediately contact Jane Sin, who is the Fulbright Program Adviser for UCLA students.

Final Words of Encouragement

While the Fulbright requires an involved application, you will receive support from the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment. We will help you refine your application to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise to give you the best possibility of being awarded such a great scholarship. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm.

For more information look up the official site, https://us.fulbrightonline.org/,  and contact Jane Sin, the Senior Fellowships Officer over at UCLA’s Division of Graduate Education. Her email is jsin@grad.ucla.edu.

2024-02-21 Fashion Scholarship Fund -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Fashion Scholarship Fund

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

As round out the Winter quarter, we also begin to round out our entries on nationally competitive scholarships. Previously, we stated that this focus on nationally competitive scholarships is to encourage UCLA students to apply to them. Our purpose is especially important for the scholarship we’re looking at today, The Fashion Scholarship Fund.


The Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) is “the foremost fashion-oriented education and workforce development nonprofit in the U.S.” FSF is dedicated to educating and developing all aspects of the fashion industry workforce, including “design, merchandising, marketing analytics, and business strategy.”

FSF has several scholarships available to students interested in any area of the fashion industry: design, logistics, sportswear, sustainable fashion, or those who would like internships with Burlington, Macy’s, or Levi Strauss & Co., among other major companies. For purposes of this blog, we will limit ourselves to its signature scholarship program, the FSF Case Study Scholarship.

The FSF Case Study Scholarship asks applicants to develop a presentation on a topic based on a particular fashion industry challenge or issue. FSF will award about 125 undergraduates from member campuses across the U.S. with scholarships ranging from $7,500 to $10,000. The top applicants will be awarded with $15,000-$25,000 in scholarship money. In addition, winners will receive opportunities to attend career fairs and networking events, receive mentorship, internships, and career placement services. As you can see, the FSF is focused on education and workforce development.

Did I mention that scholarship winners will also attend the annual FSF gala held in New York City?


As an FSF member school, UCLA undergraduate students can participate in the scholarship. However, student must be a sophomore, junior, or senior. In addition, UCLA must nominate you in order to receive access to the application. This means you must contact Mac Harris, the FSF liaison, to discuss your case study and why you want to apply to this particular scholarship.

Application Materials

The FSF asks students to develop and present a Case Study discussing an issue in the Fashion Industry. The prompts for the Case Study vary year to year. However, the prompts are always based on 4 general categories: Design, Merchandising, Marketing, and Business Strategy. You must choose one category, read its current prompt, and develop your case study based on that.

Below I’ve listed the prompts for each of the four categories for the upcoming 2025 scholarship year. Please see the timeline below for deadlines.

Each prompt is several pages long and formatted as a neat flipbook, but please pay attention to all the requirements for whichever case study you choose.


All case studies must be submitted and completed by mid-October. Please contact Mac Harris for the current year’s deadline.

Final Words of Encouragement

Unfortunately, UCLA does not offer a Fashion major or minor yet. However, this has not stopped students from applying to the FSF scholarship. In fact, we find that because the scholarship asks for case studies that require originality, research, and presentation skills, undergraduates benefit from applying, even when they don’t win. This year, Jorday Salyer, a UCLA Business Economics major, was a Business Strategy nominee. You can find him on the FSF website here, and you can read his case study presentation on “chemical recycling to reduce textile waste” here.

While the Fashion Scholarship Fund requires research for a case study, you will receive support from the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment. We will help you refine your application to give you the best possibility of being awarded such a great scholarship. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm.

Please note that the liaison for the FSF scholarship is not Beckly Blustein, but Mac Harris. He will work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise. Please contact Mac to make an appointment to discuss the FSF scholarship and your ideas

For more information look up the official site, https://www.fashionscholarshipfund.org/ , and contact Mac Harris at MHarris@college.ucla.edu.

2024-02-14 Beinecke Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Beinecke Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

We are almost done looking at the most known nationally competitive scholarships. Today, we are taking a look at The Beinecke Scholarship, which as of the date of this posting, is accepting applications. Our school’s liaison for most of these competitive scholarships will be holding information sessions about the Beinecke (see below). If you want to pursue graduate studies in the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences, continue reading.


The Beinecke Scholarship was instituted in 1971 to support undergraduates who want to pursue graduate studies in the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences at a university in the U.S. or outside the U.S. Each year the Beinecke scholarship awards 20 recipients from different universities across the U.S. with $5,000 before entering graduate school and $30,000 once they have begun graduate school. In addition to having no geographic limits on where you would like to study, the scholarship also has no limits as to whether you receive other sources of funding or not. Trust me, this is nothing but good news!


To be eligible for the Beinecke, the student must be a U.S. citizen currently in their junior year at a U.S. university. “Junior year” means that you will be graduating with a Bachelor’s degree between December of the current year through August of the following year (that would be end of Fall quarter through Spring quarter). You will need to demonstrate academic and intellectual excellence as well as evidence of need-based funding. Need-based funding can be proved if you received Pell Grants throughout your undergraduate education.

You will need to meet with Becky Blustein to receive UCLA’s nomination for the Beinecke. Over 135 colleges and universities participate in the Beinecke Scholarship program, but each is only allowed to nominate one student.

Unfortunately, if you plan to study neuroscience or clinical psychology for graduate studies, you do not qualify for the Beinecke.

Application Materials

You will need several forms to apply for the Beinecke: a Certification of Eligibility, an Application, a CV, a Career Goals statement (1,000 words), an endorsement letter from Becky Blustein, 3 Letters of Recommendation from faculty, Unofficial Transcripts, a Financial Data Sheet (proving you qualify for need-based funding), and if you will be pursuing an MFA, an Artist’s Supplement packet.


All nominees for the Beinecke must submit their application by the last Friday of March. UCLA has an internal campus deadline for choosing its Beinecke nominee: March 1st. You should schedule to meet with Becky Blustein as soon as possible and begin drafting your Career Goals statement. Once you have a draft, you can share it with faculty you’ve asked for a Letter of Recommendation. Once you have been nominated, you will have 3 weeks to improve your application materials.

Final Words of Encouragement

Last year we had an undergraduate from the Musicology Department win the Beinecke, and in 2015, an undergraduate from the French Department won the award and began their studies at Yale.

Becky Blustein will be holding an information session this Friday, February 16th at 2pm. Here’s the registration link for the session: https://my.ucla.edu/directLink.aspx?featureID=79&calendarID=43063. If you cannot make the information session, the event will be recorded. To receive the recording, you must register for the event.

While the Beinecke requires an involved application, you will receive support from the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment. We will help you refine your application to give you the best possibility of being awarded such a great scholarship. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm. Please know that Becky Blustein will also work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

For more information look up the official site, https://beineckescholarship.org/ and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Ash Wednesday!

2024-02-07 Luce Scholars -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The Luce Scholars Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

In our continued effort to get UCLA students to apply for nationally competitive scholarship, today we are taking a look at The Luce Scholars Scholarship.


The Henry Luce Foundation has been offering scholarships since 1974 to U.S. students seeking leadership and professional experiences in Asia. The program asks for a 13-month commitment and provides stipends, language training, and professionalization for students interested in Asia. Just this past scholarship cycle, the Foundation has selected students working in areas of international development, computer and data science, climate change, medicine, economics, philosophy, history, dramatic writing, and social justice.


As you can see, the Luce Foundation does not look for specific areas of interest as long as you want to study in the region of Asia. However, the Foundation does have specific eligibility requirements you should know about.

First, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Second, you must be a college senior or have recently graduated. You must be under 32 years of age, but can still apply if you are over 32 and have received your bachelor’s degree in the last 3 years. Remember, they are looking for people who will gain valuable leadership and professional experience by living, studying, and working in Asia for the next 13 months.

Third, the Foundation is particular about the amount of time you have spent in Asia. Generally, the less time you have spent there the better. If you’ve spent 18+ weeks in more than one country in Asia, you are not eligible. If you spent 18+ weeks in only one country in Asia, you are eligible but you will not be placed in that country.

Application Materials

To apply, you will first fill out an eligibility questionnaire. If you are eligible, you can move on to the rest of the application. The application has 4 main sections: a written portion that asks for a Personal Statement and other short response essays; 2 Letters of Recommendation; Academic Transcripts; and a 12-minute video answering a prompt that will allow the Foundation to know you better.


While the 2023-2024 Luce Scholars have just been announced, you can sign up to receive an alert as soon as the new 2024-2025 application opens here.

The Luce Scholars application opens in April and closes mid-October. Semi-finalists are invited to interview in mid-November, and the Foundation will make final decisions in early December.

In January, the Foundation hosts an all-expenses paid week of programming and workshops in San Diego, CA for all finalists. And the cohort of Luce Scholars is announced in early February.

Final Words of Encouragement

The Luce Scholars Scholarship is a great way to begin your professional career as they will do everything in their power to place you with appropriate mentors, programs, NGOs, and businesses that fit your interests. Remember that they aim to cultivate new leaders who are interested in any of the Asian countries.

If you are a student in medicine, public health, international law, human rights, there are UCLA-affiliated Luce Scholars that you can speak to for an informational sit-down. You can see the list here.

The Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment is here to support you at every step of the application. We will help you refine your application to give you the best possibility of being awarded this awesome scholarship.

Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm. Please know that Becky Blustein will also work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

For more information look up the official site, https://www.hluce.org/programs/luce-scholars/, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2024-01-31 Strauss Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Strauss Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–


UCLA is one of 23 California colleges and universities selected by the Strauss Foundation that can have students apply for this exclusive scholarship. The Strauss Scholarship offers $15,000 to undergraduates who embark on a “high-impact project in public service or social change.” The Strauss Foundation is looking for undergraduates who are leaders engaged in projects that can produce needed change. They therefore fund 10-15 undergraduates each year who want to start projects related to technology, service, activism, politics, health, environment, education, cultural awareness, and arts.


To be eligible,you must have completed at least a year of college and not anticipate graduation by June of the following school year. You must have a GPA in the upper 1/3 of your class. You must demonstrate commitment to public service and leadership. Most important of all, you must propose your own public service/social change project that can be carried out at the end of your sophomore or junior year through Spring of the following school year.

Application Materials

To begin your application, you will need to contact UCLA’s campus representative for the Strauss, Becky Blustein. You will submit a 1-page Resume (that demonstrates your past and present public service and leadership), a 1-page Personal Essay, a Project Proposal (limited to 4 pages max), 2 Letters of Recommendation (one must be from a professor), plus any additional letters of support for your project, a Transcript, and a Signed Acceptance Agreement.


UCLA’s internal deadline to be nominated for the Strauss is at the beginning of February. UCLA students then have one month to revise all application materials. All materials must be submitted by early March.

Final Words of Encouragement

The Strauss website offers lots of informational videos and sample project proposals to give yourself a sense of what they’re looking for. You can look up past funded projects here. You can also look up current scholars and summary descriptions of their projects here. Toward the middle of the page you will find UCLA student, Shilp Shah, whose project involves raising funds for neurofibromatosis research by auctioning artwork made by children with the disease.

You already have a high-social impact plan that you’ve wanted to carry out for some time. Now is the time to do it. Apply to the Strauss so you can receive to make your plan active in the world.

The Student Academic Advisors at the CSSE are here to help you refine your project idea to give you the best possibility of being awarded this exclusive undergraduate scholarship. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm. Please know that Becky Blustein will also work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

For more information look up the official site, https://www.straussfoundation.org/   , and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2024-01-24 The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

I promise we will be done highlighting the nationally competitive scholarships this quarter. Then we will move on to other scholarships queries and advice. Today, we continue our efforts to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships. Today, we are taking a look at The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship.


If you are planning or would like to pursue graduate study at Stanford University, you should apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program? The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program is named after Stanford President John Hennessy and Phil Knight, founder of Nike, who donated $400million to Stanford back in 2016, the school where he obtained his MBA.

The purpose of the program is to provide 3 years of graduate funding to students who exhibit leadership and who are trying to solve complex global problems. While pursuing their respective graduate courses at Stanford, Knight-Hennessy recipients also participate in a Leadership Development program, attending lectures and guest talks by some of the most well-known leaders in varying industries today, including Nobel laureates, U.S. representatives, CEOs, and artists. The program intends to establish strong networks between Knight-Hennessy recipients and with current political, academic, and cultural leaders.


To be eligible you must demonstrate strong leaderships qualities, skills, and experiences. You may pursue any of the graduate programs offered by Stanford, including JD, MBA, MA, MFA, or PhD programs. In addition, you must have received a bachelor’s degree no later than January 2017.

Application Materials

To apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, you will need to first apply to a Stanford graduate program. Your acceptance to each program will be concurrent. In addition to whatever materials your graduate program requires (Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement, Diversity Statement, CV/Resume, Letters of Recommendation, etc), the Knight-Hennessy requires you respond to 3 short answer questions and an essay discussing the influences in your life.

If you pass the first round of selections, you will be invited to make a Video Statement (no longer than 2 minutes) where you introduce yourself by teaching your fellow cohort something (anything).


The KH application opens in summer. But the deadline is rather tricky to determine. First of all, the KH deadline is in mid-October for everybody. However, the deadline also depends on your graduate program of choice and the deadlines they’ve set up. If your selected graduate program has an earlier deadline, that is also the deadline to apply to the KH Scholars program.

Once you’ve submitted your application, you may hear back throughout the month of January. If you are invited to make a Video Statement, the turnaround time for submission will be short since the program will announce all the finalists at the end of January. So be prepared with the content for the Video Statement.

Final Words of Encouragement

As you may tell, the Knight-Hennessy seems very exclusive in its scope. That should not deter you however. If you have the leaderships qualities, you have the leadership qualities.

If you want further information, there will be a Knight-Hennessy informational session held at UCLA on February 8, 2024. If you can’t make that day, there will be other informational sessions (in-person and online) as well as application workshops and Q&As from February and on.

The Student Academic Advisors at the CSSE are here to help you refine your application to give you the best possibility of being awarded this great graduate scholarship. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm. Please know that Becky Blustein will also work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

For more information look up the official site, https://knight-hennessy.stanford.edu/, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2024-01-17 The Gilman Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The Gilman Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

This quarter we continue our efforts to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships. Our Strategies Blog will therefore continue to spotlight these scholarships. Today, we are taking a look at The Gilman Scholarship.


Back in 2000, the U.S. Department of State through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs established the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The scholarship is intended to enable low-income students to study abroad, whether it be for STEM research or to study a foreign language. The goal of the scholarship is to enable students to acquire international experience, networks, and skills. The Gilman scholarships awards $5,000 that can help pay for tuition, room and board, and other education related costs.


To be eligible for this particular scholarship, you must qualify for and receive Pell Grants. You will need to fill out the FAFSA form to determine your eligibility for Pell Grants. In addition, you must be a U.S. citizen or national, an undergraduate at a U.S. institution, have good academic standing,

The Gilman website states that, all other factors being equal, they will give preference to Veterans.

Application Materials

You first step is to apply to whichever university outside of the U.S. you wish to study. Part of the Gilman scholarship application will require that you show proof of being accepted into a university outside the U.S. You then submit an application through the Gilman website. Once you’ve done that, both the Financial Aid office and your Study Abroad Advisor (a supporting faculty/professor) must certify your Gilman application.

You will need to write 3 essays for the scholarship, but if you will conduct STEM research or language study, you may need to write 1 more short essay. The 3 necessary essays are the Statement of Purpose (essentially, what you will accomplish by studying abroad and how it will help your goals), and 2 Community Impact Statements (CIS). The first CIS is the Building Mutual Understanding Essay (how will you become culturally engaged), and the second is the Follow-On Service Project Proposal (how will your experience abroad serve your goals).

If you plant to study a certain language abroad, you may qualify for $3,000 by writing a Critical Need Language essay explaining why you need to study the specific language. (You can see the list of qualifying languages here.) If you plant to conduct STEM research there is also additional money for you; you will need to write a STEM Supplemental Award essay discussing your project. For more information about the essays, see the prompts here.


Depending on when you plan to study abroad, there are 2 application deadlines. If your study abroad program begins in December through October of the following year, your application opens in mid-August and closes early October.

If your study abroad program begins May through April, your application opens mid-January and closes early March.

In either case, you will receive an email notification 2 months later telling you whether you’ve been accepted for the award or not. View the current timeline here.

Final Words of Encouragement

The Gilman Scholarship has a YouTube page where you can listen to other students talk about their experiences. They also have webinars and resources videos.

The Student Academic Advisors at the CSSE are here to help you refine your application to give you the best possibility of being awarded such a cool scholarship. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm. Please know that Becky Blustein will also work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

For more information look up the official site, https://www.gilmanscholarship.org/, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2024-01-10 The Gates Cambridge Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

This quarter we continue our efforts to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships. Our Strategies Blog will therefore continue to spotlight these scholarships. Today, we are taking a look at The Gates Cambridge Scholarship.


Back in 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $210million dollars to Cambridge to fund students worldwide who would like to pursue a post-graduate degree at Cambridge. Every year since then, Cambridge has selected 80 students worldwide for the scholarship, with 25 of those awards reserved for U.S. students. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship covers student tuition, fees, airfare, living allowance, as well as discretionary spending for fieldwork, academic development, hardship, maternity, or dependents.


To be eligible, the student must be a citizen of a country other than the U.K. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is searching for students who demonstrate leadership, intellect, and commitment to improve others’ lives. While students may pursue a post-graduate degree in any discipline, the selection committee will consider whether the degree “fits” with Cambridge’s offerings and general vision. Specifically, this means Cambridge will not consider students pursuing degrees in Business, Finance, or Medicine.

Application Materials

In addition to normally applying to your program of choice, you will apply to the Gates Cambridge Scholarship under the “Funding Section.” There you will submit a 500-word statement demonstrating your leadership, intellectual qualities, as well as your commitment to improving the lives of others. You will also need to submit 2 Letters of Recommendation. And if you are applying for a PhD, you will also need to submit a Research Proposal. Once you pass the first selection process conducted by each department, you will be invited to a 20-25 minute interview.


The scholarship application begins in early September and closes mid-October. That means you only get about a month to submit your application. All applicants hear back by mid-December whether they have moved on to the next selection round or not. If you have been selected, you will receive an invitation to interview. All scholarship offers are sent at the beginning of February, after which applicants must accept the offer within 72 hours.

Final Words of Encouragement

We are proud to say that several UCLA students have received the Gates Cambridge Scholarship and gone on to study Psychology, Religious Studies, and History. You can find and read about some of these UCLA students through the Gates scholarship directory here, here, and here.

The Student Academic Advisors at the CSSE are here to help you refine your application to give you the best possibility of being awarded such a great scholarship. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm. Please know that Becky Blustein will also work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

For more information look up the official site, https://www.gatescambridge.org/, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

Fall 2023 — Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

2023-12-06 Yenching Fellowship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The Yenching Fellowship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

In an effort to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships, our Strategies Blog is spotlighting nationally competitive scholarships for the quarter. Today, we are taking a look at The Yenching Fellowship.


The Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China offers a fully-funded, 12-month fellowship to earn a Master’s degree in China Studies. The fellowship includes a travel stipend (to travel to and from China), tuition, boarding, a monthly stipend for living costs, and medical insurance. The purpose of the fellowship is to “build bridges between China and the rest of the world through an interdisciplinary master’s program in China Studies.”

The Yenching Fellowship is comparable to the Schwarzman Scholarship, which also funds study in China for a graduate degree. While the Schwarzman focuses more on leadership and global affairs, the Yenching Fellowship focuses more on your own research and career goals in relation to China. And while the Schwarzman Scholarship is for study at Tsinghua University and the Yenching Fellowship for study at Peking University, both universities reside in Beijing just a 15-minute drive from each other. In either case, you will be working and meeting with China’s foremost leaders and academics.


To be eligible, your proposed research and/or career goal should involve China in some way. Most of the research areas that you will study at the Academy will involve one of the six research areas: 1) economics and management, 2) history and archaeology, 3) law and society, 4) literature and culture, 5) philosophy and religion, and 6) politics and international relations. As you can see, the Academy focuses on humanities and social science disciplines. However, as long as you demonstrate that the Yenching Academy program will benefit your research and/or is relevant to your career goals, you have a good chance of being accepted.

Though you might expect a fellowship in a Chinese university to have a language requirement, Yenching Academy has a proactive stance. Most classes will be taught in English. However, the Academy will test all students on their current Chinese language abilities. Students will then be placed in required Chinese language courses to further develop their knowledge of Chinese (read Mandarin). Students who demonstrate high proficiency in Chinese can opt out of the language courses, but this means they will be required to take other subject courses in Chinese.

Apart from your research/career goals and language requirement, you should also have a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline by the end of August before enrolling at Yenching. You should have a great academic record, list of achievements, and English proficiency.

Application Materials

As with most nationally competitive scholarships, the application process for Yenching Academy is quite involved. You must complete an online application, write a 750-word Personal Statement, 1500-word Statement of Research Interest, CV, official transcripts, certificate of enrollment, 2 Letters of Recommendation from tenure-track professors, and an International English proficiency test score. If you are nominated, you will be invited to interview.


Applications open each August. Interviews will then be held at the beginning of the following year. And final decisions will be made in March.

Final Words of Encouragement

One past recipient of the Yenching Academy fellowship conducted research into the political links between China and the Dominican Republic during the 1960s-70s height of the Cold War. Their archival research showed that China staged massive protests against U.S. imperial incursions into the Dominican Republic and that Dominican leftist revolutionaries had traveled to China to receive military training and establish ties. While these political ties never came to full fruition, these nonetheless depict China as searching for countries in Latin America to create political alliances that would secure its future as a major world power.

I offer you this example to say that your current research project may offer unlikely connections to China that you have not thought about. The rise of China as a major player in world politics and economics points to the importance of a fellowship like the Yenching Academy fellowship.

The Student Academic Advisors at the CSSE are here to help you think through the connections your research and career goals may have with China. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm. Please know that Becky Blustein will also work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

For more information look up the official site, https://yenchingacademy.pku.edu.cn/, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2023-11-29 The Soros Fellowship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Soros Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

In an effort to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships, our Strategies Blog will spotlight nationally competitive scholarships for the next few weeks. Today, we are taking a look at The Soros Scholarship.


Founded by Paul and Daisy Soros, the Soros Fellowships for New Americans honors the contributions that immigrants and children of immigrants have made to the country. The Soros Fellowship seeks to fund graduate studies for New Americans poised to make significant contributions to the U.S. Since 1998, the Soros Fellowship has awarded about 30 New Americans each year for a running total of 775 fellows to date. The Fellowship awards up to $90,000, but this number is contingent on tuition and other parameters set by the graduate school which you plan to attend.


To be eligible for the Soros Fellowship for New Americans, you must be 30 years of age or younger as of the application deadline and have good academic standing.

Because the fellowship is for immigrants and/or children of immigrants, you must either have been born abroad outside of the U.S. and have become a naturalized citizen, been adopted by U.S. citizens, possess a green card, been granted refugee or asylum by the U.S., or graduated from a high school or college in the U.S.

If you are a U.S. citizen by birth, you may apply if both of your parents were born outside of the U.S. and not eligible for U.S. citizenship at the time of their births.

Furthermore, the fellowship only applies to graduate programs in the U.S.

Application Materials

In addition to completing an online application, you will need 3-5 letters of recommendation, resume, 2 essays, transcripts, scores from standardized tests, and a list of the U.S. graduate programs for which you seek support.

The 2 essay questions are each 1,000 words maximum and speak to your experiences as a New American and your future goals. The 2 questions can be found on their website here.


While the 2024 Soros Fellowship application is now closed, the 2025 application will open from late April to late October. If you are chosen as a finalist, interviews will take place in late January and early February. All winners will be announced by mid-April before the new application opens.

Final Words of Encouragement

The Soros Fellowship actually has a decent website with useful information about the application process. You can view recorded informational sessions here. You may also read their guide to Essay Writing here.

Remember that Student Academic Advisors at the CSSE are here to help you through every step of the application. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm. Please know that Becky Blustein will also work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

For more information look up the official site, https://www.pdsoros.org/, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2023-11-22 The Udall Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Udall Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

In an effort to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships, our Strategies Blog will spotlight nationally competitive scholarships for the next few weeks. Today, we are taking a look at The Udall Scholarship.


The Udall Scholarship was named after Morris K. Udall, who served in congress from 1961-1991 and was concerned with environmental issues. The Udall Undergraduate Scholarship seeks leaders in the fields of environmental policy, American Indian tribal policy, and health care. The Udall Foundation hopes to award 55 undergraduate students who want to make positive impacts on the environment or on health and public policy related to indigenous tribes in the U.S. These undergraduates will receive a $7,000 scholarship each and will be provided with professional development and training opportunities during the mandatory Scholar Orientation, which will be held in Tucson, Arizona in early August 2024.


The Udall Scholarship offers awards in 3 different areas: Tribal Policy, Native Health Care, and Environment. To apply for the Tribal Policy scholarship, you must be an American Indian or Alaska Native who is working on policy issues related to Indian country. To apply for the Native Health Care scholarship, you must be an American Indian or Alaska Native pursuing a healthcare career. The Environment scholarship is open to any undergraduates working on environment and conservation issues. You must be able to demonstrate a commitment to public service and to making a difference through civility, integrity, and nonpartisan consensus.

Application Materials

In addition to completing an online application, you will need to submit an 800-word essay related to the Foundation’s core values of civility, integrity, and nonpartisan consensus. You will also need submit transcripts and 3 Letters of Recommendation that can speak to your leadership and commitment to tribal policy, native health care, or the environment. You can see a sample of the application here.

Before you can submit your application, you will need UCLA’s endorsement. This means your first step should be to contact Becky Blustein at the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE). Becky is the faculty representative for the Udall at UCLA; her email is rblustein@college.ucla.edu.


UCLA has an internal deadline of February 1, which means you need to contact Becky Blustein immediately. (Do not sleep on this.) The internal UCLA deadline is only one month ahead of the actual Udall deadline, March 6.

Final Words of Encouragement

UCLA can nominate up to 8 undergraduates for the Udall scholarship: 4 in the areas of tribal policy and native health care, and 4 in the area of environment. This means you have a really good chance of receiving a UCLA endorsement. In the past UCLA has had several students win the scholarship and several more receive honorable mention.

We recommend you look at the past 2023 winners of the Udall to see what issues they are working on. You can view that here. In addition, remember that Student Academic Advisors at the CSSE are here to help you through every step of the application. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm. Please know that Becky Blustein will also work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

For more information look up the official site, https://www.udall.gov/, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2023-11-15 The Schwarzman Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The Schwarzman Scholars Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

In an effort to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships, our Strategies Blog will spotlight nationally competitive scholarships for the next few weeks. Today, we are taking a look at The Schwarzman Scholars Scholarship.


The Schwarzman Scholars scholarship aims to create the global leaders of the 21st century. In the same way that the Rhodes Scholarships is intended to create international understanding between the U.K. and other countries, the Schwarzman Scholars scholarship was created to create international understanding between China and other countries. Like the Rhodes Scholarship where you receive funding to study at Oxford in the U.K., the Schwarzman offers funding to study in China’s most prestigious educational institution, Tsinghua University in Beijing. But unlike the Rhodes Scholarship which places few limitations on what you’d like to study, the Schwarzman fully funds a one-year Master’s Degree in Global Affairs. By fully-funded I mean they will pay your tuition and fees, room and board, in-country study tours, travel to and from Beijing, health insurance, and a stipend for personal expenses. As for the academic program, you will be taking leadership development courses, a capstone course, practical training projects, and deep dives into China’s different regions.


The Schwarzman Scholars program is looking for global leaders who show promise, entrepreneurship, integrity, and academic aptitude. To be eligible, you must have an undergraduate degree in any discipline by the time you begin the Schwarzman program in August. You must be between the ages of 18-28 and proficient in English (all courses will be taught in English).

Application Materials

In addition to completing an online application, you will need to submit a resume or CV, a Leadership essay (750 words), a Statement of Purpose (500 words), transcripts, 3 Letters of Recommendation, and a 1-minute Video Introduction. If you pass the first round, you will be invited to interview.


The Schwarzman application for U.S. applicants opens from April through September. If you pass the first round, interviews will take place in the months of October and November. The Schwarzman Scholars program will provide info sessions close to the months when the application opens (check their website for info).

Though you do not need a UCLA endorsement to apply to the Schwarzman Scholarship, you should still contact Becky Blustein at the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE). She will work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

Final Words of Encouragement

This year we are proud to announce one of our own students has won the Schwarzman Scholars scholarship. You can read his brief bio here. In the past we’ve had 3 other students win the scholarship and several more nominated. We are looking forward to having more UCLA students apply and win the Schwarzman scholarship.

Remember that Student Academic Advisors at the CSSE are here to help you through every step of the application. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm.

For more information look up the official site, https://www.schwarzmanscholars.org/, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2023-11-01 The Tillman Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

The Tillman Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

In an effort to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships, our Strategies Blog will spotlight nationally competitive scholarships for the next few weeks. Today, we are taking a look at The Tillman Scholarship.


The Tillman Scholarship is named after Pat Tillman, who played football for the Arizona Cardinals between 1998 and 2002. After the 911 attacks, Tillman enrolled in the U.S. Army, leaving behind his successful football career. He was killed in 2004 in the line of duty. The Pat Tillman Foundation was set up to honor his military service and leadership. The Tillman Foundation has at least 33 corporate sponsors, and at least eighteen University partners, UCLA being one of them.

The purpose of the Tillman Scholarship is to fund the education of military service members (active or veterans) or their spouses (but not children) who demonstrate leadership and wish to continue their undergraduate or graduate studies. The Tillman Foundation is specifically looking for people who act selflessly and demonstrate excellent leaderships skills and future leadership promise in the private or public sector. If this sounds like you, you should definitely apply to the Tillman Scholarship!


The Tillman Scholarship provides an average of $10,000 per year, but can vary depending on financial need.

To be eligible, you must be a military service member or veteran or the spouse of an active or veteran military service member. Unfortunately, children of military service members are not eligible for this particular scholarship. You can be from any military branch including the National Guard.

You may pursue any major or area of study as long as you are pursuing a Bachelor’s, Graduate, or Professional degree. You should be able to demonstrate future promise of selfless leadership through evidence of current excellent leadership.

Application Materials

Your first step should be to contact UCLA’s Veterans office and let them know that you intend to apply. You can find their information here: https://veterans.ucla.edu/

You will need to submit a resume, answer two 400-word prompts, write a 250-word biography, complete the FAFSA and SAR, provide two photos of military service, offer proof of military service (military documents and IDs), and submit to a background check.

In addition, we have word that the Tillman Scholarship will be conducting finalist interviews in the coming year. Heads up!


If you’re interested in applying to the Tillman, the application are now open until the deadline of February 1, 2024.

The Tillman Scholarship will provide info sessions on Nov 18, Dec 1, and Jan 10 for those who want to apply. You can find information here: https://pattillmanfoundation.org/tillman-scholars-military-scholarships/info-sessions/

Though you do not need a UCLA endorsement to apply to the Tillman Scholarship, you should still contact Becky Blustein at the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE). She will work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise.

Final Words of Encouragement

Since 2009, UCLA has had 17 recipients of the Tillman scholarship. You can see their profiles here.

When you apply to the Tillman Scholarship, you will get become part of over 800 other Tillman Scholars all over the U.S., all of them leaders in the private or public sectors. In addition to tuition funding, you will also be invited to summits and other events where you can network with other Tillman scholars.

Remember that Student Academic Advisors at the CSSE are here to help you through every step of the application. Make an appointment with an SAA here, or just drop by our office at Covel Commons 233, Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11am-6pm.

The website also features Tips for Applying here: https://pattillmanfoundation.org/news-media/?fwp_blog_categories=tips-for-applying

For more information look up the official site, https://pattillmanfoundation.org/, contact UCLA’s Veterans Office, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2023-10-25 The Truman Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Truman Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

In an effort to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships, our Strategies Blog will spotlight nationally competitive scholarships for the next few weeks. Today, we are taking a look at The Truman Scholarship.


In 1975, Congress established The Truman Foundation as a memorial to President Harry S. Truman. The Foundation was established to “award scholarships to persons who demonstrate outstanding potential for and who plan to pursue a career in public service.” The Truman Scholarship is looking for students who serve the public interest through individual leadership. Currently, the scholarships offers $30,000 for graduate studies to undergraduate students. According to the scholarship website, the Truman Scholarship awarded over 60 undergraduate students in 2023. In the past years, UCLA has had several students named as finalists, but we have not had a Truman scholar since 2009, which means now is your time to shine!


To be eligible, you must desire to pursue a career in public service. The Truman Foundation interprets public service broadly—not just as government service! As long as you are serving a social need you are eligible. You can also think about public service this way: if your career goal is to work for an organization where the domain would be .mil, .gov, .org, or .edu, you should apply to the Truman scholarship. (In the past, we’ve had some great finalists who applied with pre-med or pre-health career goals and finalists with pre-law goals because they made a clear commitment to medical service and public interest law.)

You should be able to demonstrate individual leadership skills and evidence that you will do well in graduate school. Because the Truman Foundation seeks to identify “aspiring leaders at an important inflection point in their development,” you must be in your junior year to apply. You cannot apply as a senior, sophomore, or freshman. This means there is a narrow window of time when you can apply to the Truman.

You must be a U.S. citizen at the time you receive the award. You must also be nominated by UCLA. Currently, we can nominate 7 applicants to the Truman Scholarship, 3 of whom must be transfer students. All majors are accepted except for those pursuing an MBA.

Application Materials

To begin the process, you will need to contact Becky Blustein at the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE). She will then forward your email address to the Foundation so that you can access the online application.

The Truman requires 9 short essays that discuss your leadership experiences, your career goals, the universities where you would like to pursue graduate studies, etc. If you’re concerned about any of these application questions, the Truman website has the 9 prompts posted on their website. They also provide examples of good and bad answers. You should also make appointments with an advisor at the CSSE.

You will also need 3 Letters of Recommendation and Transcripts.


If you’re interested in applying to the Truman, contact Becky Blustein at the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE) today. She will work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise. Then there are two deadlines you need to be aware of.

The first deadline is an internal UCLA deadline. You will need to complete the whole Truman Scholarship application before January 10, 2024. Although you have to turn everything in by this first deadline, you may still revise your application materials to strengthen them.

The second deadline is the Foundation’s hard deadline of Tuesday, February 6, 11:59pm PST. After this date, you can no longer edit or revise your application.

After the second deadline, the Foundation will have a quick turn-around time to select finalists, conduct interviews, and make their selections, all within a month’s time. If you are selected as a finalist, the Foundation will contact you to set up a interview. Becky Blustein will offer you an opportunity to do a mock interview in order to prepare for the real interview. After the interviews, the Foundation will announce the winners by the end of February.

Final Words of Encouragement

When you apply to the Truman scholarship, you will get to meet UCLA professors who were past Truman scholars and past UCLA finalists who will share their application advice with you. So, you will have plenty of people who will help you during the application process; you will receive all the help that UCLA can offer.

For more information look up the official site, https://www.truman.gov/, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2023-10-18 The Marshall Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

The Marshall Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

In an effort to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships, our Strategies Blog will spotlight nationally competitive scholarships for the next few weeks. Today, we are taking a look at The Marshall Scholarship.

The Marshall Scholarship was originally founded to strengthen relations between the U.K. and the U.S. post World War II. Named after General George C. Marshall, the Marshall Scholarship funds U.S. students who have graduated with a  4-year degree and would like to study in a post-graduate program in the U.K. Past scholarship recipients have chosen to study at Oxford, King’s College, Cambridge, Imperial College, and the London School to name of the schools. The Marshall Scholarship offers either a 1-year or 2-year scholarship. The Scholarship covers tuition, costs of living, books, research, and travel grants–and may also offer a grant if you have a spouse or dependent.

To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen, have at least a 3.7 GPA, and have received your bachelor’s by the time you receive the scholarship. The Marshall Scholarship is looking for students who exhibit academic merit, leadership potential, and ambassadorial potential.

UCLA has resources to help you with all the application materials and the interviews. If you’re interested in the Marshall Scholarship, you will need to contact Becky Blustein (rblustein@college.ucla.edu) at the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment. She will be your UCLA liaison for your scholarship endorsement, as well as your main UCLA contact for help with the scholarship. She will provide you with resources, such as opportunities to do mock interviews. In addition, you should contact CSSE to get help writing the statements. You can make appointments here.

As for the timeline, to receive UCLA endorsement you will need to get in certain application materials to Becky Blustein by mid-July. You will need to submit a personal statement, an unofficial transcript, 2 letters of recommendation, and an annotated resume. Afterward you will complete the rest of the application on the Marshall website by late September. The committee will create a shortlist of candidates by late October and conduct final interviews in November.

In recent years, UCLA students have won the Marshall Scholarship and been featured on the scholarship website. You can read about past UCLA winners, Herman Chavez (2022) and Leia Yen (2020), who  is a UCLA transfer student from El Camino College, as well as other recipients here.

For more information about the Marshall Scholarship, visit their website: https://www.marshallscholarship.org/

You should also visit our website here: https://www.scholarshipcenter.ucla.edu/prestigious-scholars/marshall-scholarship/

2023-10-11 The Rhodes Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The Rhodes Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

In an effort to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships, our Strategies Blog will spotlight nationally competitive scholarships for the next few weeks. Today, we are taking a look at The Rhodes Scholarship.

The Rhodes Scholarship funds students who would like to study for one or two years at one of the oldest universities in the Western world, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. The scholarship will pay course fees and disburse a monthly living stipend in the amount of roughly $1,900 dollars (I converted the pounds into dollars for you). In total, the monthly stipend comes out to about $23,000 a year (again, I’m converting pounds into dollars for you).

The scholarship is meant for students who would like to do post-graduate study at Oxford in any subject. This means that you should be thinking about the Rhodes Scholarship in your junior year and applying in your senior year. According to their website, the Rhodes committee is looking for leaders who have artistic and athletic pursuits and exhibit moral strength–in other words, a well-rounded person and scholar. However, in recent years the Rhodes committee has widened the meaning of “athletic pursuits”; you don’t necessarily need to have extramural activities on your resume or CV.

Applying to the Rhodes scholarship requires lots of work, as do most of these nationally competitive scholarships. The scholarship application requires a Personal Statement, an Academic Statement, and several letters or recommendation. Once your application has been reviewed by the Rhodes committee, you will take part in a round of interviews.

Typically, the Rhodes application opens in July. You will need to submit certain application materials to the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE) by mid-July in order to get a UCLA endorsement. Then you will receive permission to finish the application before the early October deadline. The interviews will then take place in mid-November.

Luckily, for you, UCLA has resources to help you with all the application materials and the interviews. If you’re interested in the Rhodes Scholarship, you will need to contact Becky Blustein (rblustein@college.ucla.edu) at CSSE. She will be your main UCLA contact for help with the scholarship. She will provide you with resources, such as opportunities to do mock interviews. In addition, you should contact CSSE to get help writing the statements. You can make appointments here. The Rhodes Scholarship website also has lots of video information about the application itself and the process here.

To repeat, you will need to contact Becky Blustein as she will be your UCLA liaison for your endorsement to the Rhodes Scholarship; the Rhodes committee will not accept your application without an endorsement from UCLA.

For more information about the Rhodes Scholarship you may visit their website:


And you may visit our website at:

2023-10-04 The Goldwater Scholarship -- Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The Goldwater Scholarship

–Spotlight on Nationally Competitive Scholarships–

In an effort to get more UCLA students to apply to nationally competitive scholarships, our Strategies Blog will spotlight nationally competitive scholarships for the next few weeks. Today, we are taking a look at the Goldwater Scholarship, whose deadline is November 22, about two months away–still plenty of time to apply.

Named after U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, the Goldwater Scholarship funds exceptional undergraduate STEM students who seek research careers in the Life Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics. The Goldwater Scholarship awards up to $7,500 in annual tuition. Meaning that if you apply as a sophomore, you can receive up to 2 years of funding from the scholarship.

Typically, UCLA will nominate 5 undergraduates who are sophomores or juniors for the Goldwater, and 2 of them will win the award. This year we are looking to nominate 5-6 applicants, with one spot reserved for a veteran student and the other for a transfer student. Let’s get to some of the important information:


To be eligible, you must be a sophomore or junior student in a STEM field. You must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. And you must intend to pursue a research career in the life sciences, engineering, or mathematics.

Application Materials

To begin the process, you will fill out what the Goldwater Foundation calls a “Pre-application.” While “Pre-application” may cause you anxiety, you are actually just registering through the website. Afterward, the real application begins. You will need to submit a Research Essay, Transcripts, 3 Letters of Recommendation, and write answers to a few other application questions. For the Research Essay, most students submit an essay for a project they’ve done in the past. The Research Essay serves as evidence of the student’s future research directions. As for the other application questions, these tend to be Personal Statements and Diversity Statements. If you’re concerned about any of these application questions, you should definitely make appointments with an advisor at the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment.


There are two deadlines you need to be aware of. The first deadline of November 22, 2023 is an internal UCLA deadline. After filling out the Pre-application, you will need UCLA to nominate you for the Goldwater Scholarship, and then you will be able to access the rest of the application. You will need to meet with Becky Blustein at the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE). She will work closely with you to ensure your application demonstrates high-quality work and promise. UCLA will send the Goldwater Foundation its nominations by January 26th, 2024, which is the last Friday in January. Afterward, the Goldwater Foundation will review all nominations, vote on recipients by mid-March, and announce recipients on March 29th, 11am (Central Time).

Final Words of Encouragement

If the application process stresses you out, you should consider yourself lucky that we have lots of resources for you. One past UCLA undergraduate, Spenser Talkington, who received the Goldwater Scholarship, created a website with information on the scholarship. He even includes his own Research Essay as a sample for your own. You can find his website here.

To motivate you, you can read about last year’s Goldwater Scholarship recipient here.

For more information look up the official site, https://goldwaterscholarship.gov/, and contact Becky Blustein at rblustein@college.ucla.edu.

2022-23 BLOG

Summer 2023 — Types of Scholarships

2023-09-12 National Merit Scholarships

Wednesday, September 12, 2023

National Merit Scholarships

National merit scholarships are awards given to students who demonstrate excellence in learning and/or research at the national or international competitive level. Meaning that winning a national merit scholarship definitely speaks volumes of its recipient.

For that reason, most national merit scholarships require a UCLA nomination. UCLA sets a deadline months before the actual deadline set by the foundation awarding the scholarship. UCLA’s deadline ensures, first of all, that only serious students will apply to national merit scholarships; second, that those students will have time to revise their application materials before the foundation’s deadline; and three, that UCLA will fully support any student that applies. Trust us, UCLA wants that prestige!

None of what I said should discourage you from applying–many UCLA students have won particular national merit scholarships in past years. Below is a list of national merit scholarships. The dates listed are UCLA campus deadlines, rather than foundation deadlines. For more information about nominations, contact UCLA’s Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment.

The Churchill Scholarship provides funding to students for a year of master’s study in science, engineering, and mathematics at the University of Cambridge. The award covers university and college fees, travel, and a living allowance. Applicants must be in their final year of a bachelor’s degree, a U.S. citizen, between ages 19-26, and hold a GPA of 3.8 or higher. Students must show exceptional academic achievement and demonstrate a capacity to advance the knowledge of indicated majors.

UCLA Deadline: October 1

The Marshall Scholarship finances a degree at a university in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland). Eligible students must be U.S. citizens with a 3.7 GPA or higher and be prepared to graduate within two years. The program encourages recipients to become ambassadors to the U.K. The award varies by circumstances, but students on average receive about $47,000 worth of funding to offset the cost of living, residence, tuition fees, and fares to and from the U.S.

UCLA Deadline: June 30

The Rhodes Scholarship is open to students in any field of study. The scholarship selects students with outstanding scholarly achievements, a commitment to the common good, and who demonstrate potential for leadership. The award includes all college and university fees, a stipend for living expenses, and transportation to and from England. Eligible students must be undergraduate students or have completed a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.7 of higher. Students with an interest in graduate study at Oxford University are highly encouraged to apply.

UCLA Deadline: June 30 

Other Scholarships to Consider:

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for students with a Federal Pell Grant to pursue a study abroad program; due early September.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program for research projects and cultural exchange outside the U.S.; due early September.

Luce Scholars Program for study in one of 15 Asian countries and regions in East and Southeast Asia, including India and Nepal; due early September.

Schwarzman Scholars Program for study of public policy, international relations, economics, or business in Beijing, China; due early September.

Critical Language Scholarship for overseas critical language instruction in one of 13 designated languages; due early October.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program for seniors pursuing graduate work in science and engineering; due early October.

Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship for students pursuing a career in public policy or related fields; due early October.

Soros Fellowship for New Americans for immigrants or children of immigrants pursuing graduate work in the U.S.; due early October.

Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Awards for pre-PhD funding to diverse individuals committed to teaching and a research career; due early November.

George W. Mitchell Scholarship for one year of study at a university in Ireland; UCLA deadline: June 30.

2023-09-05 Where do International and AB540 Students Find Scholarships?

Wednesday, September 5, 2023

Where do International and AB540 Students Find Scholarships?

Here’s the quick answer—drop by the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment in 233 Covel Commons any time during our summer office hours, which are Monday – Friday from 12 pm to 5 pm. Typically, we at the CSSE recommend online scholarship search engines as the best starting point for U.S. citizens seeking scholarship opportunities. However, those search engines typically do not help international and undocumented students nearly as much as they do U.S. citizens, since many of the essay contests found through those search engines exclude international and undocumented students from eligibility.

Instead, we encourage international and undocumented students to make use of special resources that our staff has assembled at the CSSE office in Covel Commons.  We have a handout entitled “Resources for International and AB540 Students” that includes links to a number of useful online resources, such as scholarship search engines that (unlike most search engines) do focus on international students and scholarship listings geared toward AB540 and non-citizen students.

We also have a folder that collects printouts of various individual scholarship opportunities open to international and AB540 students, which our staff members have retrieved from Internet searches.  A number of scholarship catalogues appear at the front of the folder, followed by a number of scholarships organized by due date.  In the very back of the folder, we have a few general resources relevant to international and undocumented students (such as information about loans), as well as a final section of scholarships open to international and undocumented graduate students.

The CSSE’s website(www. scholarshipcenter. ucla.edu) also includes resources useful to international and undocumented students.  From the home page, click on “Scholarship Search” and then click again on “International Student” to find a variety of useful links that include both scholarship opportunities and more general resources useful to international and undocumented students.  Between our handout, our scholarship folder, and our online resources, international and undocumented students will find more than enough at the CSSE to initiate a successful scholarship search.

2023-08-29 About National & International Merit Scholarships

Wednesday, August 29, 2023

About National & International Merit Scholarships

Have you ever dreamed of being a Fulbright recipient or a Rhodes scholar and seeing the world? Why not try to make that dream a reality? There are prestigious scholarships open to students in every field of study. Above all else, the applications for these high- profile national and international scholarships require planning. For that reason, now is the time for you to get started on gathering your materials for these applications.

For most of these scholarships, you are required to begin the application through UCLA before you can apply directly to the scholarship itself. Here’s a rundown of these prestigious scholarships, as well as links to their main websites and the UCLA websites where you can obtain information for beginning the application process.

For information on these and many other scholarships, please contact UCLA’s Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE) and the UCLA Honors Department. We will help you get started on your dream of winning a prestigious national or international merit scholarship! Our staff can help you identify awards for which you might be eligible and then help you create the most successful application possible.

2023-08-23 Scholarships for Social Science Majors

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Scholarships for Social Science Majors

With summer terms underway, it’s time to start thinking about fall 2023. By now you will have completed the FAFSA and applied for financial aid, but there is still a lot more you can do to prepare for expenses in the 2023-24 academic year. Scholarships are one way to chip away at college costs. For every field of study, there are many scholarships just for you! Here are some opportunities that are specifically for students in the Social Sciences.

The Undergraduate Research Fellows Program (URFP) for the arts, humanities, social sciences and behavioral sciences supports students doing entry-level research. The Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) supports students in these fields who are committed to completing a departmental honors thesis or comprehensive research or creative project.

The URSP includes the UCLA McNair Research Scholars Program, which is a two-year research-based intensive program for juniors that prepares undergraduate students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in the humanities or social sciences. This program is for students who are committed to social change and who use scholarship and research as a means to achieve social justice.

Another URSP program is the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, whose objective is to increase the number of minority students, and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities, who will pursue Ph.D.s in core fields in the arts and sciences.

There are also many private scholarships for students in the Social Sciences. The Daughters of the American Revolution awards multiple scholarships to students pursuing degrees in diverse disciplines including history, law, nursing, and education. (http://www.dar.org/natsociety/edout_scholar.cfm). The National Federation of Republican Women offers several scholarships and internships to female students interested in political science and economics  (http://www.nfrw.org/programs/scholarships.htm).

For history majors there are opportunities such as the George Watt Prize, which is awarded for an essay or thesis chapter about any aspect of the Spanish Civil War, the global political or cultural struggles against fascism in 1920s and 1930s, or the lifetime histories and contributions of the Americans who fought in support of the Spanish Republic from 1936 to 1938 (https://alba-valb.org/education/essays/).

The Los Angeles Geographical Society offers scholarships to aspiring geographers (http://lageography.org/). The Society for the History of Discoveries offers awards for essays on the theme of exploration and history, whether the subject is travel, biography, cartography, or any other aspect of discovery (https://discoveryhistory.org/student-prize).

Departments also provide many great opportunities for funding. Check with the undergraduate advisor in your program to see which scholarships, contests, and research openings might be available to you. For example, the archeology department offers funding opportunities so that students have a chance work in the field.

Be sure to come to the UCLA Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment to learn about more opportunities. We have bulletin boards focused on different areas of study, including one just for students in the social sciences. We have another board that exclusively lists essay contests, many of which are related to the social sciences. In addition, we can show you how to search for scholarships on your own and find those tailored specifically for your area of interest, whether that is archaeology, anthropology, communication studies, or any other field of study. Finally, we will work with you on your application, from helping you assemble materials to giving you feedback on essays.  Both at UCLA and beyond, there are many opportunities waiting to be discovered, and we can help you find them.

2023-08-16 Departmental Scholarships

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Departmental Scholarships

Look for Scholarships offered by your Department!  Start with my.ucla.edu

Did you know that there are many scholarships, essay contests, and research prizes open only to UCLA students that are available through your academic major or minor department and through academic centers on campus? Many students don’t apply for these terrific sources of funding just because they don’t know how to find them. Don’t let this happen to you! My.ucla.edu is a good tool to find scholarships.   Sign in and select “Finances and Jobs,” then under the “Financial Aid and Scholarships” heading click on “Scholarship Home.” After finding a scholarship, you should still check with your major’s departmental counselor or undergraduate advisor for updates. Sometimes my.ucla.edu won’t have the latest awards listed yet but it is a great place to start!

A (small) sample of UCLA Departmental Scholarships:

Center for the Study of Women/Barbra Streisand Center

As part of its commitment to academic excellence, CSW|Streisand Center encourages the development of scholarly and professional skills among UCLA undergraduate students interested in research related to women, gender, and sexuality. To that effect, the CSW offers four different awards for undergraduates: 1. The Constance Coiner Undergraduate Prize, 2. The Elizabeth Blackwell, MD, Undergraduate Award, 3. The Renaissance Award, and 4. Travel Grants. Below are links to the webpage and the Funding Flyer. Deadlines are in early November 2023 and late February 2024.



Department of Economics

UCLA’s Department of Economics has 11 scholarship awards for undergraduates who have officially declared themselves as Economics majors. The awards range from $3,500-$5,000. While the department will announce its most recent winners this month, if you’re an Economics major bookmark the following links and be ready to apply for the upcoming year.


Department of English

UCLA’s Department of English has a range of awards and prizes available to all UCLA undergraduates (not just English majors) who write poetry or fiction. Awards range from $100 to $5,000. The department also offers an essay prize for best critical or research essay on a literary subject–this prize is reserved for English majors only. To see the full list of awards see the link below.


Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology

UCLA’s Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology offers one scholarship and two awards to its undergraduates who demonstrate excellence in physiological science or who create an outstanding poster based on their research. For more information about deadlines and award amounts, visit the link below.


Department of Linguistics

Since 2017, UCLA’s Department of Linguistics has been offering undergraduate research and travel awards through the Phonetics Lab. This award is available to undergraduate students for research into linguistics. For more information and to download the application, visit the link below.


For more information about UCLA scholarships by department, check out our website www.scholarshipcenter.ucla.edu

2023-08-08 Six Frequently Asked Questions about Ordering Transcripts

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Six Frequently Asked Questions about Ordering Transcripts

Whether you are applying for scholarships, graduate school, or even some jobs, it is almost certain that you will have to order transcripts at least once (but more likely many times) during your undergraduate career. A transcript is a document that details your academic history at an educational institution. Although ordering UCLA transcripts through the Registrar’s Office is a fairly straightforward process, students are often confused about the differences between the various kinds of transcripts they can order, as well as which is most appropriate for their individual needs. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about ordering transcripts for scholarship applications.

1) How are official, unofficial, and verification transcripts different from one another?

An official transcript (also known as an “academic transcript”) details your entire academic record at UCLA, including a chronological list of the courses you’ve taken and your grades in those classes, transfer credits applied to your degree, your cumulative GPA, any academic actions on your record, UCLA degrees awarded (if applicable), and a listing of the courses you are currently taking (if applicable). Official transcripts can only be printed by the Registrar’s Office on special security paper, and they will be delivered in a sealed blue envelope. If you break the seal of your official transcript, the transcript becomes unofficial, so if you will be collecting your transcripts to send with your applications, remember not to open the blue envelope.

An unofficial transcript (also called a “student copy”) contains all of the same information as the official academic transcript, but it is not printed on special paper. Students are allowed to handle unofficial transcripts, which may be obtained through my.ucla.edu, from your department’s undergraduate counselor, or in person from the Registrar’s Office (1113 Murphy Hall).

An official verification transcript (also called a “proof of enrollment”) certifies that you are registered as a UCLA student and that you have paid your fees for the current academic term. It also indicates your enrollment status and lists any degrees you have received from the institution. Verification transcripts can only confirm student status after student fees have been paid for the term. These transcripts do not show courses you have taken or the grades received.

2) How much do transcripts cost?

Unofficial transcripts can be downloaded for free. As of this writing, Official UCLA transcripts cost $15 each, as do official verification transcripts. (Please note, however, that the fee for a verification transcript is waived if it is being requested for loan or student aid verifications.) The processing time required for both kinds of official transcripts is three business days; one-day expedited processing is available for an additional $25 (for the entire order, not per transcript). Transcripts can be picked up in person at the Registrar’s Office at 1115 Murphy Hall or delivered via standard mail for no additional cost; other special handling of transcripts, including delivery via courier service, will incur additional costs. For up to date information on transcript fees see here.

3) What kinds of transcripts are typically required for scholarship applications?

Unless otherwise indicated, most scholarship applications require academic (whether official or unofficial) rather than verification transcripts. Read each scholarship application carefully to determine whether the scholarship organization requires an official or an unofficial academic transcript. If the organization administering the scholarship doesn’t specify a certain kind of transcript, you can probably assume that an unofficial transcript is acceptable, but it doesn’t hurt to call the organization to confirm this before you apply.


4) Is it better to have the Registrar’s Office send official transcripts to me or directly to the scholarship organization?

Again, this largely depends on the application guidelines. If a scholarship organization insists that an official transcript be submitted directly to them by the university, follow their directions and arrange to have the Registrar’s Office send your transcript(s) to them. If the application does not specify how the committee wishes to receive your official transcript, however, it is better for you to collect the transcript(s) and send them to the organization with the rest of your application packet to ensure that all of your materials will arrive together and on time.

5) I’m a transfer student. Do I need to submit transcripts for scholarship applications from my community college as well as from UCLA?

Unless the application guidelines state otherwise, you will need to submit transcripts from all of the secondary institutions from which you have received a degree and/or established a GPA.

6) A scholarship application is asking me to submit an electronic copy of my transcript. How do I do that?

You can download an electronic copy of your transcript from my.ucla.edu. You can also ask your department’s undergraduate counselor to email an electronic copy of your transcript to you. In these situations, unofficial transcripts are usually acceptable since they cannot be sealed in this format.

One final tip to keep in mind when ordering a transcript: unless you are a graduating senior whose final quarter grades and degree have all been posted, you should not order more official transcripts than you will need during any given quarter. If your scholarship search continues into the next quarter, you will have to order new, up-to-date transcripts for those applications.

2023-08-02 How to Fix a Scholarship Essay

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

How to Fix a Scholarship Essay

1. Make a writing appointment!

The CSSE offers assistance with the essays, personal statements, and statements of purpose that you’ll undoubtedly find yourself writing when applying to scholarships. Sign up through our website (at least one day in advance), and we’ll schedule you for a 30-minute writing appointment. Choose the specific time and day for your appointment and you will be provided with the email address of the Student Affairs Advisor (SAA) with whom you’ll be meeting. You’ll  need to send the SAA your draft, outline, or brainstorming notes by 11am on the day of your appointment, which will give your editor time to look it over carefully, write comments, and provide verbal feedback.

Expert tip: Include the scholarship application, scholarship website, and prompt in your email. The more our staff knows about the writing task you’re working on, the better we can help you.

2. Keep an eye out for common writing problems!

While seeking outside guidance on your writing is invaluable, you should also, of course, spend time editing and revising on your own. Here are three examples of small but significant problems to watch out for. Keep in mind that these are just a few of the errors that show up most frequently in scholarship essays; you should be reading and revising your work over multiple drafts in order to attend to all sorts of writing issues, small and large both.

Issue 1: Subject-Verb Agreement

Example: These facts about ecological devastation has shaped my academic and professional goals.

Solution: These facts about ecological devastation have shaped my academic and professional goals.

Explanation: Grammatical basics like subject-verb alignment are easy to miss when you’re writing quickly and don’t have much time to revise. Give yourself that time. If you still end up with a sentence so tricky that you’re having difficulty locating the main subject and main verb, or determining whether they should be singular or plural, consider rewriting the sentence entirely.

Issue 2: Expletive Constructions or “Dummy Heads”

Example: There was only one week left in my study-abroad program in Mexico when I began to notice a change in my Spanish skills.

Solution A: I had only a week left in my study-abroad program in Mexico when…

Solution B: My study-abroad program in Mexico had only a week remaining when…

Explanation: Opening a sentence with a phrase like “There is,” “There are,” “It is,” or even “It” commonly leads to vague or awkward writing. While these phrases are somewhat different from one another and are often used in a manner that is technically correct (as in this example), you’re better off eliminating them when possible. And you should definitely avoid using them with too much frequency. When in doubt, locate the key actor in a sentence, and try to make her, him, or it your grammatical subject.

Issue 3: Generalizations and Overstatements

Example: From the beginning of time, student loans have made life hell.

Solution A: The majority of borrowers who take out student loans are still paying back those loans well into their 30s.

Solution B: Student loans have a serious impact on the lives of individuals, and increasing student debt has serious repercussions for the U.S. economy.

Explanation: While the example above has a certain outrageous charm, it’s also false on its face: Student loans didn’t exist at, or before, the beginning of time. In most situations, being specific rather than general, balanced rather than overstated, and insightful rather than bombastic will impress the decision-makers reading your scholarship essay(s). Opening an essay with a sweeping claim about “time,” “society,” “life,” “history,” or “the world” rarely has as much impact as a clear and focused observation.

3. Seek out other campus resources for writing help!

Your friends, roommates, classmates, and family members can be great resources when you need someone to read through a piece of writing and make suggestions. In addition, UCLA has a variety of places on campus (including the CSSE, of course!) where you can seek out assistance with your writing. Don’t be shy about asking for help. These organizations exist to lend you a hand.

Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE)

web: scholarshipcenter.ucla.edu

office: Covel Commons 233 (M-F 12pm-5pm, summer hours)

email: src@college.ucla.edu

phone: 310-825-2875

services: one-on-one mentoring and editing for scholarship and fellowship materials (essays, personal statements, statements of purpose)

Undergraduate Writing Center (UWC)

web: wp.ucla.edu/wc

office: Humanities A61 (M-Th 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-3pm), Rieber Hall 115 (Sun-Th 7pm-9pm), Powell 228 (Sun-Th 6pm-9pm)

email: wcenter@g.ucla.edu

phone: 310-206-1320

services: one-on-one peer assistance with all types of written work (course papers, research papers, capstone projects, senior thesis papers, resumes, CVs, personal statements, statements of purpose, cover letters)

Academic Advancement Program (AAP)

web: aap.ucla.edu

office: Campbell Hall 1230/1232 (M-F 9am-5pm)

email: aapnewstudents@college.ucla.edu

phone: 310-206-1551

services: wide-ranging assistance for students from multi-ethnic, low-income, first generation, and multiracial backgrounds

Graduate Writing Center (GWC)

web: gsrc.ucla.edu/gwc/

office: Student Activities Center B11

email: gwc@gsa.asucla.ucla.edu

phone: 310-267-4806

services: assistance for graduate students with articles, prospectuses, dissertations, etc.

Career Center

web: career.ucla.edu

office: 501 Westwood Plaza, Strathmore Building, North Entrance, 2nd & 3rd Floors (M-F 9am-5pm)

email: visit career.ucla.edu/UCLA-Career-Center-Staff

phone: 310-206-1915

services: assistance with resumes, CVs, internship applications, and job applications

Writing Success Program (WSP)

web: cpo.ucla.edu/src/writing-success-program, wspucla.wordpress.com, wspucla.setmore.com

office: Student Activities Center 105

email: wsp@cpo.ucla.edu

phone: 310-825-5969, 310-794-9079

services: drop-in counseling and one-on-one assistance with all types of written work (course papers, research papers, capstone projects, senior thesis papers, resumes, CVs, personal statements, statements of purpose, cover letters)

2023-07-26 Where to Find Writing Help on Campus

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Where to Find Writing Help on Campus

As an enrolled UCLA student, you should know that the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE) is the central hub for your scholarship writing support. We are here to assist you from the first draft to the last; we can help you brainstorm ideas, develop content, and proofread your finished essay or scholarship application.

Occasionally, students contact us for writing services other than for scholarship application purposes (in particular, term papers and graduate admission statements). Although these writing needs are outside of the CSSE’s purview, the good news is that there are other centers on campus that are funded and equipped to help you with these needs.

Here is a road map to help you obtain writing services related to term papers and graduate/professional school admissions essays:

  1. The UCLA Career Center is the main center on campus that provides intense and all-around support for students who are working on graduate school Statements of Purpose as well as graduate school applications. They offer workshops, one-on-one career counseling, as well as writing appointments. Their number is (310) 206-1915, and you can make a writing appointment through Handshake (account required); https://career.ucla.edu/
  2. The AAP Graduate Mentoring Program pairs current AAP members with graduate mentors who help with graduate application essays and the application process (https://www.aap.ucla.edu/units/graduate-mentoring-and-research-programs)
  3. The UCLA Undergraduate Writing Center provides free writing assistance for undergraduate term papers. The writing tutorial is facilitated by Peer Learning Facilitators (PLFs) who are fellow UCLA undergraduates trained to work with academic readers and writers. They can assist with term papers and fellowship essays in any discipline, and they welcome ESL and multilingual writers. They can assist writers at any stage in the writing process, and they have both scheduled and walk-in appointments. For more information, please visit their website (www.wp.ucla.edu).
  4. The Graduate Writing Center (GWC) offers free writing assistance with friendly, experienced writing consultants to all registered UCLA graduate and professional school students. Meet with a graduate writing consultant to work on writing issues ranging from style and argumentation to grammar and syntax. Please keep in mind that the consultation appointments are interactive sessions, not proofreading appointments. The goal of the GWC is to help you become an effective writer and communicator in your academic or professional life. The GWC also offers a variety of workshops and programs throughout the year. During the summer, it offers dissertation “boot camps” for graduate students working on dissertation proposals and dissertations. For master’s thesis writers, it offers master’s thesis boot camps and facilitated writing groups. The GWC also organizes independent writing groups (primarily for doctoral students) during fall quarter. During spring break, it offers a dissertation boot camp for those in science and engineering fields. (https://gwc.gsrc.ucla.edu/)

2023-07-19 Cashing in On Labor Union Scholarships

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Cashing in On Labor Union Scholarships

At the heart of unionism is the notion that there is power in numbers. But in the world of scholarship applications, the inverse is true: The fewer your competitors, the better your odds of winning.

Every year, numerous labor unions offer sizable scholarships, ranging from $400 to $10,000, some of them renewable for up to four years of a student’s collegiate career. These union scholarships are open to union members and their families—usually their children (including step-children) or spouse, but also grandchildren or other dependent kin. In most cases, applicants can be from a family of active, retired, or deceased union members.

Given that currently in the United States 14.3 million workers are union members (or 10.1% of the total workforce), there’s a fair chance that someone in your family is a union member, making you eligible to vie for the piece of the sumptuous union scholarship pie. These scholarship opportunities are especially worth seizing, because probability works in your favor. Since these awards are exclusively set aside for union members and their families, you are competing with a significantly narrowed applicant pool.

On your next visit home, do some domestic investigation and ask your parents (or grandparents, or other such provider figures) if they belong to a union. Is your father a healthcare employee? Then it’s likely he is a member of SEIU (Service Employee International Union) or AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees). Is your mother a K-12 teacher or a college instructor? Chances are, she’s an AFT (American Federation of Teachers) member. Or better yet, you yourself may be a working student with a union affiliation. If so, be sure to tap into any scholarship opportunities or educational aid that will likely be available to you. Even in the case where the union to which you or your family belong does not directly oversee any scholarships, it may very well be associated with larger trans-union organizations such as Union-Plus that administer and disburse scholarship prizes to affiliated union members and their families.

Following is a selective list of labor union scholarship programs. Keep in mind that while many of the deadlines for these awards are now past for the 2022-23 academic year, these are continuing scholarships that are available for the subsequent school years, including the 2023-24 school year. So you have plenty of time to plan ahead!

American Federation of Teachers Robert G. Porter Scholars Program

This program offers four 4-year, $8,000 post-secondary scholarships to students who are dependents of AFT members, as well as 10 one-time $1,000 grants to AFT members to assist with their continuing education and/or fund their proposed ideas to strengthen and grow their union.


IAM (International  Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers) Scholarship

This scholarship competition is open each year to members of the IAM and their children throughout the United States and Canada. Awards to members are $2,000 per academic year being disbursed for two years (max of $4000.00). They are granted for a specific period from one to four years to enable the member to earn a Bachelor’s degree or a two-year vocational/technical certification. Awards to Children of Members are: College — $1,000 per academic year. All awards are renewed each year until a Bachelor’s degree is obtained up to a maximum of four years. Vocational/Technical School — $2,000 per year until certification is reached up to a maximum of two years.

SEIU (Service Employees International Union)

SEIU offers 53 scholarship opportunities to support studies in areas including the arts, social justice, labor studies, and healthcare. All scholarships are open to members and their children. The awards range from $1,000 to $5,000, some of them renewable for multiple years.


UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) International Scholarship

Each year the UFCW International Union awards several scholarships of up to $8,000 each to UFCW members or their immediate family who want to further their education and demonstrate a commitment to their communities and to UFCW values. In addition to the annual scholarships offered by the International, some UFCW Locals offer their own scholarships. Contact your local union office to find out if your local has a scholarship program and if you are eligible to apply.


Union Plus Scholarship Program

These scholarships are open to members, spouses, and dependent children of unions participating in any of the Union Plus programs , and the award amount ranges from $500 – $4,000. This is a competitive one-time cash award sent to individual winners for undergraduate or graduate study. Winners are chosen based on academic achievement and potential, character, leadership, social awareness, career goals and financial need.


2023-07-12 Understanding Scholarship Essay Prompts

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Understanding Scholarship Essay Prompts

The essay is one of the most important parts of a good scholarship application, and the key to writing that stellar essay lies in understanding the essay prompt.

The first thing you will need to do is find the prompt, which is sometimes easier said than done. On a recent engineering scholarship application, for example, the essay prompt could only be found in the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) section of the application—not exactly easy to find! So, if your essay seems to have no prompt, do some digging. After you have found the prompt, it is time to read it carefully to understand what the committee is asking for.

Here are some tips that can help you close-read the prompt:

  1. Figure out what they call the essay. Do they refer to it as a personal statement? A statement of purpose? Those are the two most common types of essays. If they call it a personal statement, they likely want you to reflect back on moments in your life that shaped your current values, skills, and goals. If they are asking for a statement of purpose, they are likely asking you to focus on the future, spending time on immediate goals, graduation goals, and long-term goals.
  1. Highlight all direct questions they ask you in the prompt. If they ask, “What do you plan to do after graduation?” for example, you must make sure to answer that question in your essay. It seems basic, but answering the question an application asks you is extremely important!
  1. Underline keywords in the prompt. For example, if they ask for “specific details,” you will want to underline the word specific to remind yourself that you need to give details in the essay. If they ask for a “story,” give them a story! If they say to be “brief,” don’t write long paragraphs! Words like these are clues that can help you figure out what to put in your essay.
  1. The word count is also a clue! If they ask for a 250-word essay, you won’t have a lot of space to go into great detail about a lot of things—stay focused on one or two topics to get your point across. Obviously, the more essay space you have, the more topics you can cover.

Reading the essay prompt carefully can give you great insight into what the scholarship wants to learn about you. Making sure you answer all of the questions in the prompt and follow the keywords will ensure your essay gives them the information they need to choose you.

If the prompt says: Briefly discuss your short and long term goals.
They are looking for:

A concise statement of purpose/goals essay. When a scholarship (or a grad school) asks you about your goals, those goals don’t need to be set in stone—but they do need to be realistic and deeply thought out.

If the prompt says:

Describe how your family, heritage, and the community you grew up in influenced your desire and motivation to earn a college degree.
They are looking for:

A personal statement that connects your personal and cultural experiences to your goals.

If the prompt says: Describe an example of your leadership.

They are looking for:

A story about an experience you had where you demonstrated leadership. This could be by solving a problem, by influencing people, etc. They are not looking for a general meditation on leadership or a bunch of slogans.

If the prompt says:

How will this scholarship help you?
They are looking for:

An essay that combines elements of a personal statement and statement of purpose. Don’t talk about how having more money would help; that applies to everyone! Instead, think about how the scholarship might help you achieve your goals (either in college or after), and write about that.

2023-07-05 Write Your Personal Statement This Weekend

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Write Your Personal Statement This Weekend

Let’s face it: If you’re like the rest of us, writing is not easy. Chances are, an impending paper deadline leaves you feeling anxious, queasy, or downright resistant, where suddenly you realize that between writing that paper and cleaning the toilet (for the third time), the choice seems clear: the toilet. When it comes to scholarship applications, a personal statement is perhaps the single-most important and valuable document that can set you apart from the rest of the applicant pool. More than any other supporting data (such as the letter of recommendation or academic transcript), the personal statement is where you have exclusive control over what is included. It is a powerful tool you can use to present yourself in a winning light, whether that be as an individual with desirable personal qualities and interesting experiences, or a person who has overcome hardships or someone with ambitious professional aspirations.

Ironically, this knowledge of how heavily the personal statement is weighed is precisely why many of us dread or put off writing it, and why so many otherwise competitive students give up on the scholarship process altogether. It’s easy to tell ourselves to “just write it,” but where do we start? What questions can we ask to generate ideas that we can eventually build into the personal statement draft?

Like any major task, it helps to break down the writing into manageable parts and approach it as a process.  By following this four-step process, you will have the first draft of your personal statement by the end of this weekend!


Goal: To write the first draft of a personal essay by the end of this weekend


Step 1: Friday (1-2 hours). Use questions from the Brainstorming Ideas in the next column. Don’t worry about writing in complete sentences. Brainstorm and take lots of notes.


Step 2: Saturday (2-3 hours). Write a draft of the essay based on brainstorming ideas. Don’t  worry about length, grammar, or style, and to some extent, even content. Remember: Do not judge!

Step 3: Sunday (1-2 hours).  Use the Strategies for Revision checklist below to revise what you have written. Read it through at least 3 times and make changes.

Step 4: Schedule a writing appointment with the CSSE and email the draft as an attachment to your  assigned CSSE writing consultant no later than 24 hours before your scheduled appointment.

BRAINSTORMING IDEAS: Consider Your Abilities, Background, Interests, and Plans

  • How do I think of myself? What sets me apart from others, and what do those qualities indicate about me? How did I acquire these qualities?
  • How have my experiences and values prepared me for the study or career I want to pursue?
  • What is my interest and motivation in my field of study? What have I gotten out of it so far and what do I hope to get out of the future?
  • How did I become interested and motivated? Can I trace my interest to any concrete experiences?
  • What are my strengths—personal, academic, and experiential?
  • Is there any relevant aspect of myself that my resume or record does not reflect accurately?
  • Do my relevant experiences form any pattern? Broad exploration? Increasing focus? Tackling greater and greater challenges?
  • What kinds of experiences have taught me the most? How did I become the person I am today?


  • Read out loud, sentence by sentence
  • Read out loud backwards, from last to first sentence
  • Be sure to cut any sentence that is not specific or clear to you
  • Make the writing personal, specific—YOURS (as opposed to impersonal, generic or general)

Example: “I want to be an engineer so I can build things for the future.”

Better: “I want to be a civil engineer so I can build type x bridge in  Boulder, Colorado, as my initial interest in this community was sparked by my childhood visits there.”

Special thanks to Dr. Valerie Shepard of the UCLA Graduate Resource Center for having first developed this four-step approach to writing the personal statement.

Spring 2023 — On Writing & Other Tips

2023-06-28 The Scholarship Coach Shares Tips

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

The Scholarship Coach Shares Tips

Back in 2005, the CSSE hosted an event with Scholarship Coach Ben Kaplan, who won nearly $90,000 in private scholarship money, covering almost all of the cost of tuition for his Harvard education. We interviewed Ben at the time to discuss the scholarship process and find out what advice he has for students. The following interview has been reproduced below for your benefit.

Q. Initially, how did you learn about applying for scholarships?

A. I always assumed I’d go to college on a tennis scholarship, but a back injury took out that possibility…I heard about the Discover Card Scholarship for high school students and decided to apply—and I ended up winning $17,000, which got my attention!

Q. What was your process, and what resources did you use?

A. When I started it was mostly trial and error. I applied for three dozen scholarships over the course of the next year—so I didn’t stop on just one or two applications. It’s a learning curve…You develop a reusable suite of materials so it doesn’t take as much time as you go along. Winning scholarships is a game, and the best way to learn the game is to look at others who play it well. I looked at successful essays, spoke to past winners, etc.

Q. Did you ever think you would win $90,000 worth of scholarships?

A. No. It started accidentally, but there was a snowball effect. I won two dozen out of three dozen scholarships—from just a couple hundred dollars to $17,000. Small scholarships add up, and also add to your credentials to help win the big ones.

Q. What’s the most common question students ask?

A. “How do you make your essay stand out from the crowd?” is one I get asked a lot…I tell people to make it intensely personal—no one’s shared your exact life. Parents often ask how to motivated their kids to apply for scholarships. I encourage students to realize that every thousand dollars now equals freedom later on in life (to take the job of your choice instead of the one that’ll pay off your debt faster, to go traveling, etc).

Q. What’s the most common misconception people have?

A. People usually have a preconceived notion about who wins scholarships—they think you have to have a super-high GPA/tests scores, or be an athlete, or come from a low-income background.

Q. What do you mean when you advise student to “follow the scholarship breadcrumb trail”?

A. That refers to the fact that looking for one scholarship can lead you to the next. If you look up a scholarship program online, you’ll find not just that program, but also college guidance offices that list the scholarship you’ve typed in—and they’ll list others, as well. You can use other schools’ resources to help you find scholarships.

Q. What is the most important part of the scholarship process?

A. The attitude you bring in. A lot of the process is self-selection—the common link among scholarship winners is that they apply and keep applying. It’s not like Jeopardy—no one’s going to take away money if you lose!

Q. How can students increase their chances of winning scholarships?

A. Try to learn from past examples…focus on painting your portrait—showing the committee who you are, not just what you’ve done. Focus on positive character qualities you’ve demonstrated, and try to communicate a few key ideas in your application. For one scholarship, I concentrated on the fact that I wanted to be a writer—and so my personal statement discussed the power of writing, I had a letter or recommendation attesting to my writing ability, and the first several activities I listed on my resume were focused on writing.

Q. What would you recommend to students surfing the internet seeking scholarship information?

A. It’s useful to tap into the free internet scholarship databases—and more than one, since none of them is comprehensive. It’s important to be aware of their limitations, though: they’re very good at listing scholarships that are easy to pigeon-hole into categories, but they won’t necessarily have less quantitative ones. (How can you quantify something like “good character?”) And don’t just search for your current year—keep in mind your future academic standing as well.

Q. With all the research you’ve done, what pearl of wisdom would you offer students seeking scholarships?

A. What you do in this process, at its core, is two things: 1. Believe in yourself. 2. Persuade others to believe in you, too. This is useful beyond the scholarship process—for internships, jobs, etc. It’s a great skill to learn through the scholarship process—self-representation. The process changes you: you don’t have to be the perfect scholarship candidate when you start—it’s a growth process.

Ben Kaplan’s bestselling books and further resources are available online at:


2023-06-07 Frequently Asked Questions--Spring Edition!

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions—Spring Edition!

It’s that this time of year when we hear lots of questions— both from prospective students and from continuing UCLA students. So, here are some of the most common scholarship-related questions, with our answers.

Q: I didn’t get any scholarships from UCLA when I was accepted, can I still get scholarships at UCLA?

A: Many families and students are surprised when they don’t receive any merit-based scholarships with admission. But the truth is that a very small percentage of incoming UCLA students are awarded scholarships upon admission. Over 90% of incoming students come in without any merit-based awards!

But that doesn’t mean that students are not eligible for scholarships during their studies here. In fact, the campus has a lot of opportunities for students to apply for awards based on research, interests, career objectives, and community activities. The key is that anyone who wants to be considered for these scholarships has to identify them and apply for them.

Q: Can I get a scholarship if I don’t qualify for need?

A: Yes.

Only one aspect of scholarship “eligibility” pertains to financial need. If you find a scholarship that requires need and you don’t qualify, that scholarship just isn’t for you! Move on and find another one.

Q: How much does my GPA matter for winning scholarships?

A: This really depends on the award-granting institution that created the scholarship in the first place. Many organizations have created scholarships that do not emphasize GPA, but instead care about community activities, career goals, student background, and non-academic achievements. Like “need,” GPA is an eligibility requirement that is different for every organization.

Q: Do you have a list of scholarships I can apply for?

A: We hear this question every day, and it is by far the hardest one to answer. Not only are there too many scholarships to put into a single list, but all of the students that we work with are incredibly different. So it’s impossible to generate a list of scholarships that we can give to anyone who asks this question.

The process of creating a list of scholarships that fit with your personality, interests, career goals, courses of study, and sense of community is likely the most time consuming part of the scholarship process. If you’re asking this question, then you’re at the beginning of a very long process!

Q: How long does it take to win a scholarship?

A: While the application process takes time on your part, it takes even longer for scholarship committees to process candidates, rank the top choices, select winners, establish contact, and disburse funds. We suggest that you start applying for scholarships 6 – 12 months before you expect any scholarship money to be disbursed.

Q: Do people actually win scholarships that they find online?

A: Yes. But you have to actually apply for them! This year students that we have worked with have already won $500,000 in scholarships.

Q: Every time I look for scholarships they’re never for me. Are scholarships only for minorities?

A: There are a lot of scholarships for under-represented students. But there are also a lot of scholarships that aren’t. The truth is that all of our students walk into the office and start by saying, “I can’t seem to find scholarships that are for me.”

What we have found is that most students don’t know how to develop search strategies that are specific to how they define themselves. If you feel that you’re only finding scholarships that are for other people, then you probably need to change the way that you are searching. Can you brainstorm 25 different ways to describe yourself? Use those search terms to look for scholarships!

Q: I heard that you can get a scholarship for anything, is that true?

A: Well, this is basically true.

Think about it this way: if you were to grow up one day and become a multi-millionaire, would you create a scholarship? If so, how would you identify the perfect scholarship candidate? You would probably narrow down the perfect candidate based on your own personal experiences, human connections, influential mentors, and passions. The people who give money to college students are individuals who have very personal reasons for wanting to support the education of a complete stranger. There is no way to predict or categorize the number of things that people care about. And for you, that’s actually a great thing. Your job is to figure out what you care about, and find someone else who cares about that too.

2023-05-31 Avoiding Scholarship Scams

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Avoiding Scholarship Scams

The world of scholarships has long been a target for scammers. When the SRC opened in the late 1990s, we heard reports of “pay to enter” schemes, “scholarships” that “guaranteed” success in exchange for students or families registering with an application service, and so on. In the years since, we have seen new variations on old scams, along with wholly new innovations in scammery. This doesn’t mean you should be discouraged from applying for scholarships — just that it’s important to do your homework.

Here are a few types of scams and unethical programs we have seen, along with red flags and how to avoid them:

Scams that target your money:

  • Any scholarship that requires a fee to enter – even a nominal fee – is most likely a scam. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as art shows that require an entry fee. But other than that, you should not pay money to get scholarships.

Scams that target your personal information:

  • Scholarships should not ask for sensitive personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account information on their application forms. If they do, it is a danger sign. (Some foundations might need your SSN in order to pay you once they have awarded the scholarship, but that comes later, and you will know that they are legitimate by that point.)
  • We are seeing more online essay contests that ask for very personal information, sometimes in ways that seem deceptive. For example, a recent announcement we received asked entrants to write an essay about their first pet. Sounds innocuous – even fun – right? But when you combine the personal information from the application form (name, address, DOB) with the name of your first pet, think about what a potential scammer or identity thief now has: enough information to recover a protected password and get into your accounts. We have also received several recent program announcements that ask for applicants’ full Social Security Numbers up front on the application form. Be alert and think carefully about what information you are being asked for. Don’t fall for what amounts to an elaborate phishing scam.

Scams that target your time or skills:

  • Some so-called “scholarships” are really sweepstakes: it doesn’t cost you much time or effort to enter, but it might not be worth it anyway, and you will get a lot of spam if you do.
  • Others are attempts to get you to market a company or its product (“share or like for a chance to win!”). That is not a scholarship: that is the company taking advantage of your time and social media presence to market itself.
  • Next, be careful of online essay contests that are just not real scholarships. My favorite cautionary example here is from a marketing site that aggregates reviews for “sump pumps.” (If you don’t know what that is, it’s a pump that goes in the basement to prevent flooding if you live in a low-lying or flood prone area.) The site asked us to promote their “scholarship”—in actuality, a thrilling opportunity for students to write the site’s content for free. (I would be stunned if this “scholarship” were ever awarded.) The list of essay prompts had nothing to do with students’ interests or experiences: “Key uses of sump pumps,” “Importance of sump pump during flooding,” and so on. That is not a scholarship — it is a company taking advantage of students’ writing skills and their dedication to searching for funds. Not worth your time, energy, or skills.

With all this in mind, how can you avoid being scammed – especially if you are searching for scholarships online?

One tip is simply to find out all you can about the foundation, agency, or company sponsoring the scholarship. Can you find any information about them other than the page advertising the scholarship? Do they have complaints on the Better Business Bureau? If the funder is a charitable foundation, what is their reputation? If the scholarship is funded by a small business or online company, what does the company do? Is the scholarship related to their work?

Second, when it comes to scholarship applications, maintain the same close guard on your private personal information that you would in any other context. If an application form requests Social Security numbers, banking details, or any of the information that you use to protect your accounts (your place of birth, your mother’s maiden name, the name of your first pet, and so on), be very careful.

Finally, if you have questions about any scholarship you’re considering or are anxious about it, you can bring your concerns to the CSSE and one of our counselors will be happy to help you!

2003-05-24 Yes You Can Still Win Scholarships for Next School Year!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Yes You Can Still Win Scholarships for Next School Year!

We may have entered the home stretch of the 2022-23 academic year, but plenty of time remains to secure  scholarships for yourself for the 2023-24 academic year.  Sure, it would have been ideal to start applying back in early fall when the scholarship season generally begins, but the scholarship season does not end until about halfway through the summer.

So, what can you do to make the most of the time remaining and win as many scholarships as possible?  First, if you have never visited us at our main office (233 Covel Commons), do not wait another second!  Drop in as soon as you can during business hours (Tuesdays-Thursdays 11-6, no appointment necessary), and our staff experts will get you started.

You may feel a little overwhelmed after your first visit and realize the vast number of scholarships out there, but brush that off.  You do not need to find and apply for every single scholarship out there this very day or week.  Instead, just set a goal to find two scholarships due this month where you meet all the eligibility criteria.  Be aware that you may have to look at twenty or thirty scholarships before you’ve found those two, so set aside about one hour for your search.  Whether you actually find those two scholarships in ten minutes or sixty, two is a very good result for an hour of searching.  Even one will do – the main thing is to begin applying as soon as possible!

The easiest and quickest way to find those first two is to sign up for one of the scholarship search engines that you can find under the “Scholarship Search” tab of our website (www.scholarshipcenter.ucla.edu).  Search engine scholarships are typically essay contests with very broad eligibility criteria, so you should be able to find your two very quickly with those.  For a search engine that helpfully organizes scholarship results by due date, try www.unigo.com/scholarships/match.

International students, however, are not usually as well served by search engines as US citizens, and if that’s the case for you, come to the SRC main office and pick up our resource guide for international students to find those first two scholarships.  Even if you aren’t an international student, you should look into the various resource guides we have for different student populations. The eligibility criteria won’t be as broad as for the search engines, but then again not as many students will apply, either.

So, don’t be intimidated.  Get excited about winning scholarships, because there is still plenty of time before the end of the season, and our expert staff can help you do it!

2023-05-17 Keeping Your Eyes on the Scholarship Prize During Summer Break

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Keeping Your Eyes On The Scholarship Prize During Summer Break

Soon it will be the second week of June, and you’ll just have wrapped up your last final exam. You’ll be feeling great! Summer will finally be here! And while you will probably have all sorts of fun and intellectually stimulating activities planned—vacation with family, travel abroad, summer research—you will probably not give much thought to finding new scholarships. We hate to be the killjoy, but remember that fall quarter will also be here before you know it, and summer is an excellent time to get a jump on those early September/October deadlines!

Here are some concrete steps you can take starting in the middle of June:

1) Build some time into your weekly schedule to find scholarships. If you haven’t done so already, now is a great time to create a profile on one of our favorite scholarship databases, https://www.unigo.com/scholarships. Before summer break, we suggest setting aside a minimum of one hour per week to search scholarship databases, try creative word combinations on Google, sift through potential scholarship applications, and work on personal statements and other scholarship materials. Then in the summer you can devote more time–at least two hours a week?!–to dedicated searches for scholarships.

2) Look for summer deadlines. Though the majority of scholarship applications are due between January and April, there are plenty of deadlines outside of those months, with some falling in the summer. Keep your eyes peeled for summer essay contests in particular!

3) If you’re going to be in Los Angeles for all, or part, of the summer, come to the Scholarship Resource Center in 233 Covel Commons for help with your application materials. Our in-person summer hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 12:00 p.m.— 5:00 p.m. And our virtual hours are Monday and Friday 12:00pm—5:00pm. We would be happy to help you with all aspects of the scholarship application process.

If you still have questions, please feel free to call us at (310) 206-2875 or visit us at the CSSE. During spring quarter, we’re open Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m.— 6:00 p.m.

2023-05-10 Seven Ways to Become a Scholarship Ninja

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

7 Ways to Become a Scholarship Ninja

Despite the rising cost of tuition, here at the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (CSSE) we take a positive approach to scholarship applications. Our job is to assure you that there are financial resources that students can access through private organizations, UCLA departments, and, quite often, sheer individual will power!

When students, parents, and other members of the UCLA community first discover the CSSE, it’s an exciting moment. Our office offers a variety of written materials, workshops, and resources for finding and applying to scholarships. But we also frequently find ourselves engaging in conversations about productive approaches and attitudes.

Inevitably, winning scholarships involves some work. The search and application process requires students to carve out extra time, develop organizational skills, and engage in self-reflection. As with any success, the ability to win scholarships comes from a self-driven and student-centered attitude.

The most successful students that we work with actively adjust their expectations, and they approach the scholarship process as a way to develop long-term strategies, routines, and habits. These attitudes transform individuals into “scholarship ninjas”– or perhaps, more generally, ninjas in life.

Here are seven ways to help you become one such ninja:


Even if you’re overwhelmed at first, think about the scholarship search as a long-term commitment. Every hour that you set aside to search, write, or seek letters of recommendation will contribute to your knowledge and confidence over time.


Just getting familiar with the kinds of services and counseling appointments that are available on campus will help you navigate them in the future. Spend a day sorting through the websites of various student centers (Career Center, Counseling & Psychological Services, Undergraduate Research Center, and your specific major’s department) on campus and find out who offers services and/or scholarships.


Even when you’re not actively applying for scholarships, habitually update your resume, curriculum vitae, and a personal narrative of your accomplishments as you progress through school. When the perfect scholarship opportunity reveals itself, you’ll already be prepared to articulate yourself as a qualified candidate.


Staying organized allows you to benefit from your previous work. Keep a record of the scholarships you’ve considered, crossed off your list, and applied to. Set up a strategy to record deadlines for the year ahead on your calendar.


Once you’ve learned how to manage your time and find scholarships, regularly broaden your search techniques. For example, incorporate your hobbies, community engagement, service work, and course of study as part of your search.


We suggest that you apply to as many scholarships as you can without compromising your studies and your well-being. The more often you apply, the stronger your applications will become.


As part of your routine, take time to actively reflect on the relationship between your activities and aspirations. Regularly write down thoughts about your activities and future goals as they evolve. Ask yourself how your work habits have changed and identify the strategies that work best for you.

2023-05-03 UCLA Scholarships for International Students

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

UCLA Scholarships for International Students

Every year, a growing number of international students reach out to the Scholarship Resource Center for their scholarship needs and concerns. Whereas the skyrocketing costs of tuition and fees have caused alarm for the average Bruin, the financial aid situation is especially challenging for our international student population. For one, international students are not eligible for state-based financial aid in California, nor for most Federal aid. If you’re an international student, you will need to be creative, diligent, and persevering in your journey to fund your education. Despite the odds, winning scholarships is possible for international students; just be sure to look for both extramural scholarships (beyond UCLA) as well as UCLA-affiliated ones that are open to international students.

First, as an international student, you can—and should— apply for private scholarships. There is a great deal of information on our website (www.scholarshipcenter.ucla.edu) about how to do this. While you may not be eligible for “need-based” scholarships, there are many scholarships that are “essay-based” or are based on other criteria (interests, religion, parent involvement in organizations, ethnic affiliation, personal characteristics, etc.). These are the scholarships to which you want to pay special attention. Deadlines for these scholarship typically fall between September and April-May.

Next, look within the four walls of UCLA for those programs and centers that welcome international applicants. Many academic departments, for instance, have their own scholarships and prizes that do not have a residency stipulation. To give you a starting point, we have listed below some UCLA-based scholarships that are open to international students; each of these centers and organizations have their own eligibility guidelines, so just be sure that you are eligible. And if you are, by all means, apply!

UCLA Center for Accessible Education (CAE)


CAE lists 5 scholarships on their website, among them the Will Rogers Memorial Scholarship. All enrolled UCLA students with disabilities are eligible to apply. The scholarship is open for applications year-round and is mainly intended to cover disability-related expenses. Applications are available at the CAE main office in Murphy Hall A255 or through the link above. For more information, contact CAE directly at (310)825-1501 or visit their main website at www.osd.ucla.edu.

University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP)


If you’re thinking about studying abroad, the UCEAP serves as the official system-wide program for the UCs. UCEAP partners with 115 universities worldwide and offers programs in 42 countries. UCEAP students enroll in courses abroad while earning UC units and maintaining UCLA student status. Many programs offer internships, research, and volunteer opportunities. International students (and other students who cannot or do not receive financial aid) are required to submit a statement describing the level of their financial need. For more information about UCEAP scholarships, contact the UCLA International Education Office directly (310) 825-4995 or visit their website at www.ieo.ucla.edu.

UCLA IEO Travel Study Scholarships


These scholarships are designed for students who want to engage deeply with their travel-study programs and develop projects that will highlight their experience abroad to others. Up to 25 scholarships are available to cover the applicant’s full travel study program fee.

Chancellor’s Fund for Study Abroad in Germany


The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s German Chancellor Fellowship Program is for university graduates from the United States, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, Brazil and India with an interest in international issues and demonstrated leadership potential. The program is targeted at accomplished young professionals who are likely to become decision-makers, thought leaders, and influential voices in their respective fields. Fellows will be recruited from a broad range of areas such as politics and public policy, law, media, business, the non-governmental sector, and the arts. The fellowship provides scholarships annually for students studying in Germany—two awards will be provided to students studying through UCEAP and one award for a student attending the UCLA Travel Study program. The scholarships are designed for UCLA students from any academic background. For more information visit the main website at https://www.humboldt-foundation.de/en/

UCLA IEO – UCEAP Scholarships

The Global Community Scholarship, enables students who demonstrate strong interest in using their experiences from abroad to contribute positively to the UCLA community.  This opportunity is designed for students who want to engage deeply with their program and develop projects that will highlight their experience abroad to others. Ten $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to UCLA students who commit to promote study abroad upon their return to campus.  Additionally, five $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to the top applicants who commit to document and publish their experiences while abroad as well as promote study abroad upon their return to campus.

The UCLA Undergraduate Research Center offers two scholarships for which international students are eligible to apply. For both scholarships, you can complete the application via my.ucla under “Survey.” For more information, contact the UCLA Undergraduate Research Center at (310) 825-2935, or visit them at http://www.ugeducation.ucla.edu/urhass.

The Undergraduate Research Fellows Program (URFP)

https://sciences.ugresearch.ucla.edu/programs-and-scholarships/urfp/ (STEM)

The URFP is a two-quarter program that supports UCLA students who are conducting a life science, physical science, or engineering research project with a UCLA faculty during Winter 2024 and Spring 2024. The URFP is designed to support students who are early-on in their undergraduate research experiences. Students will enroll in RES PRC 103 – Student Research Forum in Winter 2024, an academic and professional development seminar for undergraduate researchers. All students also qualify for financial support through an academic scholarship up to $3,000. Applications are accepted in Fall 2023.

https://hass.ugresearch.ucla.edu/scholarships/urfp/ (Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences)

This URFP scholarship supports students doing a multi-quarter research or creative project in humanities, arts, or social science under the mentorship of a UCLA faculty member during winter and spring quarters. URFP recipient receive a $3,000 scholarship, enroll in a Student Research Program (SRP) 99 course or an upper-division departmental research contract course for both winter and spring quarters, enroll in Research Practice 103: Student Research Forum from 12-1:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays in winter quarter, present their research at Undergraduate Research Week or submit a summary of their research at the end of spring quarter, and enroll in a minimum of 12 units in winter and spring quarters.

If you have questions about other UCLA scholarships beyond the ones featured here, or if you have questions about the private scholarship search and application process, please stop by to talk to us at the UCLA Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment. We look forward to meeting you!

2023-04-26 Study Abroad Opportunities

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Study Abroad Opportunities

Study or work abroad experience can help expand your horizons, teach you about other cultures, and mark you as an outstanding candidate for graduate school or on job applications. Many opportunities exist to work or study abroad. Some programs offer a great deal of guidance and support; others allow participants more independence. As you research study and work abroad programs, you should consider what type of experience best suits you.

If you want to study abroad during 2023-2024, you have little time left to apply before most of these deadlines close. If you plan to attend a program in another country during the 2023-2024 academic year, now is the perfect time to start looking for study abroad scholarships and work opportunities. Come visit the CSSE if you need more information.

Opportunities for Undergraduates

*University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP)


The UCEAP is the official, system-wide study abroad program for the University of California. UCEAP partners with 115 universities worldwide and offers programs in 42 countries. These UC-approved programs combine immersive learning with engaging activities. UCEAP students enroll in courses abroad while earning UC units and maintaining UCLA student status. Many programs offer internships, research, and volunteer opportunities. Choose from summer, quarter, semester, and year-long options. Financial aid and scholarships are available for qualified students.

*UCLA Handshake


The Career Center maintains and updates a list of internships, jobs, scholarships, and teaching abroad opportunities through its partnership with Handshake. You will be asked to use your UCLA log-in information to access the database. There you will find opportunities for short-term work, teaching English abroad, and internships.

*Summer Language Programs

Applicants interested in studying a language abroad should locate summer language study opportunities through the website of universities in the country in which they want to study. Many European universities offer these classes at a low cost compared to American programs, and can often arrange for dorm or family housing. The CSSE can provide Study Abroad information for summer language study in France, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Japan, and Latin America, among other places.

Useful Websites for Undergraduates and Graduates

*International Education Office Study Abroad


The UCLA International Education Office should be your first stop in your search for study abroad opportunities. Below you’ll find two other database websites that can help with your search.



The StudyAbroad.com database can help sort through programs depending on whether your goal is to study, intern, volunteer, and teach abroad. You can also sort through opportunities by country.

*Institute of International Education IIEPassport


The Institute of International Education’s IIEPassport is another online database that offers a directory of study abroad opportunities. The database provides information about postsecondary study abroad programs open to U.S. citizens who are undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate students; adult or continuing education students; or professionals in various fields including business, education, health and law. The majority of programs are intended for undergraduates, but there are some international programs that may be of interest to other types of students.

Listserv for Graduate Study/Research Abroad

*Division of Graduate Education Fellowships and Financial Services


The Division of Graduate Education Fellowships and Financial Services Office announces extramural funding opportunities available for graduate study, travel abroad, dissertation and postdoctoral research through its Gradfellowships-L Google groups. The listserv groups are open to UCLA prospective applicants, current graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. Sign up for any listserv you feel meets your needs and goals.

2023-04-19 How do I get Recommendation Letters for Scholarships?

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

How do I get Recommendation Letters for Scholarships?

We frequently receive questions about how to get letters of recommendation for scholarships. This week, Strategies provides tips on the etiquette of asking for and obtaining letters of recommendation.

Ask Your Instructors Early

When you seek letters of recommendation, you should contact your instructors at least one month before applications are due. Visit your instructors during office hours early in the quarter, especially during the first week of class. One month’s notice allows recommenders enough time to consider carefully what they will write on your recommendation letter. Otherwise, instructors may resent receiving a request for a recommendation letter shortly before the due date; remember, they need time to clear their schedules.

Request that Your Recommenders Write Strong Letters that Detail Your Qualifications.

When recommenders know you well, they can write stronger letters to a scholarship committee beyond the generic “so and so is a hard-working student.” When you apply for scholarships, you compete with other students whose scholarship applications often include extremely positive letters. A lukewarm or vague letter can hurt your chances of winning a scholarship. Because committees rarely interview applicants during the scholarship process, they customarily select winners based on an applicant’s personal statement, comments in recommendation letters, and other application materials.

Approach Your Recommenders with Honesty about their Assessment of Your Performance.

If a recommender seems to “hem and haw” about writing a recommendation for you, this reaction could indicate that they might not write you a good letter. Ask them for an honest assessment of your abilities. Giver your potential recommender the space to say “no” without guilt if they so choose. Those who agree to send a letter for you will appreciate your candor and probably write an excellent letter. Do not become discouraged if an instructor declines your request: at least they won’t hurt your application. Instead, look for a recommender who will write you a strong letter.

Follow Up with Your Recommenders.

Make sure you follow up with those who write recommendations for you to ensure they sent the letters to the scholarship committee in a timely manner. Always check with the scholarship committees to ensure they received the letters by the deadline date. If the scholarship committee does not receive the letter of recommendation that they require with your application, you will not win the scholarship.

“Should I Get My Recommendation Letters Only from Instructors?”

No. Unless the application specifically states that a professor or faculty member must write your letter of recommendation, you can ask many people to write letters of recommendation on your behalf—counselors, high school teachers, clergy, employers—anyone who can comment knowledgeably on your character.

“Then, Can My TA Write A Letter?”

If your only one-one contact with an instructor is a teaching assistant, feel free to ask them for a recommendation.

Giver Your Recommenders All Requisite Scholarship Materials.

Provide each person from whom you request a recommendation letter the scholarship organization’s information along with a link to the submission page. Ensure that you provide documentation to help your recommender write you a glowing and detailed profile, such as well-written papers, your resume, and a draft of your personal statement. One UCLA scholarship winner asked each recommender to address a different activity in which he was involved to give the committee a better impression of his diverse talents and experience. Similarly, you can provide different materials to each recommender, so that each writer emphasizes a particular quality or strength you want to highlight. A composite dossier of your letters that outlines your different strengths gives the scholarship committee a good impression of your diverse talents.

Always Send A Thank-You Note.

You should send a thank you note at least two weeks prior to the scholarship due date. Leave a small card in your recommender’s mailbox or send them an e-mail within a week after they agree to write the letter. A thank-you note courteously reminds your recommender to complete and send your letter of recommendation if they haven’t done so. A second thank-you note is appropriate so you can check to see if all of your application materials reached the scholarship committee. Your recommender will appreciate that you acknowledge the work they did on your behalf.

Our staff provides counseling for all scholarship-related services, including recommendation letter strategies: make an appointment today.

2023-04-12 Write This, Not That

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Write This, Not That

Do you know how to pick an essay topic that both speaks to your strengths and does so in an original, inventive, and interesting way? You’d be surprised at what topics work, and what topics don’t. Elizabeth Heaton, who worked for a number of years at the University of Pennsylvania and read thousands of essays in her time as an admissions officer there, published an article in USA Today on some of the most overused topics that she and her colleagues encountered. We take a look at some of those topics here, and give some pointers on how to make sure that your essays are unique and successful.

The “Big Game” Essay

These essays usually describe a sporting event in which the writer has participated, and make one of two arguments: “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team'”, or “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” At first, writing about the “big game” sounds like a great idea! You can emphasize a number of admirable qualities in this type of sports-related essay that scholarship committees like to see: maturity and leadership, for example, and the ability, literally, to be a “team player.” The fact is, however, that a lot of people will write this essay, and that readers have seen this topic before.

If you’re going to write an essay about an athletic or team-based experience, make sure your argument goes further than the two listed above, or looks at athletics or team-based activities from a new perspective. What did the game mean to you that it probably did not mean to other players? Did playing on this team teach you any values that you put into practice elsewhere in your life? Giving your reader a sense of what your answers are to even one of these questions will help them see who you are as an individual, and will make your essay more memorable.

The “List of Accomplishments” Essay, aka, the “Prose Resume”

We all want to emphasize our accomplishments in our scholarship applications, and sometimes we want to make sure that the reading committee knows that we are well rounded and have excelled in more than one area. The trouble is, though, that if we try to put too much information into just one essay, the writing can start to sound like a list. Fortunately, many applications ask for a more formal list of accomplishments or a resumé, so there’s no real need to provide duplicate information about all of your activities in your essay.

Your personal statement should be more of a story than a list. Pick one activity or experience that has meant the most to you (yes, just one, especially for shorter essays!) and tell the story of how it has changed you and what you have learned. What prompted you to get involved? What were your expectations? What was the activity like? What did you learn, and most importantly, how are you going to apply what you have learned elsewhere in your life? Be sure to use specific details about actions you took or decisions you made, and don’t be afraid to get a little creative.

The “One Night I Volunteered” Essay

This essay usually focuses on a very short-term (one- or two-day) community service engagement, and, as Heaton notes, “[comes to] the following conclusion: I never realized how much I had until I met people who didn’t have anything.” This topic also seems like it will work for a number of reasons: you can emphasize your thoughtfulness, the importance you place on kindness, and even your drive to seek social change. These are wonderful qualities to emphasize, but there are a number of ways to illustrate them more convincingly.

As with the “Big Game” essay, reader will have heard the arguments made in the “One Night I Volunteered” essay before. Narrowing the focus or argument of the “Volunteer” essay, then, is one way to personalize your writing: was there something unique about your volunteer event? Was there something special about the way you helped fundraise for it or the way you led fellow volunteers? Maybe you could write about how social media added value to your community work. Alternately, you could shift your topic to focus on a community activity that you have participated in repeatedly and over the course of a longer time period. As you can see, the main problem with essays that talk about short term activities is that they don’t always address the long-term commitment to service that scholarship committees are looking for.

To make your essays unique, you will have to be creative and thoughtful about the message you want your readers to come away with. Then you will leave your readers impressed also!

2023-04-05 Strengthening Personal Statements

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Strengthening Personal Statements

Start early and pace yourself. Allow yourself sufficient time to develop and modify your work effectively. You should not write a personal statement in a couple of hours; usually, you need to work on your essay for at least a week or more.

Do not overwhelm yourself with the need for a “finished product” when you begin to write. Take time to free write, and do not interrupt your creative process. Capture your thoughts—jot down ideas, make lists, and create categories. Your personal statement will evolve over time, and you usually must produce multiple drafts before you write a statement with which you feel satisfied. Just as a sculptor develops a smooth artistic work from stone, your personal statement should transform from inchoate thoughts and ideas to a polished essay. You can always use the SRC’s scholarship writing support serve if you need assistance.

Your personal statement needs a beginning, middle, and an end. The beginning orients the reader to the conclusions they should draw from your discussion. Use the middle of your personal statement to present your material  arranged either chronologically, by stages of development, or by categories of experience. The conclusion emphasizes how your experiences and personal views support your goals.

Scholarship committees read many personal statements–you want yours to stand out from others in the application pool. To accomplish this goal, your voice and experiences need to capture the reader’s attention.

You can use several techniques to generate engaging subject matter; for example, identify an experience, event, person, vision, crisis, book, or personal triumph that impacted your life. If you focus on personal experiences, then you might discover that not only does your personal statement become easier to write, but also becomes more engaging to the selection committee.

Do not restate your resume: this repetition can bore the reader, particularly if the scholarship committee requires you to submit a resume. When you write a good personal statement, you gain a special opportunity to familiarize scholarship committees with unique aspects of your life and demonstrate why you are a strong candidate.

To strengthen your personal statement:

*Emphasize unique characteristics about you and/or your family;

*Discuss how the particular scholarship will benefit you—if the scholarship is need-based, indicate your level of financial need;

*Do not re-hash information you covered in other parts of the application;

*Describe significant people or experiences that influenced your values and educational or career goals;

*Aim for succinct writing—grammatical and spelling errors impede your chances of winning a scholarship;

*Demonstrate that you have the ability, necessary background, and motivation to be a strong candidate;

*Carefully adhere to length and spacing restrictions;

*Avoid digressions—keep your focus; and,

*Ask others to review your personal statement.

Winter 2023 — Scholarship Questions & Habits

2023-03-15 "What are they Really Asking?" The Secret Logic of Scholarship Essay Prompts

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

“What Are They REALLY Asking?”: The Secret Logic of Scholarship Essay Prompts

“Tell us how your background has shaped your future goals.”

Does this question look familiar?  This is about as basic as an essay question can get, but it is also a question that you will see in one form or another on many scholarship applications.  This prompt seems straightforward enough; in reality, though, many essay questions are posed with implicit expectations—expectations that may be different for each scholarship.  How do you figure out what information scholarship committees are looking for?  What is your prompt REALLY asking? There are a few things to keep in mind as you tackle this prompt in one of its many forms.

First: know your audience.  No matter where you found the scholarship listing, it is a good idea to look up the organization offering the scholarship.  Pay special attention to the group’s mission statement. Are they primarily a professional organization, aiming to unite members of a certain field (engineering, nursing, chemistry, visual arts)?  Are they committed to a specific cause or community project?  Do they aim to work with specific populations (like under-served students, or women in the sciences)?  If the organization is based around one profession or academic discipline, they probably want to hear about your work and studies in that field.  When they ask about your “background,” they may actually be asking about your college coursework and job experience—not necessarily about your family’s background, or about your outside interests and hobbies.

Second, spend a little time breaking down the prompt so that you are sure to answer each part completely.  The above question, for example, actually asks two things: “what is your background?” and “what are your future goals?”  Many writers make the mistake of neglecting crucial key terms in the essay question itself and fail to provide scholarship committees with information that they are interested in.  If you have trouble breaking apart a prompt, look for key words, and think about how you can address each one: terms like “background,” “influences,” and “shaped” usually signal that you need to address past experiences, whereas phrases that ask about “goals” and “aspirations” ask about specific future plans.

Finally, most scholarships are offered by organizations or individuals who are trying to provide resources to a specific community—committee readers, thus, are community-minded!  They want to know what type of group member you are, and how you can contribute to communities around you (to people in your family, your neighborhood, your city, etc.). Very often, when approaching questions about future goals, writers stop too short, and only address their own interests or benefits that they expect to receive and talk about pursuing a specific major because they find it interesting, or are interested in the financial wealth they will gain because of following a certain career path.  Instead, be sure to emphasize qualities that show how you can give back or help those in your world in some way. Maybe you are an independent thinker, but like to apply your knowledge to specific projects that will help disadvantaged teens; maybe you are incredibly creative, and are interested in helping an animal shelter develop advertisements to encourage pet adoptions.   Many times, the real question being asked is not only “what are your talents?”, but also “how do you intend to use them to help others?”

Keeping these tips in mind will help you develop more targeted, effective essays.  And, remember, if you get stuck on an essay, you can sign up for a writing appointment at the Scholarship Resource Center here!

2023-03-08 Prewriting Ideas and Activities for the Scholarship Essay

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Prewriting Ideas and Activities for the Scholarship Essay

Students often ask, “What are my chances of winning a scholarship?” The answer is: your shot at winning is exponentially better if you apply.  While this may sound simple enough, for many students, one of the biggest roadblocks to applying for scholarships is writing the scholarship essay.  Many of us get petrified just thinking about starting the essay (What do I write? How do I begin?) and end up giving up on applying for scholarships altogether.

This article offers  tips about how to get your ideas on the page and how to make the essay prewriting stage as stress-free as possible, and perhaps make writing fun and engaging (or at least meaningful). If you take the time to complete the following prewriting exercise, not only will you have a preliminary blueprint to tackle future essay prompts that come your way, but you will have gained some insight about yourself and your character traits.

“Adjectivize Yourself”

  1. Time yourself at two to five minutes, and come up with as many adjectives as possible that describe you. At this stage in the prewriting exercise, jot down any adjectives that come to mind, whether they are positive or negative. The key is to keep the writing flowing without censoring yourself. Keep in mind that your adjectives can be both self-evident facts (such as, “female” or “male”; “Asian American” or “Latino/a); and opinion-based, open-ended, and subjective descriptions (such as “hardworking,” intellectually-driven,” “innovative,” “compassionate,” “community-oriented,” and so forth).
  1. Read through your self-characterization list. At this point, cross out any negative descriptors, understanding that, much like in a job interview, your goal is to highlight your strengths and not your weaknesses. Look for overlapping descriptors and combine them (e.g., if you wrote “persistent” and “persevering,” you can combine the two as they are essentially identical). From your list, choose up to six adjectives or character traits.
  1. For each of your chosen self-descriptions, list as many examples as possible in support of that self-characterization. Be specific in your examples. Rather than writing, “I have overcome hardships, which have built my character,” think of a specific point in your life when you encountered and overcame challenges and how that experience (or those experiences) impacted your life, perspective, or character.
  1. Review what you have written above, and from the six self-characterizations, narrow your choice down to three. Base your choice on how much you were able to say in support of your self-characterization. For instance, if under the description “generous,” you realize (by doing exercise #3 above) that you have scanty or shaky examples, it’s probably a good idea to forego this choice and opt for something else.
  1. For each of your three chosen self-characterizations, write a paragraph elaborating on this quality. Again, aim to be specific and personal. Rather than writing, “higher education is the key to success,” which is too general and sounds too “preachy” and impersonal, try to think anecdotally about the time or situation in your life (or in lives you have observed) that can illustrate this point (e.g., “My faith in the life-changing power of higher education inspired me to maintain a 3.5 GPA while working two jobs”).

Having completed this prewriting exercise, you are now in a better position to tackle any future scholarship essay prompts. While different scholarships have their own sets of essay guidelines and prompts, scholarship essay prompts are more alike than not: they generally want to see how your past experiences have shaped who you are today (thus the three self-characterizations you wrote about in this exercise!) and how who you are today (again, your positive traits) can help you in future endeavors. For more prewriting exercises, writing tips, and strategies, come by the Scholarship Resource Center. We will help you “write” away!

2023-03-01 The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Scholarship Applicants

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Scholarship Applicants

Habit 1: Be Proactive.

No matter who you are and no matter what your background, there are scholarships out there waiting for you to win them.  The trick is taking the initiative to find those scholarships.  The most effective students we encounter at the Scholarship Resource Center are frequently on the search for new scholarship listings.

Habit 2: Stick to a Schedule.

The most successful scholarship applicants treat the process like a class or a research project: they set particular days and times each week to work on scholarships, whether searching for new ones or polishing an existing application.  Even if that means only 1-2 hours per week, sticking to a scholarship schedule keeps you on top of deadlines and ensures a higher quality for your application than a last-minute binge strategy would.

Habit 3: Get Organized.

Keep a list of the scholarships that most interest you, whether as an Excel document or on a piece of paper.  Be sure to record the key information about each one—the deadline and the requirements (essay, letter of recommendation, transcript, etc.).  Keep your scholarship materials, especially your essays, together with that list, so that you will have them when needed. (Hint: make an appointment with us at the SRC, and we will provide you with a ready-made excel to keep track of your scholarship search!)

Habit 4: Know Your Teachers.  When the time comes to request a letter of recommendation for a scholarship, the most effective applicants do not need to squirm about whether or not they should ask their TA or professor to write one, because they have already established relationships with TAs and professors by occasionally attending office hours to ask questions or advice (no need to stalk).  They also give their recommenders plenty of time in advance of the deadline since they know how busy those TAs and professors are.

Habit 5: Read Applications Carefully.  Most scholarship applications yield important insights into the kind of student the scholarship organizations want to award, if you read them carefully.  Some will even describe the basis on which they will evaluate your essay(s).  It is also a great idea to go beyond the application and do some research on the people and/or organization offering the scholarship.  What are their backgrounds and interests?  What is their mission? They are probably looking to award a student who complements those.

Habit 6: Seek Help.

Highly effective scholarship applicants are not islands unto themselves. They ask other people to read and critique their scholarship essays.  At UCLA, they especially take advantage of the writing support on scholarship essays offered by the Scholarship Resource Center, and make appointments with staff members to help brainstorm for their essays and review drafts.

Habit 7: Keep Tinkering.

You can always improve your application and your profile. While it is a good idea to recycle scholarship essays to cut down on your workload, keep looking for improvements you can make to those old essays.  If your community service record seems too minimal to apply for many scholarships, consider joining a student group that appeals to you and that is oriented toward community service.

2023-02-22 The Hidden Benefits of Applying for Scholarships

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The Hidden Benefits of Applying for Scholarships

Applying for scholarships isn’t just about getting money to pay for your tuition, fees, and textbooks–or even about saving yourself thousands of dollars in student loan debt. In fact, there are many other good reasons to get into the scholarship game. For example:

Resume building–You can’t list a government grant as a personal achievement when you graduate, but you absolutely can and should list any scholarships you’ve won. Because winning scholarships is competitive and an indication that other organizations believe in you enough to send checks your way, potential employers are likely to be impressed.

Learning how to “market” yourself– Become your own PR consultant! Figuring out what to put on your resume, writing a personal statement, completing essay responses, participating in interviews, and completing scholarship applications provide invaluable practice in convincing others of your capabilities. This type of experience not only gives you a distinct advantage on the job market, but also benefits you in all kinds of everyday situations.

Honing your communication skills–Being able to communicate clearly, concisely, and effectively with others will help you in college, in your professional life, in your community activities, and in your personal relationships. Applying for scholarships is one of the best ways to keep your communication skills in top-notch shape.

Making connections–You’ve probably  already heard that “networking”–connecting with the people you know and the people they know to help you accomplish a task–is one of the best ways to get a job, sell something, or start a business. It’s also one of the best ways to find out about scholarship opportunities. In addition to giving you a chance to explore the social resources you already have, applying for scholarships helps you to establish new relationships with people in the wider community. A scholarship committee, a donor, or even a fellow candidate could become a real help to you somewhere down the line. That’s one reason why it’s important to treat everyone you encounter with professionalism and respect. Don’t forget to send follow-up letters and thank-you notes whenever you make a new contact!

Developing your own projects and goals–Submitting scholarship materials can help you turn dreams into realities. Not only can you find plenty of organizations interested in hearing about your plans for new technologies, start-up companies, ground-breaking research, or non-profit organizations, but responding to scholarship questions will help you articulate your goals. There’s nothing like having to explain your work on paper or put together a presentation which helps you to clarify things and discover new ways to move forward.

Learning more about yourself--Submitting scholarship applications will help you reflect on your ideals, personality, background, and ambitions in a way that should give you a better sense of who you are and what you want to do with your life. The process also may help you to recognize opportunities for personal development. It might even help you discover talents and abilities you didn’t know you had.

Developing Self-Confidence–One of the most intimidating aspects of the scholarship process is making yourself and your accomplishments available to the scrutiny of others. Fortunately, the more you’re tested in this way, the better you get at it. Engaging in scholarship competitions can help give you the confidence you’ll need to put yourself forward in the future, when the stakes may be even higher. If you’re consistent (doing a little bit every week) and persistent (keeping at it even if you don’t win every time), it’s likely that you’ll start to see financial rewards or efforts. The abilities, plans, and connections you discover along the way may not be quite as tangible as the winnings, but they could be even more valuable in the long run. So don’t hesitate! Start or revamp your own scholarship search today–and remember that we’re ready to help you here at the SRC!

2023-02-15 Developing a Scholarship Portfolio

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Developing a Scholarship Portfolio

How to Win Big-Time College Cash with Sound Investment Strategies

Financial advisers will tell you that you should make sure to diversify the assets in your investment portfolio. This insures that you get a good return on your investment over time and protects you from risk. For example, if you invest all your money in high-tech stocks, you may do well in certain years when that market is booming, but very poorly when it is not, bringing down your overall rate of return. Obviously, the more money you have to invest, the better, but these advisers will also tell you that even making small investments consistently over time can reap big rewards.

You might be surprised to learn that the same logic applies to making scholarship applications, but a successful scholarship search involves an investment—of time, attention, and hard work—in order to reap financial rewards. Just as when you’re building your financial portfolio, you must also consider numbers, consistency, and diversity in building a scholarship portfolio.

First, let’s talk about numbers. There are vast numbers of scholarships available—so many, in fact, that you could make your search into a part-time job! Most of us will not be able to devote that kind of time to finding and applying for funds, but you still should apply for as many scholarships as possible within the time you have available. You probably will find that it does not take that much more time to apply for 10 scholarships than for three, because your largest investment of application time probably will be in writing a solid personal statement or statement of purpose. Once you’ve got a statement you’re happy with, you will be able to “recycle” that statement by changing a few sentences or a paragraph here and there to fit the emphasis of each individual scholarship. The SRC is here to help you with this process: check our website for our “Writing Personal Statements” workshop times and feel free to make writing appointments with us if you’re feeling stumped.

Next, we should consider the value of consistency. Although you probably won’t be able to give 10 or 15 hours a week to your scholarship search, you almost certainly can find two or three hours to invest in the process, and those small chunks of time can result in big dividends. Once you’ve signed up for several free online scholarship databases like Unigo.com, Cappex.com, and Scholarships.com, make sure to dedicate at least 30 minutes each week to find out about any new opportunities that show up under your profile. You also should visit the SRC for short periods every once in a while to look through our extensive library of scholarship books.

Of course, you still need to set aside time to actually write and assemble your applications. A consistent investment of time helps here, too. If you draw up a schedule for yourself, noting down the due dates for your scholarships and then working backward to break the application tasks up over time, you’ll find that it’s much easier to finish without the stress of last-minute deadlines.

The value of consistency also becomes clear when looking at scholarship amounts. Many scholarship applicants choose not to apply for awards in smaller amounts of, say, $100 to $500. This is a big mistake! For one thing, consistently applying for less lucrative scholarships or contests can result in big money over time. And, since money tends to attract money, you may well find that winning smaller amounts helps you win larger awards. That’s because scholarship committees tend to see applicants who have won other awards as a “good risk” for their own investment. You should also realize that part of the value of a scholarship lies in the prestige you gain by having won it. That’s an intangible reward that could result in very tangible results—for example, when you’re applying for jobs!

Finally, let’s talk about diversifying your scholarship portfolio. This means applying for as many different types of awards as you can. Think outside the box here! Rather than simply confining yourself to “merit” or “financial-need” scholarships, take the time to brainstorm about your interests, activities, ambitions, and affiliations. You’d be surprised how many “specialty” scholarships are available for attributes ranging from being left-handed to having an interest in bowling. And don’t forget to apply to essay contests! Applying for as many different kinds of awards as possible will increase your chances of winning dramatically.

Using the principles of a sound investment strategy to help you find and apply for scholarships can really pay off. Playing the numbers to your advantage, making a consistent effort to find and take advantage of good opportunities, and maintaining a wide range of investments are all just as essential to a successful scholarship search as they are to a successful financial portfolio.

In fact, you can think of us as your very own “investment advisers.” If you’d like more help developing your scholarship portfolio, please attend one of the SRC’s “Secrets to Winning College Cash” workshops or make an appointment with us.

2023-02-08 Exploding Scholarship Myths

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Exploding Scholarship Myths

Myth #1: You can’t get a scholarship if you don’t qualify for financial aid.

The private scholarship process is distinct from the financial aid application process. While there are some scholarships that list financial need as a requirement, there are others that will evaluate your application independently of any financial consideration. Search for merit-based scholarships, awards based on your community involvement or extracurricular interests, or even your (or a family member’s) affiliation with a particular company or organization.

Myth #2: Scholarships are only for minorities

False. There are scholarships for just about every population and special interest you can imagine. Never give yourself an excuse not to apply because you think there won’t be something for you. There are scholarships out there based on your interests, career goals, and volunteer work.

Myth #3: You need a 4.0 GPA

There are scholarships based on many criteria other than your grades, and some don’t list a minimum GPA requirement at all. Most students disregard essay scholarships, but these are unlikely to require a minimum GPA, and they are actually easier to apply to.

Myth #4: I should only apply for a scholarship that’ll get me a full ride

The majority of undergraduate scholarships we see listed range from approximately $500 to $5,000. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a “full-ride” scholarship. However, a couple of smaller scholarships can quickly add up to a significant amount of money. Even a small scholarship can help pay for books and reduce your loan debt. And always remember that any scholarship is an honor that you can list on your resume!

Myth #5: No one really wins, anyway

We work with scholarship winners every day! Many of them will be sharing their stories on our SRC Instagram. One thing is for sure: If you don’t apply, you won’t win.

2023-02-01 Eight Weeks to Scholarships?

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

8 Weeks to Scholarships?

Many SRC visitors seek statistics on their chances of winning a scholarship: for those who do not apply, the odds are 0%. However, a number of students who learn the scholarship process well often win awards in excess of their budgeted need. After someone wins their first scholarship, they become inspired to send off more applications. You can win scholarships and grants for the 2023-2024 school year, but you must start NOW. To help you, here’s a 8-week plan you can follow to meet upcoming scholarship deadlines.

Scholarship applications generally require:

  • a personal statement
  • resume, Curriculum Vitae (CV) or annotated CV
  • academic transcripts
  • one or more letters of recommendation, and
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Financial Aid Budget.

Week 1, visit the SRC to learn about scholarship resources, both internal UCLA scholarships and external non-UCLA scholarships. You can make an appointment here or just drop-in at our office in Covel Commons 233.

Week 2, create a spreadsheet listing all the scholarships for which you plan to apply. Be sure to keep track of deadlines.

Week 3, draft your personal statement during. Be sure to include unique experiences from your life. Call the SRC at (310)206-2875 for writing assistance and proofreading.

Week 4, update your resume and Curriculum Vitae with specific dates, job details, awards, honors and activities. Make an appointment with an SRC counselor to review format, content, and grammar.

Week 5, contact at least 3 professors or advisors to request letters of recommendation. In your email, send them your personal statement, resume, and any other materials they may find useful for writing your letter. And make sure to specify when their letters are due.

Week 6, obtain and organize any other documents you may need, such as transcripts and financial aid documentation. If an application requires official transcripts, make sure to order those ahead of time through UCLA here. Remember that official transcripts must be sent directly to the scholarship purveyor.

Week 7, begin by applying to the scholarship with the closest deadline. Fill out the application, upload your documents, and hit send. At this p0int, congratulate yourself on applying to your first scholarship!

Week 8, update your documents to match the specific requirements of the next scholarship to which you’re applying. It gets easier from here on. At this point, you’ve already done most of the difficult work. Now, you are using the work you’ve already done to apply to the next scholarship and the next and the next…

If you find that you need an extra week or two to develop and refine your personal statement, resume, or Curriculum Vitae, then take the extra time. The point is to have a schedule with a set goal about when you will finish so that you have time to apply for scholarships. But always keep scholarships deadlines in mind! Our hope is that if you make yourself a plan with goals and deadlines, you will be more likely to follow through and apply. Best of luck to you!

2023-01-25 Creating Your Personalized Scholarship Search

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Creating Your Personalized Scholarship Search

Most students who come into the Scholarship Resource Center start with a simple question: “Do you have a list of scholarships I can apply for?” In response, I usually swivel around in my chair and say, “this whole office is a list.”

Though many balk at the task of sorting through potential opportunities, we know that it is absolutely essential for students to develop individualized search strategies based on their own self-knowledge.

Here’s how to make a spreadsheet that will facilitate effective personal searches:

Set aside a chunk of time to answer questions about the following aspects of your background, short and long-term goals, and personal interests.

The answers to these questions will become search terms for your spreadsheet. Use each term to navigate institutional or university websites, find privately endowed community funds, and identify interesting essay contests.

Spend one hour experimenting online with each search term.

Goals while in your Degree Program

What is your major? What goals will you accomplish that are related to your course of study? Volunteering? Study abroad? What research topics most interest you?

It is up to you to navigate university bureaucracies and find opportunities to apply for funds to support your degree objectives. Your can start with your department, but there are hundreds of other centers, labs, institutes, student services, and academic communities that support your goals.


What communities do you care about? What communities care about you? What communities do you belong to?

Rather than focus on the nuances of your sense of identity, imagine communities who care about your experiences. This exercise will expand how you think about the role that your identity plays in a world of shared experiences, and allow you to connect with the missions of many organizations.

Potential Careers

Based on your current course of study, what are five different career outcomes that you would enjoy?

What essential turning points, key experiences, or critical skills will you need in order to reach these goals? Do professional organizations fund students to achieve career-based goals in these fields?

Interests & Hobbies

Really go for it in this column. Rather than peruse the countless essay contests that exist on the Internet, make a list of the hobbies and interests that you’d most like to write an essay about. Then your search queries will look like this: “Essay contests about coffee…”


List the cities, regions, counties, and states with which you have meaningful or residential connections. When you start searching for organizations, the best place to start is where you’ve lived, where you went to high school, where you are currently based. Ideally, you’ll start asking questions like: “What organizations in LA care about something I care about?”

Project Based Goals

If someone gave you $15,000 for a community project, what would you put together? What are the components of a community mission that you care about?  (Check out straussfoundation.org…)

Many organizations award funds to students based on project proposals. But these foundations usually have very specific mission statements. The best way for you to connect with an organization like this is to think about the kind of project you’d like to carry out in the first place.

By creating your own personalized list of search terms, you will have narrowed your scholarship search considerably and avoided the daunting task of searching through endless lists of scholarships that may not even interest you. The point is to find and apply for scholarships that are for you. And trust us–there is a scholarship out there with your name on it!

2023-01-18 What is Scholarship Eligibility?

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

What is Scholarship Eligibility?

“What do I have to do to get a scholarship?”

The SRC staff hears this question every day. Our answer is simple: “Meet the criteria, be yourself–and apply on time!”

Many students think that qualifying for scholarships involves two criteria: scholastic achievement or financial need. However, scholarship committees actually use a range of factors to determine award eligibility. Therefore, we at the SRC would like you scholarship seekers to expand your understanding about scholarship eligibility.

Private foundations, organizations, and individual donors use a number of criteria to consider students for scholarships, including, but not restricted to: hobbies, religion, career objectives, athletic ability, disabilities, gender, parental activities, race, heritage, marital status, military participation, work experience, and city, county, or state of legal residence. There are even organizations out there that offer scholarships to students who write the best argumentative or creative essay.

Please remember that no single resource contains all available scholarships. Apart from searching for scholarships on UCLA’s Academic Works site, you should also look at our SRC website and database, do Google searches, look through scholarship databases (here’s one!), and yes, find scholarship books.

Just know that whenever you use scholarship books as part of your search, you should always ensure that the books are current. Study how each resource organizes the contents. First, locate the index which usually appears at the back, but sometimes the front, of the book. Search for specialized indices with  such tittles as Index by Applicant Characteristics or Quick Find Index. These indices often list scholarships that require more specialized criteria than just your area of study. Remember that books usually cross-reference scholarship listings in the index by scholarship number rather than the page.

And don’t be afraid to approach community organizations, especially those to which you belong, to discover whether these groups offer scholarships. If these organizations do not offer scholarships, inquire whether they might create such awards. After all, why shouldn’t YOU become the first annual recipient? Although the organization’s members might say, “Sorry, we do not offer a scholarship,” they might instead tell you, “we do not currently offer a scholarship, but are interested in offering one.”

Here’s the bottom line: learn to identify and thoroughly search resources, and you may find unique scholarship listings. Don’t automatically assume that you are ineligible for scholarships just because your family does not qualify for federal financial aid.

As Mark Kantrowitz, author of the Financial Aid Information Page, says: “some loans and scholarships are available regardless of need…There are several factors in addition to income that are used to determine your eligibility and there is no simple cut-off based on income.”

Although there are no guarantees in the scholarship world, you can be certain that if you don’t apply, you will not receive scholarships. So, get busy! Remember: Most private foundations’ and organizations’ deadlines fall between January and April of the current academic year.

2023-01-11 Who Actually Wins Scholarships Anyway?

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

“Who Actually Wins Scholarships Anyway?”

At the UCLA Scholarship Resource Center we commonly field this question, and it’s easy to see why. In most cases it takes a real commitment of time and effort in order to win scholarships, and students (understandably) want to know whether that will actually pay off.

Because there are so many types of scholarships, there is no single profile of a scholarship winner. And because of that diversity, it’s also difficult to provide absolute statistics or predictions. But one thing is clear: you don’t win scholarships by not applying!

The students who put in a regular effort and work with us routinely on multiple scholarship applications, and use our scholarship books, folders, handouts, and online resources to find those opportunities, have an outstanding record of success. From my personal experience, I can confidently assert that I have never worked with a student on at least five different scholarship applications who did not win at least one of them. I consider that to be the most important statistic: of the students who really invest their time and effort in the scholarship process (and work with us on it), the success rate is exceedingly high.

The key to the scholarship process, besides putting together the best possible presentation of yourself in the scholarship essay and other application materials, is to apply for as many scholarships as possible where you meet the eligibility criteria. Aiming at 15-20 applications in a year is a great goal, though even five to ten gives you an excellent chance. While one scholarship committee might pass on your application despite its excellence, for any number of reasons, if you have five, ten, 15, or 20 different scholarship committees reviewing your application, you have an exponentially better chance of winning.

Twenty applications sounds like a lot, but scholarship essays are often very similar (not to mention your letters of recommendation, transcripts, resumes, etc.), so your twentieth scholarship application happens much more easily and quickly than your first or second. Furthermore, applying for scholarships also allows you to develop materials and habits that will prove invaluable to you later in your  applications to internships, graduate schools, and jobs.

In sum, the percentage of students who actually benefit from making a serious commitment to the scholarship process is: 100%.

Fall 2022 — Getting to Know the CSSE

2022-11-30 Get to Know the Scholarship Resource Center Workshops

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Get to Know the Scholarship Resource Center Workshops

Whether you are a freshman, transfer student, or continuing student, there’s no time like the present to begin thinking about and planning your scholarship application process. But what does that mean? Where do you start? Where do you look for scholarships, and what are the supporting documents needed to apply? How can you put together an application that is compelling and polished? These are some questions you may have as you embark on the scholarship process.

We here at the Scholarship Resource Center can help you with all aspects of the process, from where to search, how to apply, and what to write in your scholarship personal statement. Every quarter, we offer a series of workshops focusing on salient scholarship topics: Secrets to Winning College Cash; How to Write Personal Statements for Scholarships; and, How to Get Letters of Recommendations. Each workshop usually runs about half an hour (personal statement workshops tend to run an hour) and are held on Zoom or in-person. If you want to follow-up with us, our center is located in Covel Commons 233 should you have further questions or are in need of further guidance.

Below is a brief overview and description of the workshops we offer.

    1. Secrets to Winning College Cash I— Offers an introduction to online scholarship databases and provides helpful tips and guidelines to maximize your scholarship search and applications.
    2. Secrets to Winning College Cash II–Covers the strategic process for conducting routine online searches and keeping track of deadlines and important information. By attending this workshop, you will receive an excel template with a list of curated UCLA and external scholarships.
    3. How to Write Personal Statements for ScholarshipsDesigned to help students write a compelling and well-written scholarship essay by reviewing the purpose and goal of this critical document. The workshop covers the dos and don’ts of essay writing, writing to the target audience, and some hands-on brainstorming activities.
    4. How to Get Letters of Recommendation for ScholarshipsOffers key guidelines and tips for obtaining a strong letter of recommendation, including who to ask and how to ask; how to build a professional working relationship with your prospective letter writer; and what you can/should do to help your recommender write the best scholarship letter on your behalf.



[updated: 03/15/2023]

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