General Advice & FAQ

General Advice

During the spring months, Competitive Awards gives presentations about finding and applying for awards. A link to the Powerpoint presentation is below. It provides descriptions of resources on campus for finding awards, profiles of recipients and application components. To set up an individual consultation about finding and applying for awards, send an email to

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How should I begin the process of applying?

    Your first task is to determine your objectives. Are you seeking a scholarship to fund your undergraduate career? Are you seeking funding to a semester abroad? To attend a conference? Or, perhaps, a scholarship for post-graduate activity?

    Scholarships and awards come in all shapes and sizes. If you are a freshman or sophomore and have never applied for a competitive award, you will find it easier to apply for a relatively smaller award such as Hutton International Experiences Program travel award or to focus on submitting an article to an undergraduate journal.

  • Should I apply for more than one scholarship, fellowship, or award?

    Applying for even just one fellowship or scholarship can take considerable time and energy, especially in soliciting letters of recommendation and making sure they are submitted on time. But there is really no reason not to apply for a second or third at the same time. Those who have written letters of recommendation on a word processor can easily adapt them to a second application.

  • How can I be notified for upcoming scholarships deadlines?

    Send an email to to be added to a listserv and receive announcements.

  • What is the difference between a scholarship, a fellowship, a grant and a loan?

    A scholarship is an award given by an organization or institution to fund the education of a selected student. Usually, the award can be used for tuition, books, room and board, research, travel, or other education related expenses. A fellowship is similar to a scholarship though it is more likely to provide funding for activities outside the classroom such as research or an internship. There are always exceptions to this distinction. A grant funds a student's education and in most cases does not have to be paid back. A loan does have to be paid back but some college loans do not collect interest until the student graduates.

  • Who can apply for scholarships?
    Each scholarship has its own criteria though many require US citizenship. See the List of Competitive Awards and make sure that you fit the criteria of the scholarship.
  • Are there academic criteria for scholarships?

    Most scholarships prefer students who are in good academic standing at the time of application. Sometimes scholarships will include a GPA requirement. If a scholarship does not include a specific requirement but states it requires good academic standing, do not assume that you are not in this category. Scholarships have different perspectives on what qualifies as “good standing.”

  • Where can I look for scholarships?

    There are several resources on campus such as online databases, indexes at the library and newsletters. See the Powerpoint presentation on finding and applying for awards for suggestions. If you'd prefer to talk about how to start finding awards, send an email request to

  • Do I have to do more than fill out an application?

    Some scholarships require no more than a completed application but many organizations ask the student to submit essay(s), transcript(s), letter(s) of recommendation, and, in some cases, participate in an interview. The organization determines what to require from it's applicants.

  • Does it matter what field I want to study?

    Every organization has its own target applicant. Some scholarships are linked to a field or major and others to volunteer or leadership qualities. There are many different target applicants.

  • Can I stack scholarships?

    Unless otherwise stated, students can receive multiple scholarships from different organizations. Read the specific scholarship's requirements carefully.

  • What are the odds of winning a scholarship?

    It depends of the scholarship and the organization. The number of awards given each year and the number of applicants determine the odds of your winning.