Scholarship Toolkit

What is a scholarship?
A scholarship is a financial award that is intended to support a student’s education. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic, merit, or other achievements and characteristics.

  Types of Financial Assistance Available
  • There are various forms of financial aid available to students. By applying for the FAFSA ( or for the California Dream Act ( each year by March 2, institutions can determine if students are eligible for grants, loans and/or work study.
  • Grants are financial awards from the federal or state government that do not have to be repaid.
  • A loan is money that is borrowed with interest and has to be repaid.
  • Work-Study is money that is earned during college through a job on or off campus. The money earned does not have to be repaid.
  • Scholarships are a form of financial aid, many also require that you have a FAFSA application on file. 
 How to Prepare for Applying for a Scholarship
  • Develop a scholarship search strategy
  • Get organized, keep a calendar with all important dates
  • Make a checklist of each scholarship requirements
  • Develop a list of accomplishments
  • Gather and prepare commonly requested items

Commonly Requested Items:

  • Application
  • Completion of FAFSA application
  • Personal statement 
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts


 Scholarship Application Tips
  • Review each scholarship and eligibility requirements carefully
  • Be aware of deadlines and submit all required documents by the due date
  • Be prepared to dedicate time to the process
  • Begin early
  • Give yourself plenty of time to gather and complete all required components of the application
  • Type or print in black or blue ink
  • Answer all questions in their entirety
  • Provide a professional email address. If you do not have one, create a new one. It is often helpful to have one email address for scholarship applications.
  • Provide most current contact information
  • Ensure that you proof read all information you are submitting on the application and personal statements
  • Review application and make sure each portion is complete
  • Do not pay money for scholarship information
  • Think positively about yourself in the process
  • Apply for scholarships each year continuously
  • Be persistent
 Scholarship Essays Do's & Don'ts


  • Focus on the first paragraph
  • Think of the personal statement as an intellectual autobiography
  • Be clear
  • Keep it simple
  • Find the “story” in your history
  • Be authentic, accurate and honest
  • Give yourself time to write more than one draft and have it revised.
  • Make sure to highlight accomplishments and strengths,  you are able to make yourself stand out


  • Write in clichés
  • Be to general or abstract
  • Submit a personal statement with grammatical errors
  • Write in resume form
  • Think that one essay will fit every scholarship application
  Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are an important part of each scholarship application.  Often scholarships will request one or more letters to support your application.  When looking for someone to write a letter for you, you want to choose a recommender that can write a strong letter on your behalf. Ask you recommender graciously and be thankful.  You want your recommender to be able to talk about your strengths, accomplishments, academic skills, ect. Provide your recommender with plenty of time to write your letter. You should give them a 2-3 week notice.

Letter of Recommendation Request Tips:

  • Provide your recommender with information about yourself to ensure a strong letter. Include information about your academic accomplishment, challenges you have overcome, activities you are involved with, your career goals, ect.
  • Provide your recommender with direction and information about the scholarship you are applying for.
  • Provide your recommender with the scholarship deadline.
  • If your recommender will be mailing your letter, provide them with an addressed and stamped envelope.
  STEM Scholarship Opportunities

ACS Scholars Program
ACS awards renewable scholarships to underrepresented minority students who want to enter the fields of chemistry or chemistry-related fields. Awards of up to $5,000* are given to qualified students. African American, Hispanic, or American Indian high school seniors or college freshman, sophomores, or juniors pursuing a college degree in the chemical sciences or chemical technology are eligible to apply.

Allan Hancock College Scholarship Foundation

American Dream Award
HS Diploma, financial need, 3.00gpa, US Citizen or DACA, Pursing a bachelors or associates degree

American Nuclear Society Scholarship Program
The American Nuclear Society believes in rewarding its members for their academic, services and leadership excellence. To do so, scholarships are granted to qualified student members of ANS Student Sections who have demonstrated a high commitment to the standards set by the Society's constituents.

Brown and Caldwell Scholarships
Brown and Caldwell: Eckenfelder Scholarship
Brown and Caldwell: Minority Scholarship
Brown and Caldwell: GLBTQ Scholarship
Brown and Caldwell: Women in Leadership Scholarship
Brown and Caldwell: Navajo Nation Scholarship

Buick Achievers
Funded by the GM foundation, the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program awards up to $25,000 per year for up to four or five years, to 50 college students. Over the course of the scholarship's existence, the program has helped more than 3,400 stuents achieve their dreams of attending college.

CA Strawberries Scholarship
The California Strawberry Scholarship Program has awarded more than $2 million to hundreds of children of strawberry farmworkers. Countless students and graduates are pursuing their passions and working in careers that span a wide range of professions. Additionally, many return to their hometowns to give back to their local communities and serve as inspirational role models.For students with parent that is currently employed as a California Strawberry fieldworker for the current and two harvest seasons, full time students, 2.00 gpa.

Diversity Advancement Scholarship
The AIA / Architects Foundation Diversity Advancement Scholarship, originally called the AIA/Ford Foundation Scholarship, was founded in 1969 when the AIA and Ford Foundation each pledged $500,000 to support three different groups of students’ education in the field of architecture.

The program sought to give scholarships, not only to those youths in financial need, but to those who otherwise would not have other means to obtain a professional education. Since the Diversity Advancement Scholarship was launched in 1970, it has been awarded to over 2,300 students. Recently, the AIA’s Board of Directors has committed $1 million dollars, to support this effort.

Today, with the help of GIVING MOORE, a Foundation of Benjamin Moore & Co., our goal and purpose for this important scholarship program remains the same; we aim to provide assistance to individuals from a minority race or ethnicity who intend to become an architect through the pursuit of a NAAB-accredited professional degree in architecture.

Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway Promotion and Contest
Since 2008, Dr. Pepper has awarded over $8,000,000 in tuition.

ESTEEM is a collaborative project lead by UCSB, in partnership with AHC, SBCC, Oxnard and Ventura Colleges.
ESTEM is open to continuing transfer-bound AHC College students in: Engineering

"Continuing" means you will be at AHC for the 2017-2018 school-year.
"Transfer-bound" means you intend to transfer to a 4-year university.

Fulfilling the Legacy Scholarship
This scholarship epitomizes NSBE’s mission statement to increase the number of black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.  This scholarship is supported solely by the NSBE members and donations.  The number of Fulfilling the Legacy Scholarships to be awarded will be determined by the amount of money donated by the membership and contributors.  Sixty percent of the fund is allocated to scholarship awards; the remaining forty percent will go into an ongoing scholarship endowment.  All NSBE undergraduate and graduate student members are eligible to apply.  Award recipients will be selected from a combination of the following criteria:  University academic achievement, service to NSBE (local, regional, and/or national), and other professional, campus and community activities.

The Generation Google Scholarship
The Generation Google Scholarship was established to help aspiring computer scientists excel in technology and become leaders in the field. Selected students will receive 10,000 USD (for those studying in the US) or 5,000 CAD (for those studying in Canada) for the 2017-2018 school year. As part of the scholarship, current high school seniors who are entering their first year of university in 2017-2018 will be required to attend Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) in the summer of 2017. Current undergraduate or graduate students will be invited to attend the Google Scholars’ Retreat in the summer of 2017.

The Google Lime Scholarship
Student with a disability (visible or invisible), enroll full time at a university during the 2017-2018 academic year, pursuing degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a degree in a closely related technical field, exemplify leadership and demonstrate passion for computer science and technology

HENAAC Scholarship
The HENAAC Scholars Program addresses the immense need that the United States has to produce more domestic engineers and scientists. The goal of the program is to ensure STEM college retention with a 3.0 grade point average or higher; to guarantee college graduation with an undergraduate technical degree in four-five years; and, to contribute to Hispanic communities by producing STEM role models for future generations and securing the country's place as the finest technological leader in the world.

The HENAAC Scholars Program awarded its first scholarship in 2000. The first scholarships were sponsored by the Ford Motor Company and presented at the HENAAC 2001 Conference.

Since its inception, the HENAAC Scholars Program has shown tremendous growth and has distributed over $3,200,000 in educational grants to over 1,200 outstanding and deserving recipients.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund
The HSF Scholarship is designed to assist students of Hispanic heritage obtain a college degree.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
This scholarship for top community college students seeking to complete their bachelor's degrees is the largest private scholarship for community college transfer students in the country.

Jovenes al Exito

Scholarship is dedicated to student financial needs.  Each application is reviewed in confidence and award decisions are made based on the information provided in the application.

Application available for pick up at :
Santa Barbara Family Dentistry
620 West Main Street Santa Maria, CA 93458

Latina Leadership Network Scholarship
Preferred to be of Latino heritage (one parent fully Latino or each parent half Latino)
24 units of college work completed (may include work in-progress)
Must have a minimum 2.5 Cumulative GPA
Currently enrolled in a California Community College
Must provide a transcript of all work completed (unofficial transcripts will be accepted)

Masergy Scholarship

Masergy is proud to support the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors by providing one $5,000 scholarship to a student continuing their STEM education. During the summer of 2016, we received hundreds of essays and academic transcripts from American students competing for our inaugural Masergy STEM Scholarship. We wish all of them the best of luck in their efforts towards earning a STEM-focused degree.

Microsoft Scholarship
Microsoft awards tuition scholarships and conference scholarships each year to encourage students to pursue studies in Computer Science and related STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines. Recipients for both scholarships will be awarded in recognition of their demonstrated passion for technology, academic excellence, and leadership while working to push the software industry forward.

NOAA Hollings Scholarship
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
US Department of Commerce

NANOG Scholarship Program
The North American Network Operators’ Group (NANOG) is the professional association for Internet engineering, architecture and operations. Their core focus is on continuous improvement of the data transmission technologies, practices, and facilities that make the Internet function. In an effort to support the next generation of network operators, NANOG is providing $10,000 scholarships to assist current undergraduate and graduate level students pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Network Engineering or Telecommunications*.
To apply, students must plan to enroll part- or full-time in undergraduate or graduate study at an accredited two- or four-year institution for the entire 2017-2018 academic year. Applicants must also have a minimum 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent.

PG&E- Better Together STEM Scholarship Program
PG&E is offering Better Together STEM Scholarships of $5,000 per year, renewable for up to four years, to students pursuing science, technology or engineering studies in California schools.

Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund
SALEF's "Fulfilling Our Dreams Scholarship" fund is making higher education a reality for Central American and Latino students, including AB 540 students, with over 1,000 scholarships provided since 1998. SALEF's "Fulfilling Our Dreams Scholarship" Fund offers financial assistance and support to undergraduate, graduate and professional students, often making the difference in whether a student can attend college or not. 

The Scholarships are open to all qualifying students regardless of immigration status. SALEF promotes giving back to our communities, thus scholarship recipients are expected to complete community service hours and receipt of the scholarship award is dependent on completion of their pledge.

Scholarship America Dream Award
Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a renewable scholarship fund targeted toward completion. Awards will be given to students entering their second year or higher of education beyond high school, because too often scholarships are only offered in their freshman year. Award amounts will grow each year, helping ensure that students can afford to complete their degrees.

Dream Award scholarships for 2017-18 included general scholarships, STEM-specific scholarships (for study in science, technology, engineering and math-related majors) and the World Journal Dream Award Scholarship for Chinese American students. Any changes to these categories will be announced when the 2018-19 program opens. Financial need will be considered in determining award amounts.

To qualify, students must have received a high school diploma or equivalent from a U.S. school, and must be planning to complete a minimum of one full year of postsecondary education by the end of the 2018-19 year. Applicants must plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at the sophomore-year level or higher at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school in the United States for the entire 2018-19 academic year, and must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent). Finally, applicants must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent resident (holders of a Permanent Resident Card), or individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA).

Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara
At the Scholarship Foundation, we believe that students need and deserve education beyond high school, and that every motivated, deserving student with the desire for higher education should have the opportunity to pursue it.

We have been supporting students in their higher education goals since 1962. Today, our online application is available to students between October 1 and January 15. After careful review of the applications and the almost 500 scholarship funds we have in management, we provide scholarships to eligible students from Santa Barbara County for college, graduate, and vocational school education.

Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Scholarships range from $500 to $14,000 USD per academic year; average awards are approximately $2,500. The number of scholarships available depends chiefly upon the number of sponsors and the amounts they contribute. SEG scholarships have been sent to universities all over the world.

Structural Engineering/Architect Student Scholarship Program
The Structural Engineering/Architecture Student Scholarship Program, sponsored by Simpson Strong-Tie Company, Inc., is available to students who are already enrolled as juniors (at least 60 semester hours or equivalent) or seniors in a full-time undergraduate course of study in architecture or structural engineering at designated four-year colleges and universities.


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Last Modified Oct 23, 2018