Funding Opportunities & Solutions For Graduating College Debt-Free
Engineering is one of the most in-demand professions in the technological world. An engineering degree is a necessity, not an option, to start out in the industry, and prospective students often find funding their education to be challenging, stressful and expensive. In this guide, find dozens of engineering scholarship options, tips for crafting a standout scholarship application, alternative ways to pay for college, and additional funding resources for a debt-free engineering degree.
Engineering Scholarship Search Tool
There are many things that can make college more affordable scholarships being one of the best. Below, students can find 100 engineering scholarships that will help them feasibly achieve the academic and professional goals specific to their concentration.
8 Application Tips for Engineering Scholarships
Even though scholarships are one of the most cost-effective ways to subsidize an education in engineering, they are highly competitive, meaning that standing out is a must. But how does one create a standout application? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown to creating the application that will fund your future.
- Strategize for successA year to six months before the anticipated program start date, applicants should have a working list of engineering scholarships that are ideal for them along with a breakdown of their deadlines and requirements. It seems like a long time, but with everything that life brings, six months is a comfortable window to work within.
- Make a scheduleCreating a simple schedule is the first step to creating a successful application. For instance, the schedule might include notes like: “Two months out: List is finalized and drafts are ready”.
- Outline key pointsAfter deciding which scholarships best suit you and your career goals, it’s time to put those goals on paper in a way that will show you are a driven and successful individual. Applicants who draw on their knowledge of the field and work experience set themselves apart and create an aura of potential success. Here is the time for the applicant to demonstrate that they are worth the investment.
- Be profoundPersonal statements are vital to showing the reader that the applicant is a versatile person with a purpose behind his goals. A profound personal statement is a surefire way to differentiate an application from the masses. In general, a good place to start is by asking questions about the ways in which personal experiences influence the change the applicant wishes to see in the world.
- Don’t use clichésAnother tip for creating a stellar personal statement includes resisting the urge to use clichés — both in terms of phrases and common experiences — to describe yourself.
- Treat the scholarship like a job applicationRelevant experience may make the difference between winning the scholarship and receiving a rejection letter. There is a certain level of competency that a stellar candidate will be able to display. Demonstrate that you have this by linking your future success to previous internships, jobs and memberships in professional organizations.
- Polish your applicationNothing turns off a reader more than a glut of grammatical mistakes and usage errors. A strong command of the written language is key to making a lasting impression and ensuring that a reader remains engaged throughout the entire application. While having a trusted friend read over your work is one way to do it, there are plenty of editing tactics that an applicant can use to make sure her writing is both effective and correct. Some examples are reading writing aloud and watching specifically for word variation.
- Allow time for gathering recommendationsMost applications require at least one letter of recommendation. Around one to two months out is a good time to begin requesting letters of recommendation from relevant supervisors and mentors.
Strategies to Help Pay for an Engineering Degree
While scholarships are an excellent way to make college affordable, they are not the only method by any means. Here is a comprehensive guide to alternative ways of paying for an engineering degree.
Assess potential debt
During the research process, make sure to compare not only the educational aspects of programs, but the financial costs as well. It’s important to ensure that the investment made in education is reasonable. Candidates should never take on more debt than they can repay, particularly since student loans cannot even be wiped out in bankruptcy! Not only is debt stressful, but it also has the potential to weaken financial stability later in life. In addition to researching the amount of debt that is expected to be incurred, prospective students should research ways to combat that debt, including some offbeat methods.
Consider nontraditional options
Crowdfunding may not cover the entirety of an engineering degree, but it is still an excellent way to ease the financial burden of higher education. U.S. News & World Report published a list of other overlooked ways to pay for college.
Look at program length
Not everyone needs a graduate degree in engineering. Depending on career goals and job outlook, an undergraduate degree — or even an associate degree in pre-engineering — may do the trick. Weigh all the options against your goals, and see what works. Before committing to any one educational path, research different programs and schools to make sure you pick the best option for you.
Be smart and save
If an engineering degree is something you want to pursue, it’s best to begin saving as far in advance as possible. This is especially important if a graduate degree in engineering is the ultimate goal, given the lost wages from working for an additional two years. For optimal aid, it’s best to begin saving at least a year in advance. However, it’s never too late to start, and every little bit helps.
Check out employer reimbursement programs
Though not every company will help pay for school, there are many that have programs in place to help with school expenses. Be sure to look at your employer’s policies and benefits regarding educational reimbursement. Current job candidates with an eye toward future education should research potential employers that could help in the future, which is especially important for applicants looking at a graduate education. The Huffington Post wrote an article that lists 10 companies that help pay for college.
Engineering Organizations with Scholarship Resources
Engineering is an interesting and versatile field, so there is a lot of information available to those wanting to learn more about it. While it’s great to know that the information is out there, it can make researching the topic overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of resources for prospective engineering students to get into the program that is right for both their career aspirations and their pocketbooks.
This resource outlines the general requirements for consideration of any of the undergraduate scholarships listed on ASCE’s website, which are only for current members of ASCE who are in good standing.
ASHRAE offers scholarships to environmentally minded undergraduates, and the ASHRAE website breaks scholarships down by award amount. The site also indicates whether the scholarship is recurring and the eligibility details for each.
The ASME site has information about scholarships and grants given by the organization as well as news and stories about the lives of those who received the funding.
This site displays a variety of scholarships for women in engineering and provides links to the organizations who offer them. Each scholarship is followed by a short description of the organization along with scholarship eligibility requirements.
NASA offers multiple scholarships for highly qualified students interested specifically in aeronautical engineering. The site also details a prestigious internship opportunity for engineering students.
NACME’s site details the requirements for the various scholarships NACME offers to minority students receiving an education in engineering. It outlines block grants and fellowship awards and provides information about additional scholarships.
NSPE gives scholarships to high school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students pursuing a degree in any engineering specialization. All scholarships listed on the NSPE website are followed by a short description and the eligibility requirements.
This resource is targeted to incoming college freshmen who intend to study engineering. The site offers instructions and an FAQ page on how to complete any of the society’s scholarship applications.
SWE has created a resource that places scholarships specifically for women interested in studying in undergraduate or graduate programs in engineering at their fingertips. In addition to producing a variety of preparatory materials to aid women in making sound educational decisions, the site offers an option to receive emails when scholarships become available.
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