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Scholarship - Q & A

Q: Who is "scholarships material?"
A: Virtually anyone. There are so many different scholarships with so many qualifications that it is impossible to generalize. From our experience, though, the great majority of scholarships go to students with cumulative GPA's of 3.00 and above who are enrolled full-time.

Q: I've heard that millions of dollars in scholarships go unclaimed every year. Is this true?
A: No! Most scholarships have many applicants. The information you're hearing represents unused employee tuition benefits, which are available only to those people working for the companies in question.

Q: I've received things in the mail from companies that want to send me scholarship information, for a fee. Is it worth it? Will I get a scholarship from them?
A: You are hearing from scholarship search services, and there are probably thousands of these companies around these days. Be aware that the company itself does not and cannot offer you a scholarship. They merely take basic information about yourself (and a fee) and promise to provide you with names and addresses of organizations that sponsor scholarships for which you are eligible. It's then up to you to write for an application and complete and send the application on time. Then you wait to hear the results of the competition.

Most of these services are reputable, but fraudulent scholarship search companies do exist.  The difference is that legitimate companies can never guarantee or promise you scholarships.  Please access the websites listed here, or check out scholarship directories: they are free!

Q: Lots of scholarship applications want me to write about myself. I don't know what to say!
A: This is your opportunity to sell yourself! What scholarship committees like to hear: your enthusiasm about your major and planned career goals; any special obstacles you have overcome to get to college; special events or people in your life that have helped you clarify your career and life goals; community service and dedication to others; family influence... What they DON'T like to hear: how poor you are; general clichés about the importance of education ("a mind is a terrible thing to waste").... Be specific! Remember that very few scholarship competitions include personal interviews: it is largely a paper process. Portray yourself to your best advantage, and you must learn to do that, in writing!

Q: Who do I ask for a letter of recommendation?
A: We strongly recommend that you get your letter from a Cal State L.A. teacher . If you are relatively new to CSULA, get the letter from a teacher at your previous school. The CSULA Letter of Recommendation Form requires the recommender to assess your abilities, potential and promise as a student, so a teacher or perhaps an academic advisor would be the ones to ask. An employer could probably not adequately answer these questions. We will definitely return letters from friends or relatives.

Q: I have a cousin in Bolivia who wants to study here. Can he be offered a scholarship from Cal State L.A.?
A: No. We have no special funds to recruit international students to attend CSULA. However, once he comes here and performed well academically, he could compete for a scholarship along with other qualified CSULA students.

Q: I am applying for CSULA scholarships. How long should my essay be?
A: A comfortable length is one to two pages typed, but there is no restriction. If it's a real interesting story we will gladly read 4 or 5 pages, but not more than that. Please do not restrict your essay to the space on the back of the application. No one can put together an adequate essay in that little space!

Q: How do I get an athletic scholarship?
A: There are no athletic scholarships at Cal State L.A.: they are called athletic grants-in-aid, and they are awarded by the coach of each particular sport. If you want to be considered for an athletic GIA, contact the coach of your sport, or go to the Athletics Office, in PE 102.

Q: Can I hand write my application?
A: Look at the directions carefully. Some applications specify that they must be typewritten. Some can be reproduced for computer use, but if they allow handwriting, make sure it is done neatly and in black ink. It must be able to be copied legibly. We cannot overemphasize the importance of neatness and readability. Applications that cannot be read will go unreviewed. Likewise, applications that have obvious typos or spelling errors are often set aside as well. Have someone proofread your application. Don't lose out over a moment of carelessness!

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Last Update: 05/11/2011