Friday, October 22, 2010

Scholarship Spotlight: Jack R. Howard International Fellowships

Jack R. Howard International Fellowships
Columbia University

An endowment at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism honors the journalistic legacy of Jack R. Howard with fellowships to international journalists pursuing a master's degree. In Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Arab World, and the Far East, free press is just being born, and that makes it possible for the fellows to return home and be true journalistic pioneers in their countries. They serve as role models, mentors and educators to their colleagues. The Howard Fellows bring a richness of experience and a unique perspective to the journalism school and contribute tremendously to the overall experience of the entire student body.

The fellowships provide full room, board, tuition, and travel for the 10-month program, and fellows participate in special lecture and discussion programs on journalistic norms, cultural values, and the challenges they will face in their professional futures. There is a strong press freedom component built into the program, and fellows are introduced to a broad variety of institutions in New York, ranging from the Committee to Protect Journalists to U.N. and foundation officials with interests in their regions.

For information about the fellowships, contact Sree Sreenivasan, dean of student affairs, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, at

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Scholarships for International Students and GlobalCampus Team Up to Help Students

Social networks can be very powerful for meeting new people, forming new relationships, and collaborating with like-minded individuals or groups. One group that I found and “liked” on Facebook, is GlobalCampus.

GlobalCampus is a social network connecting students with universities and institutions across the world. On GlobalCampus students get approached by institutions looking for their talent and notified of funding opportunities they qualify for. So students can simultaneously access a global range of opportunities without searching hundreds of websites, and universities can attract talent from around the globe without visiting every school. Signing-up to GlobalCampus is completely free! For more information, check them out at their website: or their Facebook Page:

Recently, my friends at GlobalCampus and I have been talking about the difficulties international students face when communicating with professional people – when writing letters to scholarship providers, or simply when posting questions on websites or sending email messages.

SIS and GlobalCampus have teamed up in a joint effort to share information that will help international students learn a few of the basics in communication and effective professional letter writing – that is why “How to Communicate With Scholarship Providers, and Write Effective Professional Letters” was created and shared with you in both channels. Read it on the SIS blog site: We look forward to future collaboration to continue serving international students!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How to Communicate With Scholarship Providers, and Write Effective Professional Letters

“hey u got a scholarship 4 me?” Not likely! If you want to be taken seriously by scholarship committees, you must communicate in an effective, professional manner. Even if you are simply sending an inquiry by email, or posting to a website or social network, the basics are essential – proper grammar, capitalization, punctuation and complete sentences.

With a few general rules, some good tips from scholarship committees, and help from family, friends, or teachers, you can learn to write effective professional letters – and increase your chances of winning a scholarship!

Before you write the letter:

  1. Take the time to think about your skills and strengths, other than what might be included in a resume. Write them down, describe them, and list examples. Here are qualities committees may look for, beyond financial need:

    • Knowledge of chosen field, carefulness of work
    • Motivation, enthusiasm, seriousness of purpose
    • Creativity, originality, ingenuity of problem solving
    • Ability to plan and carry out research, organization
    • Ability to express thought in speech and writing
    • Maturity, emotional stability, ability to withstand stress and face challenges
    • Leadership skills
    • Self-reliance, initiative, independence, adaptability
    • Responsibility
    • Ability to work well with others
    • Growth potential, desire to achieve, dedication to goals

  2. First and foremost, make sure you are eligible for the scholarship, meet the necessary criteria, and can meet the deadline for submitting all necessary paperwork.

  3. Do your research. Locate the details that will help you write an effective, personalized letter. What is the scholarship for? Who is funding the scholarship? Determine what the scholarship committee is looking for in an applicant so you can include it in the cover letter. For example, if the committee values community service, then you might want to include any volunteer services or activities you’ve been involved in.

  4. Find out if the scholarship committee consists of the board of an organization, a group of people or educators, or a single person. Find out the specific person to whom you can address the scholarship cover letter. Search the scholarship documents, web site or call the committee and ask to whom you can address the cover letter to make it more personal.

  5. Find samples of scholarship letters in books or on the web – but just for ideas, inspiration, and structure. Do not simply change the wording to reflect your own information – it will be easily recognizable as a standard, sample letter. You want your letter to be unique, and your own.

Writing the letter:


  • Any formal business letter format is acceptable.
  • Make sure to use an easy-to-read font when typing your letter.
  • In the top, right hand corner put your name and contact details.
  • One line below and left aligned, type the name and address of the person (or organization) you are addressing.
  • One or two lines below, either left or right aligned, add the date. The following formats are acceptable: October 10, 2010; or Paris, 10th October 2010. The place of writing can also be included, but is not necessary.
  • Two lines below, begin the letter with Dear and then the title of the person as applicable (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., or Professor), then the surname, making sure it is spelled correctly. If you do not have the name of the person to whom you are writing, “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom it May Concern” are acceptable.
  • Two lines below, add the content of your letter.
  • Two lines below the last paragraph, add the closing, such as “Sincerely”.
  • Four lines below the closing, add your name in type, and your hand-written signature above.

In General:

  • If both a cover letter and essay are required, then the cover letter should be a small, tight introduction to the personal essay. If a cover letter, personal essay, and resume are required then the cover letter introduces you, the purpose for sending the packet of information you’re sending, and gives a brief overview of what to expect in the resume.

  • If you cannot include your resume with the cover letter or essay, which is rare, you may need to include important information from your resume in the letter. If this is the case, divide the information into specific areas, like you would in a resume – such as education, awards, work experience, and goals. Be sure to include areas such as volunteer work or other information that fit with the goals of the scholarship.

  • Make an outline of your letter. This will help maintain your focus as you write. You'll need to open with a greeting, transition to your main point, then to your next point and then provide a conclusion.

  • Choice of words is important. Achieve a balance between bragging and modesty. Avoid exaggerations and clich├ęs but do not down play your worth.

  • Be personable – be yourself. Remember that real people read your letter. Be respectful and courteous but use normal language, not flowery, overly formal wording that you would never use when speaking.

  • Once you've written your letter, go back and do an initial edit. Read it and find the spots that sound awkward, don't make sense or don't fit. Spend some time editing, improving the language and flow, and correcting your spelling, grammar and punctuation. Avoid wordiness. Be clear and concise.

  • Take a break even if it is just an hour or two, and focus on something else. Read and edit your letter again after your break. It can often be difficult to proof-read your own material; have a friend, family member, or teacher read it through – they may see some places that need to be polished.

  • It is simple errors with grammar, punctuation, and spelling that will remove you from the competition much more quickly than, for example, listing too few club activities. Make sure your letter is professional and compelling!


  • Start with a strong organizing thesis statement or umbrella statement at the beginning in order to introduce the key points that make you a good applicant for the scholarship.

  • Focus on a few main points. Stress the qualities and areas of expertise that make you a good candidate for the scholarship. To do this, refer to the qualifications listed with the scholarship. So, for example, if the committee considers financial need when deciding upon the candidates, make a point of your financial need but not in a tacky way, or in a self-pitying manner. Instead, refer to the financial need in a way that indicates the good that would come of receiving the scholarship.

  • Write the body of the cover letter with a sense of gratitude for the opportunity the scholarship will give you. Then make a case of how this scholarship will enable you to help your fellow man and the community as a whole.

  • Use specific examples to support what you say about yourself. For example, don't just say, "I am a leader," and expect the reader to believe you. Provide at least one specific example from your life that demonstrates your leadership skills. This is your evidence, and it gives your entire letter credibility.

  • If you can, connect your goals to the ideals and purpose of the scholarship committee or organization.

  • Close the scholarship cover letter with a forward looking and enthusiastic statement that thanks the committee, organization or person for their time and consideration in reviewing your scholarship application. It's always useful to add a sentence praising the work or the mission of the funding organization as well.

Bottom Line:

Effective, professional communication skills are not simply an asset – they are a necessity!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fellowship Spotlight: AAUW International Fellowships; $18,000 - $30,000

Fellowships for 2011-2012 Academic Year:
Master's/Professional Fellowship: $18,000
Doctorate Fellowship: $20,000
Postdoctoral Fellowship: $30,000

Applications available: Aug. 1–Dec. 1, 2010

Application deadline: Dec. 1, 2010

Fellowship year: July 1, 2011–June 30, 2012
International Fellowships are awarded for full-time study or research in the United States to women who are not United States citizens or permanent residents. Both graduate and postgraduate study at accredited institutions are supported. Several fellowships are available for study outside of the U.S.

For more information:
Questions about applications must be directed to the Iowa City office. Please do not contact the AAUW office in Washington, D.C., or local branches for application information.

Please call 319/337-1716 ext. 60,
or write to the customer service center at

Dept. 60301
ACT Drive
Iowa City, IA 52243-4030

Request a Brochure:

Order copies of the AAUW fellowships brochure that includes general descriptions for each fellowship program at

Scholarship Spotlight: Kathleen S. Anderson Award for Shorebird Research

Amount of grant: $ 1,000

Deadline: December 1st of each year

Description and eligibility:
The purpose of this award is to encourage significant avian research in areas of interest to Kathleen Anderson and Manomet, and to help promising biologists in their work. Requests for support of ecological and behavioral studies of birds, especially research furthering bird conservation, will be considered (e.g. endangered or endemic species, population viability, effects of land uses, habitat requirements, migration ecology, feeding ecology, species interactions, etc.).

Proposed projects must take place in the Americas. We encourage proposals from citizens/residents of countries south of the U.S. A total of $1000 will be awarded annually, either to one person or divided among two recipients.

Any person, of any age, beginning a career in biology is eligible. Enrollment in an academic program is desirable, but not required.
Grade level: undergraduate

Field of study: Veterinary and Animal Sciences; Biology

For more information:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Scholarship Spotlight: Microsoft Technical Scholarships

Scholarships: General Scholarships, Woman’s Scholarships, Minority Scholarships, and Scholarships for Students with Disabilities.

Deadline: February 1, 2011

Eligibility: To be eligible, you must be enrolled full time in a Bachelor’s degree program at a 4-year college or university in the United States, Canada, or Mexico at the time you submit the application. Plus, you must be making satisfactory progress toward an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a related technical discipline such as electrical engineering, math, or physics—and that you demonstrate an interest in computer science. Because the scholarship is merit based, you must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average out of a possible 4.0, or a 4.0 cumulative grade point average out of a possible 5.0. International students are eligible.

How to Apply: You must include the following five items in your application:

  • Resume
  • Transcript
  • Answers to essay questions
  • Letter of referral
  • Printed Confirmation Page from Online Application to the Microsoft Internship Program
  • Application Deadline: 1 Feb 2011

Microsoft selects final candidates based on the following criteria:

  • Eligibility
  • Quality of application
  • Displayed interest in the software industry
  • Commitment to leadership
  • Financial need

For more information: