Choosing a college or university major can unlock specific scholarships tailored to your field of study. From engineering to English, scholarships by major are accessible and often face less competition. As a scholarship expert, I’m here to guide both parents and students through this process, opening doors to opportunities that align with academic passions and career goals.
The Importance of Major-Specific Scholarships
Scholarships by major are often overlooked, but they’re an excellent way to finance your or your child’s education. Unlike generic scholarships, these focus on a chosen field of study. Since there are many majors in existence, these awards often face less competition.
Additionally, because of the focus on field of study, scholarships by major don’t always require perfect grades. This makes them a realistic option for many students without a 4.0 GPA. The knowledge below will help give you gain a further edge.
Where to Find Scholarships Based on Major
Here are a few key places that offer scholarships based on major.
Check Your Department for List of Scholarships by Major
Start by visiting your department to find scholarships offered specifically for your major. Departments offer these awards for a variety of reasons. Commonly, alumni will donate money for students specifically associated with a department. Depending on the size of school and program, these prizes may not be advertised widely. This is good news for you or your child because it means less competition.
Financial Aid Office or College/University Registrar
Often, financial aid offices or school registrars will have a list of all available scholarships for students with a specific major.
As you’re looking for scholarships by major, it’s important to know that there are private scholarships out there that your or your child’s school may not advertise or even know about. Lots of prizes are given out by organizations or individuals.
A great way to connect with private scholarships is to use a scholarship portal, like the BridgesEDU Scholarship Finder.
You can also find private scholarships based on major by doing an exhaustive Google search. When you do a deep search on Google, you can find many scholarships that are not advertised well.
Following a Successful Search for Scholarships
It’s vital to know that finding scholarships by major is different from winning them. Below, we’ll cover how to position yourself for success with applications.
Crafting a Strong Application
There are several ways to increase the quality of an application for a scholarship by major. Here are some items you can include in your application to separate yourself from the pack.
Highlight Your Career Goals in Major Field of Study
When reading applications, a scholarship committee loves to see long-term dedication to your field of study. After all, the point of these scholarships is to encourage students to pursue a career in a specific area of focus.
Strong applications highlight a student’s desire for impact. For example, if you’re in an engineering program, state how you plan to help people in the future, innovate within your industry, or simply note what positive goals you plan to work toward.
Ultimately, when you write about your career, you should include your vision for the future.
Speak About Service and Community Building
Scholarships by major are often designed to build community. They’re awarded to students who share a certain passion for a given field of study.
This is where community service, leadership activities, and independent study projects can pay big dividends. These extracurricular activities show your commitment to your major. For example, if you’re applying for an art scholarship, talk about how your community service has helped build relationships with other artists and helped advance the field as a whole.
This kind of community service is also a way to earn amazing reference letters for those scholarships that ask for them.
But don’t worry, if you haven’t participated in these types of activities, you can always change the focus to how you plan to do so in the future.
When to Highlight Your GPA
If your GPA is strong, highlight it! Strong grades communicate dedication. In this case, your grades help your application.
However, if this isn’t the case for you, change the plan of your personal statement. You can focus on relevant courses where you performed well. Or, as mentioned above, you can focus on your future goals (and note how the scholarship will help you reach them). This is a different way of showing your passion for your field of study. And, it works!
Summary: Finding and Winning College or University Scholarships by Major
Winning scholarships is a fantastic way to pay for education costs. However, many college and university students miss out because they don’t know where to look or how to win them.
Here’s a brief summary of what you need to know:
- Benefits of Major-Specific Scholarships: These scholarships are accessible, often face less competition, and don’t always require perfect grades.
- Finding Scholarships Based on Major:
- Departmental Scholarships: Check with your department for unique opportunities.
- Financial Aid Office or College/University Registrar: Consult these offices for a list of scholarships for your major.
- Private Scholarships: Utilize tools like the BridgesEDU Scholarship Finder, and do a deep Google search to find non-advertised opportunities.
- Crafting a Winning Application:
- Highlight Career Goals: Show your long-term dedication to your field.
- Emphasize Service and Community Building: Showcase community service and leadership within your field of study.
- Use GPA Strategically: Highlight strong grades, or focus on future goals and relevant coursework if grades are not a strength.
- Key Takeaway: Majoring in what you love opens doors to specific scholarships, making the scholarship search more personalized and potentially successful.