College Scholarships Specifically For Women
In academia it is true, women have come a long way. In 2013 they earned more bachelor’s and master’s degrees than their male counterparts. But even with these gains, women remain underrepresented in the key STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields and lag behind in terms of overall earnings.
Recognizing this fact, many organizations make specific scholarships available for women, designed to help close the gender gap. There is a lot of money out there: overall, more than $35 million dollars was available through private companies, foundations, local organizations and civic groups.
If you are interested in finding a scholarship, the first step is to tackle it as though it is a job. You do not have to be the brightest scholar or even the best athlete to locate funding. Start by making a “brag list” that includes your race/ethnicity, your accomplishments, your volunteer activities, scholarship and athletic attributes and even overall funding needs. Be specific.
Scholarships for women are sometimes designed to meet the needs of the ‘single mother’ or women returning to school after having children. If you search carefully, you will be surprised at how many niche scholarships there are (there is even one for a mother of twins). Some of these awards defray the overall cost of a degree program, while others help women pay for child care or assist with living expenses. One scholarship is designed only for retired women, interested in attending college for the first time following a career.
Of course, the fastest growing area of scholarship opportunity for women is in the STEM fields. Even some private companies, such as Microsoft and IBM, have allocated funding for women in these areas. But if you are interested in another area, such as the arts, social sciences or humanities, you will find plenty of specific scholarships for women. The key is to keep looking.
Keep in mind that there are also many scholarships for women of color. African-American women will find scholarships in many areas, including the sciences, nursing and even the ministry. If you belong to any ethnic group, you will also want to explore these options. There are, for instance, specific scholarships for Latina and Hispanic women, as well as Native American women. Do a specific search on your ethnicity or heritage to see if you qualify for a scholarship in this area. And finally, if you have a disability, there are many scholarships to aid you as well.
Each year, billions of dollars in scholarship monies are awarded and much of it is to women. If you want to be a recipient of financial assistance, you need to find the ‘right’ scholarship. Keep in mind that some application deadlines will occur a year or more before high school graduation. So, start early and be persistent: you’ll be surprised at what you find.