As a freshman, trying to find scholarship opportunities that are available to you can be an intimidating process. Many scholarships are restricted to only upperclassmen, so it can be discouraging to find that a program that you would like to apply for isn’t available to you yet. Luckily, whether you’re interested in study abroad, STEM research, or anything in between, there are plenty of scholarships out there that you can apply to now! Here are a few of these programs:
1. UK Fulbright Summer Institutes
Each summer the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission offers several themed institutes across the U.K. for American freshmen and sophomores to explore U.K. culture, history, and heritage, as well as take part in an engaging academic experience. Past institutes have included Shakespeare, climate change, and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Each institute is 3-6 weeks long and all expenses, including airfare, tuition and fees, and room and board are covered by the scholarship. To learn more about this opportunity, check out their website.
2. Critical Language Scholarships
Critical Language Scholarships are a U.S. State Department sponsored program providing two months of fully funded language study abroad during the summer. CLS is specifically focused on languages that are important to U.S. national security interest, so it has programs in countries such as China, Morocco, Turkey, Russia, and others where critical languages are spoken. You can find more info about CLS on their website.
3. Boren Scholarships
The Boren scholarship is a U.S. government-sponsored program funding U.S. students’ study of less-commonly studied languages in regions of the world critical for U.S. national security. Its purpose is similar to that of CLS, but unlike CLS it provides funding for semester- and year-long study instead of just for the summer. Moreover, it is designed for students planning to work in the national security arena and includes a one-year government service requirement. The Boren Scholarship gives up to $20,000 to fund semester- and year-long programs for undergraduates, and up to $8,000 for summer programs for STEM students. You can learn more about Boren here.
4. National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates
The NSF provides funding for research at any one of its Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) sites. These sites are located at universities around the United States, and they encompass a broad range of natural and social sciences. Students apply directly to the REU site that they are interested in, and if accepted they spend 10 weeks at that site conducting research led by faculty members. You can learn more about this program and find a list of REU sites here.
5. Charles Center Summer Scholarships
The Charles Center offers scholarships for William & Mary students from all academic disciplines to do summer research. The application includes a project proposal and personal statement as well as banner transcripts and one letter of recommendation. Applications for these research grants will be due at the end of February the spring before you do your project. You can find out more about Charles Center Summer Scholarships here.
6. National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship Program (UGSP) offers competitive scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to careers in biomedical, behavioral, and social science health-related research. In order to be eligible, applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.3 out of 4.0 and have financial need. The NIH UGSP will pay up to $20,000 per academic year in tuition, educational expenses, and reasonable living expenses to scholarship recipients. Scholarships are awarded for 1 year, and can be renewed up to 4 years. The summer after each year of receiving the scholarship, recipients must train for 10 weeks as a paid summer research employee in an NIH research laboratory. Furthermore, after graduation they will continue their training as a full-time employee in an NIH research laboratory, serving 1 year of full-time employment for each year of scholarship. To find out more about NIH UGSP, check out their website.
Keep in mind that these are only a handful of the opportunities available for freshmen to apply for. To look for more, be sure to check out Scholarship Search!
Furthermore, although many scholarships and fellowships do not allow freshmen to apply, it is never too early to start preparing. Look through Scholarship Search, the William & Mary Scholarships page, and this blog to learn about different opportunities for students at every academic level, and pick a few that you’re interested in. Once you have an idea of what opportunities you want to apply for in the future, you’ll be better able to set yourself up to be a qualified applicant by choosing coursework and activities that match those scholarships.
As always, thanks for reading! For more info on these and other scholarship opportunities, check out Scholarship Search, keep following the scholarship blog, or bring your questions to the PSAs directly in the Charles Center Mondays through Fridays from 9am to 5pm. Good luck on all your apps!