I so often hear nurses say, “I can’t possibly go back to school. I just don’t have the money.” And yet more scholarship money is available today than ever before. You just need to know where to look. Here are some tips for finding and getting the money you need. When filling out an admission application, remember these key points.
If youre pursuing a degree in nursing or healthcare, contact the following sources for scholarship information:
Your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org). Click on Find Your State just under the search bar. You can do so whether you are a member or not.
Any relevant specialty association. These could be related to your current specialty or one you intend to work in afterwards. For example, if you work in ICU but intend to become a certified RN anesthetist, contact both the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (www.aacn.org) and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (www.aana.com). Find a listing of professional associations in the resources section of the directory.
Online nursing scholarship lists, such as those referenced below. You will have to weed through them because some are designated for certain ethnic groups, different levels of education or
Relevant ethnic-heritage professional associations, if applicable, such as the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (http://thehispanicnurses.org), National Black Nurses Associatio, Inc. (www.nbna.org) and the Philippine Nurses Association of America (http://mypnaa.com/).
The financial aid office in the school you are considering attending.
Scholarships, Grants and Prizes 2015 (or current year). This comprehensive book can be found in bookstores or online in the reference section of your library. Ask the librarian to help you find this and other scholarship-listing books.
Whether you are pursuing a degree in nursing or a different area, there are many other sources
Ethnic clubs, such as the Italian-American Club. Many have scholarship money available to those of a specific nationality or other ethnic heritage. Similarly, some religious organizations have scholarship money available for those of the same faith.
Philanthropic and civic organizations, such as Rotary Club, veterans associations, unions and organizations that support those with disabilities.
Your employer or your parents employer, regardless of your age.
Other business and professional associations in your community and home state, as well as the state where you will be attending college. Seek those related to your future career plans. For example, if you are pursuing an MBA, target business and management associations.
Tips for completing your application
While completing your applications, remember:
Applications must be filed by the deadline date and be complete. Follow the instructions carefully. Otherwise, your application may not be considered.
Read the award criteria carefully, because each scholarship has a different focus. Understand what each organization is looking for and provide relevant information.
If you are required to write an essay, tailor your comments to the particular scholarship criteria. Choose your words carefully. Do not exceed the allowed word limit. Let the reader know why this is important to you and why you are the right candidate for the award. Those judging the application only have your paperwork from which to make an evaluation. Make every word count. Let your passion and commitment come through on paper. Be sure to mention any hardships, challenges or special circumstances, such as being a single parent, disabled, veteran, first-generation American, immigrant, sole supporter of your family or special recognition or honors you have received. Keep the reader in mind when you write.
Just like a resume, your application should be free of spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. A typed application makes a good impression.
The more scholarships you apply for, the better your chances of receiving one. Some organizations even award money for living expenses in addition to tuition.
Links to scholarship listings
Where to find scholarships listings:
Discover Nursing: (www.discovernursing.com/scholarships#no-filters)
Minority Nurse.com: (www.minoritynurse.com/scholarships/)
National Student Nurses Association: (www.forevernursing.org/)
Sigma Theta Tau International (www.nursingsociety.org/Career/CareerAdvisor/Pages/scholarships_opps.aspx)
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (www.AACN.nche.edu/students/scholarships)
Generic listings for scholarship money can be found on sites such as fastweb.com.
Start filling out applications and writing essays where required. Money, or lack of it, should never be an excuse not to go back to school. Where there is a will there is always a way. There is definitely money out there for you. Go after it.