College, university and vocational schools can be very expensive. Textbooks along can run into the high hundreds of dollars. Offsetting costs for books, housing or tuition through scholarships and grants can help women who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to get their degree and training required for a fulfilling career.

Some scholarships are available to all women across the nation; others are specific to areas of study, state, or even to minority women.

Scholarships for Women

The Girls Going Places Scholarship is for younger girls. An adult (a teacher, pastor, or other community leader) must write a 1,000 word essay about the 12-18 year old girl to nominate them for the scholarship. The essay must outline three things: 1. how the girl is planning for financial independence, 2. how she shows financial acumen and/or entrepreneurial skills in her day-to-day life (does she babysit, invest, save, work a part time job, etc?) and 3. Is she involved in extracurricular activities at school or in the community to promote the betterment of herself and the lives around her? Winners of the Girls Going Places Scholarship are granted between $1,000 and $10,000.

For women already in possession of a bachelor’s degree who wish to pursue higher education or change career paths, the Career Development Grants can help. Accredited technical and vocational training, as well as distance learning, can be given support through Career Development Grants, as can earning a second bachelor’s or a master’s degree. The grants are not available for PhD level study. Though all women holding a bachelor’s are eligible to apply, women of color will be given special consideration.

The Business & Professional Women’s Foundation (AVON Products Career Empowerment Program) offers scholarships between $1,000 and $1,500 for women interested in pursuing careers in business, accounting, computers and health sciences. Women over the age of 25 who receiving welfare or other forms of public assistance can apply to Open only to accredited schools in Los Angeles County – full or part time study. Forty awards are given each year.

Mature students who graduated high school (or achieved a GED) at least 10 years ago can apply to the Talbots Women’s Scholarship Fund. Submit an essay along with transcripts to be considered for a scholarship from $1,000 to $10,000. Financial need, academic record, scholarship essay, potential and community participation are all factors for consideration. Scholarships are awarded for any accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational program.

The Federal Pell Grant Program was designed to help low-income students return to the workforce or improve their skills to achieve a higher paying career. Students must enroll in participating institutions (nation wide) to receive up to $10,000 in financial assistance. Open to students who have not yet achieved a bachelor’s degree.

Nursing Scholarships

For women specifically interested in pursuing a career in nursing, there are vocation-specific grants and scholarships available.

Offered by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship of $1,000 is awarded to students who are in financial need and are accepted into an accredited school of nursing.

The Rebecca Andrews Scholarship for the Medical College of Georgia, School of Nursing provides $250 to one undergraduate and one graduate student each year. Specific to pursuing a career in Emergency Nursing, applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit a paper on Emergency Nursing along with two letters of recommendation.

General Tips

When applying for any scholarship or grant, regardless of what line of study you wish to pursue, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind.

  • Be early. Gather your applications together and get started on them ASAP. With essay requirements and all manner of documentation that has to be photocopied and sent off, you need to keep a very close eye on the calendar so as not to miss any deadlines.
  • Apply for more than one scholarship and/or grant. It’s like playing the lottery: The more often you play, the more likely you are to win something.
  • Recycle! If, for example, you are applying for more than one nursing scholarship, you can re-sue portions of your essay in each application. Maybe not every paragraph can be used for all the applications, but much of it is pretty standard. Save yourself some time by cutting and pasting!
  • Be organized. Further to being prompt, the only way to survive the application process is to be organized. Create a spreadsheet with the name of the grant, the requirements, the deadline, the date submitted and the date you hear back.
  • Keep your chin up. Don’t get discouraged by rejection letters. It’s all a part of life. Keep applying, and good luck in your studies!
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