How to Find Nursing Scholarships You may have a lifelong dream of becoming a nurse, yet you don’t have the financial backing to make your dream come true. Well, don’t give up, there are scholarships that can help you achieve your dream. Searching Your School of Choice Start with your first choice of a school. There are so many scholarships it can be a little unnerving, so it's best to narrow things down, and you can start that by selecting your first choice of schools. Many scholarships will require very detailed information regarding where you plan to attend school, so it is good to have a choice lined up. Have your information organized, know where you hope to attend school, and have the reason for your decision, the more information you can provide the better. Be sure to consider what type of nursing you are interested in, a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, etc. Also determine if the school you are most interested in generally has available spaces, or if there is usually a waiting list. If your intention is to begin school soon, you may have to select a school based on available spots for new students. Related: Why Nursing Events and Seminars are Essential to your Success Search Available Scholarships The first step to searching for a scholarship is to check with your employer if you are working. Many employers offer scholarship programs to earn a bachelor's or advanced degree. If your employer does participate in scholarship programs, contact your human resource department to inquire as to what you need to do in order to get started and apply. Some additional local areas to check for scholarships are:
• Your employer (Employee Based Awards) • Scholarship-focused nonprofits • Large corporations (Pepsi, Xerox, etc.) • Foundations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc.) • Unions • Advocacy and political organizations • Religious organizations
• Social/community clubs and organizations • Service organizations • Religious organizations • Social/community clubs and organizations • Service organizations (Rotary, Elks, etc.)
The criteria for scholarships vary drastically. There are scholarships that are geared toward students that pursue a specific career, while others may be aimed toward applicants from a particular state, or country. Some scholarship programs are in place to serve people from disadvantaged areas, so be sure to keep checking, you are bound to find a scholarship that will be of benefit to you. Other local scholarships may be available if you fall into one of the following categories: • Demonstrated commitment to community service or volunteer work • Commitment to pursue a valued career, academic, or research interest • Learning or physical disabilities • Demonstrated commitment to fine arts or performing arts • Demonstrated athletic achievement and talent • Economic need • Underrepresented minority group • Student is a gender minority in their field of interest (Ex: male nurses) • Birthplace (for students from a particular city, state, or country) • Student is the first to go to college in their family • Contest / essay contest winner • Going back to school; single parent • High academic achievement • High standardized test scores • High standardized test scores
Organization It's imperative that you get organized prior to narrowing down your list of potential scholarships. The more you have organized, and the better prepared you are to respond when you are asked to submit additional information, the better chance you will have of getting a response immediately. When a nursing school receives information that a scholarship is going to be available, they often go down the list of applicants, and the person or people that are able to submit required documents right away stand a much better chance of receiving the scholarships that are available. Consider making separate folders that hold copies of all necessary paperwork that you may need to provide for a scholarship program. If you are not in a school program, college or other when you begin to seek out scholarships, you are actually at a slight disadvantage. You can certainly still apply and receive a scholarship; however you may have to forth a little more effort. Applying for Nursing Scholarships While in School If you are still in a school of any kind, you should have the ability to speak with your school's financial aid or advisor's office. They generally have firsthand knowledge of available scholarships, and can provide direction for you. Keep in mind that in most cases you should begin applying for your scholarship even prior to submitting your application for school. Check with your school counselor or financial advisor and find out when you should begin the process of submitting scholarship applications. Internet Search for Scholarships Donâ€™t rule out searching for a scholarship online, however, be extremely cautious. Many people will opt to do an online search for a scholarship as their first starting point. If you are lucky you may find one quickly, however, it's more likely you will put through page after page of providing your information, only to get nowhere. If an internet site requests a fee for scholarship information, be advised, this is probably not a legitimate offer. Related: 5 Reasons Why a Veterinary Nurse is the Best Job Demographic Research If you are willing to relocate to attend nursing school there may be scholarships available for nursing schools in areas that have a severe nursing shortage. Larger cities are your safest bet for scholarship offers due to nurses being in demand. You may be familiar with student loan programs that offer to forgive the loan in certain circumstances; however, there are
also scholarships that have similar guidelines. Many rural areas that suffer economically do not have adequate health care available. There are some scholarships that may offer to pay for all of your nursing education with the understanding that once you are licensed, you will work in one of the areas in need. Generally there is a two year work commitment required, so you would need to be willing to obligate yourself to that. In the event you don’t fulfill your commitment, then the scholarship converts into a student loan, and you are responsible for paying for your education. Military Scholarships If you are willing to serve your country for a period of time, you would qualify for a military scholarship. This requires some dedication, and patience, you most likely would not be able to attend nursing school immediately, as it would require you to perform some military service first.
Field of Interest Nursing Scholarships Perhaps you have been touched by someone with cancer in your life, or lost a loved one. If you have a desire to work in a specialty field, such as a cancer care specialty nurse, you may be able to secure a scholarship through the organization that provides research for the particular disease or condition. Medical Supply & Pharmaceutical Companies You may not be aware, but medical supply and pharmaceutical companies often have many scholarship programs available for nurse education programs. Johnson & Johnson has a very large variety of nursing scholarship programs, and are adding more each year. Scholarship Criteria When researching scholarships that may be appropriate for you, be sure to first look at the criteria and make sure you qualify. It can be very frustrating to spend time filling out applications and gathering paperwork only to realize you do not qualify for the scholarship. There are some common scholarships requirements that you can expect to meet: • GPA- most nursing schools require at least a 3.0 grade point average •Proper identification- plan to get certified copies of your birth certificate and social security card prior to submitting applications. It can take time to get them in order, and you want to be as prepared as possible
•Legal Residency- most scholarship programs will require you to prove citizenship and legal residency status, although there are some scholarships geared toward those with work visas. If nursing is a career that you feel is well suited for you, pursue obtaining a scholarship so that you can attend school and fulfill your career goals. If your desire is strong enough, there is almost always a way to attend nursing school, as nursing is a profession that is always understaffed. Tips for Scholarship Preparedness • Ensure you have all pertinent documents on hand well before you begin the process of filling out applications. Make sure you have your social security card, state ID or driver's license, birth certificate, and proof of citizenship. •Make folders to hold a set of documents for each scholarship application that you submit. It will save time and frustration to be well organized. Make copies of all of your documents and separate them into the folders, they will be ready to attach to the applications as you need them. •Write consideration letters and submit with each application. Be sure to include reasons that you desire to study in the field of nursing. You never know, a letter may be the entry you need to a particular program. •Start your search well in advance of the time you plan to attend school. Generally 12-18 months is the time frame needed to secure scholarship acceptance. Related: Skilled Nurse Donna Lee-Phillips, RN, to Be Published in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare Please follow us on Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and Twitter