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How do I get Computer Science Scholarships?

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  • Written By: Dana Hinders
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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If you're interested in computer science careers, don't let the cost of a college education keep you from pursuing your dream. Many colleges and universities provide computer science scholarships for departmental majors. There are also many national scholarships, including the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Applicants for this scholarship must be full-time students, in their sophomore or junior year, who are planning on entering the fields of computer science, mathematics, or engineering. Some companies, such as Microsoft, even award computer science scholarships that come with paid internships to help you gain related job experience.

As you might expect, most computer science scholarships will have certain criteria for academic achievement. This might mean you need to have a specific overall GPA, a specific GPA in your major, or a certain score on the ACT or SAT. If the scholarship award is for several semesters, you may also have to agree to meet certain academic requirements in order to keep receiving funds.

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Closely tied to academic achievement, extracurricular activities are another important factor frequently used to award computer science scholarships. This includes internship experience in the computer science field as well as active involvement in professional organizations like the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) or the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T). Even volunteer work relating to science and technology, such as helping to run a summer computer skills workshop for low-income elementary school students, can be used to show that you are passionate about your future career.

Financial need, while not a consideration for every award, does come into play for some computer science scholarships. Financial need is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the form all students must fill out if they wish to receive grants or loans to pay for their education. It asks for information regarding assets and income from the past year. Both parent and student information must be reported unless the student is married, a parent, a veteran, a ward of the court, or over the age of 24.

Another criterion sometimes used to award computer scholarships is gender or ethnicity. Women and minorities have been historically underrepresented in the computer science field. Therefore, awards like the Gates Millennium Scholars Program and the Google Scholarship Program seek to encourage talented women and minorities to enter this field in hopes of eventually bridging the gap.

When applying for computer science scholarships, planning and preparation are key. Research all award opportunities carefully to determine which scholarships you are best qualified to receive. Pay careful attention to program deadlines and have a trusted academic advisor look over your application materials to make sure you're presenting yourself in the best possible light.

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aplenty
Post 3

@ Comparables- I know that Xerox Corporation offers minority scholarships for both graduate and undergraduate computer systems, and IT students. From what you say, you qualify for the company's scholarship program. The scholarships range in amounts from $1,000 to $10,000, and I think you can apply every year that you are eligible. This is one of the top computer science scholarships as well as one of the top minority scholarships.

I would also bet that other companies offer similar scholarship programs. It wouldn't hurt to contact the PR department at companies like Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Intel. Honestly, I would call the PR departments of any major computer technology company you can think of. Sun systems, Oracle, Adobe, or any others may have some type of public scholarship fund that is not well publicized. The worst that can happen is you lose an hour of your time.

Comparables
Post 2

Does anyone know of any computer science graduate scholarships for minorities? I graduated with a GPA of 3.45 and I am trying to find funding for grad school. If anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate it.

GiraffeEars
Post 1

Any Pell-eligible students who are going to be searching for scholarships in computer science remember that you may qualify for the Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant. This is a grant given out to Pell-eligible students by the federal government. The grant is worth $4,000 per year.

To qualify for the grant, a Pell-eligible student only need be a junior or senior undergraduate who is a United States Citizen and has a 3.0 GPA. The grant is open to students who are studying computer, life, physical, and interdisciplinary sciences as well as certain languages, mathematics, engineering, and technology. It's no secret that the United States has fallen behind the rest of the world in these areas, and this program is designed to increase the American labor force in these areas. The best part is all one needs to do to apply is file a FAFSA.

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