Funding your business education with scholarships

Four UIC Business students were recently awarded a total of $8200 in scholarships sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Students Affairs. Senior UIC Business student Abhinaya Konduru, who won the Gordon J. Flesch Memorial Scholarship, got in touch with the Business Blog to offer students some tips on funding their education with scholarships:

“Your first step is finding scholarships. The key resources for UIC Business students are the SnAP! website, the Office of Special Scholarship Programs, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. You’ll find many scholarships–there is something for everyone–and you’ll need to read carefully about each one. This can be tedious work; schedule time, and break it up over a few sessions if you need to.

I don’t remember exactly how many scholarships I applied for, but it was in the double-digits. In the end, I won two: the Flesch Scholarship, and a scholarship from the 1 for 2 Education Foundation that will cover full tuition in 2017.

Once you’ve identified the scholarships that you’ll apply for, you need to secure letters of recommendation and, mostly likely, you’ll need to write a personal essay. Start drafting the essay early, and have friends proofread each draft. The more drafts you go through, the better your case will be for why you should get the scholarship.

Letters of recommendation should come from professors who know you well. Which professors know you best? If none come to mind, start cultivating rapport with professors for whom you’ve done your best work. They are in the best position to speak to your academic strengths.

My academic performance was the biggest factor in each scholarship. But extracurriculars are of almost equal importance. I’ve been involved with lots of student organizations at UIC Business, and I’ve done a lot of volunteering, too, at places like Blue1647, Aarthi Home, and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Extracurriculars are edifying, and they strengthen your social network. They’ll also strengthen your scholarship applications.

The rest of the application process is a lot of filling in forms. Again, schedule the time. It’s tedious, but required. Business Scholars can take their questions to Rachel Marten, and UIC Business students outside the Business Scholars program can get support from Angela Prazza Winters. It may seem like a lot of groundwork, but think of it as any manager would: how many hours of work will you put into the applications, and how many hours of work will you put into paying off your student loans? It's not a hard decision.”

Students can find the aforementioned resources at the following URLs:

SnAP!: https://uic.academicworks.com/users/sign_in?action=index&controller=opportunities

Office of Special Scholarship Programs: https://ossp.uic.edu/scholarships/

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs: http://vcsa.uic.edu/

1 for 2 Education Foundation: http://www.1for2edu.com/

Read more about UIC Business student organizations on the UIC Business blog: http://blog.business.uic.edu/blog/student-organizations-undergrad

Browse through a list of UIC Business student organizations and schedule appointments for academic advising on the UIC Business Connect webpage: https://businessconnect.uic.edu/