February is Scholarship Month at Minnesota State and $2 million will be awarded to students who apply through MSU’s scholarship finder tool.
Scholarship finder (mnsu.academicworks.com) is a website available to students where they can scroll through pages of available scholarships and apply to ones they are qualified for. Qualifications vary; some are more general, related to volunteer work and grade point average and others are more specific to one’s major program or need-based.
Carolyn Peterson-Nelson, MSU’s Scholarship Director of Admissions, said the “most important thing that a student can do” during scholarship month is log into this tool early.
“Students will be matched to scholarships that they, uniquely, are qualified for, but there are some scholarships that require an additional application or essay or some specific information related to that student’s experience. Some also require a faculty recommendation so students should log on early and review the scholarships that are available for them. If they wait until the end of the month to do that they miss out on opportunities,” Peterson-Nelson said.
Many students currently enrolled in universities do not think to apply for scholarships once they have been admitted and view this as a process for high school seniors. Peterson-Nelson said this is a mistake, as the annual scholarship month is designed to connect current students with opportunities based on their experience at the university.
“The university does award $2 million annually through scholarship finder in the month of February. If students — particularly sophomores, juniors and seniors — are not accessing those scholarships then they are missing out on those opportunities. Those are uniquely scholarships related to students’ university experience,” Peterson-Nelson said.
When students log into scholarship finder, they can view open scholarships prior to logging in. After signing in with a Star ID and password, students are prompted to answer questions about their expected graduation date, campus and community involvement, employment experience, academic and professional goals and financial need. Once this process is completed, the website generates a personalized list of scholarships based on the given information.
Students have roughly two and a half weeks to submit applications to as many scholarships as possible to ensure their chances of getting part of the $2 million to be distributed. Most of the scholarships available give up to $2,000. Peterson-Nelson said it is important to not only give yourself time to create a worthy application, but to give references enough time to adequately recommend you.
“If you don’t log in and review your scholarship options ahead of the deadline, then you might not have time to ask faculty for a reference or they might not have time to submit it in advance,” Peterson-Nelson said.
The deadline for scholarship submissions is Feb. 28.
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