No matter what you’re planning to study at university or which country you’re interested in, scholarships are a must for any prospective student. If you’re at the beginning of your higher education journey, it can seem overwhelming to decide which scholarships to apply for or even which websites or platforms are best for starting your search. There are thousands of scholarships out there, but they are not all the same. Some are essentially like a lottery or prize drawing, in which everyone who enters has an equal likelihood of winning. Others require essays or even letters of recommendation to ensure that the most qualified applicants have a better chance of earning the scholarships that they deserve.
Depending on your family background, education level, hobbies, interests, and professional goals, you will likely be eligible for numerous scholarships aimed at specific demographic groups. Often, these scholarships offer the best chance for a successful application, as the number of students able to apply will be much smaller than general scholarships open to any high school or university student. For example, nursing students should take advantage of the scholarship opportunities reserved for aspiring professionals in the healthcare field.
Many scholarships are intended explicitly for female students. Although these days, women make up half (or sometimes even more) of the student body at many top universities, this certainly hasn’t always been the case. To further encourage gender equality, many universities, non-profits, professional organizations, government agencies, and corporations have made it their mission to ensure female students have proper access to a wide range of higher education opportunities.
But where exactly can you find these scholarships? There are many places to look that offer scholarship specifically for female applicants.
University Financial Aid Offices
If you’re interested in applying for scholarships, the first place to go is your college or university’s financial aid office, either in person or online. Ideally, set up a meeting with a financial aid officer with whom you can have a face-to-face conversation or at least a phone appointment. Financial aid officers are university employees who are likely to be very familiar with current scholarship opportunities, including some specific to your university. From their experience advising other students, they’ll also be familiar with which opportunities will likely give you the best chance of success.
You’ve probably already discovered that there are many online platforms dedicated to connecting students with scholarship opportunities. These websites can be an excellent tool for finding scholarships for female students, but you should be careful about which platform you use. Unfortunately, many websites simply display the same list of scholarships, making it unlikely that students will have much chance of a successful application. A better option is to use a specialized platform such as Bold.org, which features scholarship opportunities you won’t find anywhere else.
In addition to featuring many scholarships for women, Bold.org also has awards for students from a wide range of backgrounds. This includes those interested in a particular field/career, those who are the first in their family to attend college, and those who have experienced adversity in their lives. Students are guided to create a profile to take advantage of these unique scholarships for female students, which are then matched with relevant awards. This can be a huge timesaver, as you won’t have to fill in the same information on multiple applications, and you can apply to several different scholarships in just one click. Best of all, many philanthropic individuals and organizations have posted scholarships on Bold.org that you won’t find listed on any other scholarship websites.
Companies and Non-Profit Organizations
The best companies and non-profit organizations are always looking to attract top talent, and many offer scholarship and internship programs to current university students. In many fields, including science, technology, and engineering, companies are especially interested in bringing greater diversity to the workforce, particularly when hiring women. For this reason, you’ll find that most major corporations, as well as many non-profit organizations, offer either a scholarship, internship, fellowship, or job training program for promising female students. For graduate students, this could include funding to earn an MBA, with the agreement that you would work for the company for a certain number of years after completing your degree.
It’s not only corporations that are committed to bringing gender equality to higher education and the workplace. Many nations, such as Germany and Ireland, have launched initiatives to encourage and support women from newly-industrialized countries in becoming highly-educated experts in their chosen fields. These special programs are typically aimed at graduate students who could benefit from the opportunity to develop their expertise while studying abroad and then bring their newly acquired skills back to their home country.