If you’re applying to this year’s round of AWS Foundation national scholarships, the February 15 deadline for applications is fast approaching. If you’ve never heard of AWS Foundation scholarships and are considering further education, then this is the perfect time to learn more and start planning for 2017. Every year, the AWS Foundation offers scholarships worth a minimum of $2,500 for students pursuing specific degrees at accredited four-year colleges and universities. The specific eligibility requirements for each scholarship vary, so it’s recommended that you spend some time finding the scholarship that’s right for you. If you can’t make the February deadline, the AWS Foundation accepts applications for other funding opportunities later in the year.
This week, AWS Learning spoke to AWS Foundation Associate Director of Scholarships, Vicki Pinsky, to learn more about the AWS Foundation scholarship program and what donors are looking for in recipients. “AWS offers scholarships to assist students as they pursue their certificate or degree in welding and related technologies,” Pinsky said. “The Foundation also has donors, individuals and corporations, who have created scholarships to assist students in pursuing an associates and/or bachelor’s degree in welding engineering, welding engineering technology, civil engineering, engineering, business, and marketing and communication,” Pinsky explained. These donors fund the scholarships and create the criteria for selection based on their interests in the industry.
So what are these donors looking for in their candidates? “An interest in the industry and previous history with welding,” Pinsky said. “Whether at school, or through working with their parents, relatives, or others on welding projects.” In short, a serious interest in becoming part of the industry. Applications for National Scholarships are due on February 15th. Donors specify the criteria, including financial need, GPA requirements, full or part time enrollment status, or a written essay. Applications for District Scholarships are due March 1st. They are open to different types of educational institutions, including trade and technical schools, community colleges, and universities. Like the donors for National Scholarships, each district selects its recipient based on their own criteria.
AWS also offers a new scholarship called the AWS Welder Training Scholarship. It is specifically for welder training at a trade school or for an AWS Certified Welder Seminar. Finally, there are Section Named and District Named Scholarships that also have specific criteria and are available to students in a specific District and/or Section. Information for all of these programs is available at the AWS Foundation scholarship page. “Applicants must provide all required documentation as requested,” Pinsky reminds anyone pursuing a scholarship opportunity. In most cases, you’ll need to have at minimum an official transcript, proof of enrollment, a financial need statement, and a selection of references. Pinsky recommends applicants “take time to create a personal statement that speaks of their interest in a welding career, how they became interested in welding, etcetera.” Be sure to include any club or organization participation, especially any involvement with AWS Sections or student chapters. “It does not take long to apply,” Pinsky pointed out, “and about 40% to 50% of those who apply will receive a scholarship.” So the real question is, if you’re a welder thinking of pursuing a degree, why haven’t you applied?
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