Do you want to spend a year learning to fight hunger? Are you a "keen undergraduate ethnobiologist" who might want to serve on a national board? A Pell grant recipient who wants to study abroad? These and many other opportunities might be yours for the asking! Numerous private organizations and governmental entities offer scholarships and fellowships you could be eligible to apply for.
Some scholarships are opportunity-specific — for example, they provide funding for students to study languages not many Americans learn, to travel to select countries, or to pursue summer research or graduate studies in certain fields. Other scholarships are geared towards particular student populations, such as students from under-represented racial and ethnic groups; students who are recipients of Pell grants; or students with a record of LGBT leadership.
Some opportunities are intended for current undergraduate students; others for those who have recently graduated. Depending on the scholarship, awards range from only $1000 to upwards of $50,000.
Some scholarships are extremely competitive: for example the Rhodes, Marshall, or Truman scholarships, which provide funding for several years of graduate study either in the US or the UK, are each offered annually to only several dozen students nationwide. Exceptional scholars, with a strong record of leadership both in and outside of the classroom, would be well-advised to contact Academic Services about such options by the spring of their junior year. Other scholarships are within the reach of many more students, and can be sought out with less advance preparation. No matter what your goals, though, it's best to research your options as far in advance as possible!
Some scholarships are designed for students to apply for on their own; others require an institutional nomination from St. Mary's. Either way, you are encouraged to consult with the Office of Academic Services about help we may be able to provide you — from advice, to essay-vetting, to practicing for interviews.
For information about specific opportunities available to students at different phases of their education, with different goals, or from different groups, please see the University of Maryland National Scholarships website. The site also offers advice on writing personal statements, asking for letters of recommendation, etc. Other large universities, such as George Washington University, may also have excellent fellowship websites worth investigating.
For help at St. Mary's, please contact Dr. Ruth Feingold, Associate Dean of Academic Services.