Aviation Scholarships and How to Win Them
People hate talking about money. Unless, of course, it’s free money! Scholarships are a key to furthering a students success. The cost of education can sometimes seem overwhelming with life happening at the same time. AIM students, both young and old, have enjoyed a plethora of scholarship opportunities over the years. Yet, not everyone knows where to begin. Let’s change that…
Step 1 | Finding Scholarships
This is probably the most challenging step. Even when you explore your options, it is too much information to process when you start digging. So let’s filter some of that and focus just on aviation. Below are a list of aviation specific places to depart for:
- Federal Aviation Administration www.faa.gov
- National Business Aircraft Association www.NBAA.com
- Association of Women in Aviation Maintenance www.AWAM.org
- Helicopter Association International www.HAI.org
- National Air Transportation Association www.NATA.aero
- Professional Aircraft Maintenance Assoc. www.pama.wildapricot.org
- Experimental Aircraft Association www.eaa.org
- Northrop Rice Foundation www.northropricefoundation.org
The FAA.gov site has a variety of sites to branch out and see additional scholarship opportunities not listed above.
Step 2 | What is Required?
As you survey the grounds, keep an eye on the requirements. This is a great chance to filter out much of the clutter to focus on the scholarships that you can feel good about spending your time on. Look for:
- Deadlines – This will give you a reference of how much time you have to put into collecting and applying to the scholarship. Plus, with all of the different options, sites don’t get updated as frequently as one would think. Often times, you will see a few scholarships have already passed their deadline.
- Characteristics – Most scholarships are open to men and women, however, some are specific. There may be additional requirements pertaining to just pilots or technicians. Nevertheless, keep an eye out because you may, in fact, benefit from a smaller competitive field of applicants. There are also chances for multiple people to win certain scholarships and those don’t hurt to put time into, either.
- Application Process – This is where you need to make sure you follow the directions, have all of the materials you need to submit in order and complete the application process in the various forms that occur (i.e. You may get a confirmation email that asks you to recommend the scholarship to others.). Most applications require an essay. Always address the question or topic specifically and don’t run off on tangents. If you stay true to the subject and yourself, while making sure to proofread it when you’re done, you’ll be fine.
Step 3 | What should I have ready?
Many scholarships are very similar. You can often create a standardized template that has many required materials already queued up. Below is platform of items that you should ALWAYS have ready and updated.
- Recommendation Letters – You should already have these, but if you don’t, this will be your first priority. Go to your favorite instructors or supervisors of your past and just ask.
- Résumé – Its a pain to constantly keep it updated, but really, it’s important. For the most part, if you tweak it every 3-6 months you will have it fairly accurate. In addition, put relevant experience on it. List your accomplishments as well as any certifications and licensing.
- Contact Info – If you do everything right, they are going to want to talk to you. Whatever you give them, make sure that it is something you either check frequently or will respond to in a timely manner. Also, make sure it’s professional. Your Hotmail email address from middle school should probably be updated.
Step 4 | Quality vs Quantity
It can be a delicate balance to send off as many applications as you can to cover the market; however, be cautious. The one thing you don’t want to do is get lazy and just send your “Scholarship Package” out to the world without it being tailored to each one. Know what you want, what is needed to get it and the best way to follow through and you will be alright.
Whether you are a student, line tech or supervisor, the scholarship game is all the same. Keep in mind that there are dozens of different types of funding, like cash tuition awards, training awards and expense awards, all of which are set up to help you as a professional. Apply early and often, remember to be yourself and success will be right around the corner.