Scholarships at WashU

I’ve had the intention of writing a few posts about the John B. Ervin Scholars and Annika Rodriguez Scholars Programs for a while now–I keep mentioning them here and there, and it seems strange to me that something that occupies so much of my time, energy, and love here at WashU hasn’t gotten more face-time on my blog.

Perhaps it’s the fact that these programs mean so much to me, I don’t know how I could possibly describe all the opportunities they’ve given me in my time at college thus far. I figure I’ll begin with a general overview about scholarships at WashU for now, and will head into specifics about my experiences in later posts .

The five undergraduate divisions of WashU—the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Architecture, College of Art, Olin Business School, and School of Engineering & Applied Science—sponsor scholarships and fellowships for exceptional students. These awards range from annual awards of $3,000 to half-tuition scholarships to full-tuition scholarships ($42,500 in academic year 2012-13) with annual stipends. Each involves expectations that the students selected will participate actively in shaping the academic and campus communities of which they become a part.

Students can apply for the academic scholarships and fellowships that match their academic and extracurricular achievements–these scholarships range from ones for students with exceptional talent at writing, art, languages, math, sciences, or even simply a dedication to academic excellence, community service, and diversity–like the two programs that I’m involved in. And don’t forget, that you can apply to these scholarships in addition to need-based aid!

Though all of our programs are great, I’m obviously biased toward the Ervin and Rodriguez programs, and allow me to explain to you here why: in addition to covering the vast majority of your college expenses and freeing you and your parents from the immense burden of having to pay the immense sticker price of a college diploma (which all of these scholarships help you with), the Rodriguez and Ervin scholars program have provided me with a community of about 300 current scholars (and hundreds more alumni) that have offered me their unconditional support since my first day here at the university. These programs were what made my transition to college seamless with pre-orientation programs at in August that help me prepare for the coming year, to the class meetings we hold throughout the semester to stay in touch and meet professors and learn about research, study abroad, and co-curricular opportunities at WashU, among other subjects. From the freshman seminar that I participated in with my fellow scholars in the Rodriguez program, to the advising offered to me by Dean Julia Macias, Dean West, and the late Dean James E. McLeod (and not to mention the upperclassmen who have been invaluable in teaching me all of the tips and tricks I need to be successful at school since day one!) in addition to all of the standard advising offered to students at WashU, I’ve gotten more than financial support–I’ve found a second family here at WashU that has helped me feel both at home and introduced me to the best academic and co-curricular opportunities that the university has to offer–ones that I wouldn’t have even known about or had the opportunity to get involved in if it weren’t for this program. You can find a scholar in any program or extracurricular activity on campus, and as a result I never take a single walkthrough of the campus without seeing at least one familiar face.

And here’s the clincher for me: WashU is the only university where you’re going to find scholarships like the ones I mentioned above–ones that give you every opportunity to be successful at the university, present you with 300 insta-friends when you begin school (along with upperclassmen friends that help teach you all the school’s ins and outs to boot), and despite the overarching community service and academic commitments, leaves you free to define your impact on the university given those guidelines–every scholar is given the freedom to interpret the tenets of the scholarships as they so choose.

I’ll leave my spiel at this for now (and this was only the introduction)! Because I don’t want to overwhelm you (though there’s just so much to write about) I’ll be posting more on my individual experiences with both scholarship programs in the near future.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the admissions page on scholarships for more info, as each scholarship or fellowship has a slightly different application procedure (though all require each candidate to submit an application for freshman admission to Washington University). The deadline for these applications is January 15, 2013, so get started as soon as you can (I personally don’t know what you’re waiting for)!

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