Scholarships for women have been a major catalyst to increasing the number of female college graduates. Did you realize women now make up the majority of America’s college student population? In the decades from 1970 to 2000 the number of women attending post-secondary schools grew by 136 percent and the number of females attending professional schools increased 853 percent. Are you part of the more than 11 million women now attending an accredited post-secondary school? If not, why? Is lack of financial resources stopping you? Here are a few tips to obtain a scholarship to help you meet your educational goals.
Choose a Career Path: Scholarships For Women in Different Industries
Even though the number of women college graduates surpasses the number of men, the workplace is still not an equal playing field. Many times men still earn more and hold a higher percentage of high-paying jobs. As a result, many companies try to close this gender gap by offering scholarships for women. Their goal is to get more women into leadership roles in male-dominated industries. Why not help them achieve their goal and at the same time let them pay for you to achieve yours? So, if you are already employed in an industry you enjoy, ask about scholarship opportunities for women. If you are not employed, check out specific job sectors you may not have considered before. You may find your dream job and an employer to help you obtain it.
According to askmen.com, the Top 10 male-dominated industries in order from 10 to one are: accounting and finance, comedy, technology, culinary, law enforcement, emergency services, sports media, math-related fields, politics and construction. This doesn’t mean, for example, you need to learn to pour concrete. However, it does mean you could major in architecture and design and land an awesome executive position with a major construction firm. In the technology sector, both IBM and Microsoft offer scholarships for women to encourage them to major in engineering and business so they can apply for high-paying jobs in those fields after college.
In addition to companies, certain organizations favor female scholarship applicants seeking degrees in male-dominated fields. The SWE Scholarship Program offers scholarships to women seeking degrees in engineering, technology and computer science. The American Political Science Association supports the Special Fund for the Study of Women in Politics. Two hundred students get selected each year.
Find a Niche Organization: Some Offer Scholarships For Women
Numerous organizations fund scholarship programs for certain demographics of women seeking technical or vocational training or college degrees. Identify your niche and apply. For example, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation awards scholarships to low-income women who are 35 years old or older who can articulate how higher education would benefit them. The Elisabeth Bascom Scholarship is specifically for Latin American women seeking a degree in botany. FORMUJER, Bolivia is a scholarship program for Bolivian women with a low-income background. Regardless of your ethnic background, income level or interest of study there is most likely a scholarship for you.
Find an Extra Curricular Activity
If you are currently in high school, plan ahead by finding an extra curricular activity in which you excel and really cultivate that skill. Sports, art, music, drama are just a short list of activities you can try out. The competition is intense for these types of scholarships, but again the answer is to find your niche. As a woman, excel in something that is usually male-dominated and you’ll get noticed. You may not remember Erin Reinhardt. She went to the University of California at Berkley in 2002 and didn’t pay a cent for her education. Why? In high school she could pull 2,000 meters on a rowing machine, a number few other girls in the country could match. Sports requiring upper body strength are traditionally male-dominated. The University of California picked up on her abilities and offered her a full-paid scholarship.
Scholarships for women are plentiful, but many times women hinder themselves by not specifically defining what they want. Sometimes we’re afraid we may get overlooked if we take something off the table. However, defining your search parameters, identifying your demographic and being specific about what you want to study can help you navigate the scholarship arena. Most of all, think outside the box. Look for careers that need you, a woman, to help close the gender gap.