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  • Jean O'Toole

Scholarship Strategy that Builds Your Future Professional Network

Private scholarships from companies, organizations and foundations are created and awarded for several reasons. Awards may be created to have impact on the future of a professional industry. Some other scholarships are designed to align with their corporate or organizational mission. Others many even be created and promoted to build brand awareness. Scholarships can, therefore, have multiple benefits for the awarding company or organization. It is these reasons why more private scholarships are created every year. Many students, who are pursuing scholarships, fail to recognize the multiple networking benefits they can also receive beyond the monetary award.

Benefit #1: Learn what organizations are available to support you in your chosen field.

Many organizations and foundations are formed to provide education, support, professional networking opportunities and internships within a specific industry. Many professional organizations offer multiple scholarships at multiple education levels. Regardless of where you are in your education journey, learning about the organizations and foundations in your future professional industry can open doors to internships, jobs, mentors and of course scholarships. If you are clear about the field that you want to professionally pursue, research related organizations.

Examples of scholarships from organizations or foundations are:

Joseph James Morelli Legacy Foundation. This scholarship is open to high school seniors and students attending technical school, community college or undergraduate programs with a demonstrated learning disability. The applicant must be pursuing a STEM related degree. Awards of up to $2500. Deadline is March 17th. For more information visit

American Nuclear Society Scholarships. Open to graduating high school seniors, undergraduate, graduate, community college and trade school students pursuing nuclear engineering. Awards of up to $3500. Deadline is April 1st. For more information, visit

Bill and Shireen Kirk Scholarship Fund. This scholarship is open to junior and senior undergraduate, graduate or doctorate students pursuing programs in business, chemistry, civil engineering, construction management, marketing or sales. This scholarship is awarded through the Asphalt Institute Foundation. Applicants can be from any US state but preference will be given to residents of FL, GA, KY, MD, NJ, NY, NC, PA, SC, TN, VA or WV. Award amounts vary. Deadline is February 15th. For more information visit

Benefit #2: Learn more about the companies in your chosen field.

When companies sponsor a scholarship, they generally include information about what they value. A deeper understanding of the values of any company within your future professional industry might give you a strategic advantage when applying for an internship or job. Many scholarships have interview components and can also provide a potential open door to connect with human resources and the hiring manager.

Examples of scholarships from companies are:

AmericanTrucks Scholarship. This scholarship is open to high school seniors or full time students at a US technical institute, 2 or 4 year college or university program in traditional building trades including carpentry, HVAC, electrical or related fields of study. Certificate programs are eligible. All students ages 18+ are able to apply. Award is $2500. Deadlines are October 15th and June 15th. For more information visit

Tourism N Travel Small Business Scholarship. This scholarship is open to high school seniors, 2-year and 4-year college students as well as vocational students majoring in hospitality, tourism, aviation, business, economics or finance and have an interest in starting their own business. US, Canadian, United Kingdom, Australian and New Zealand residents can apply. Award of $2000. Deadline is December 15th. For more information visit

Save a Life Scholarship. This scholarship is from the American Academy of CPR and First Aid. It is open to high school seniors or current college students pursuing or planning to pursue careers in either healthcare or education. The award is $1500 and deadlines are May 1st and October 1st. For more information visit

Benefit #3: Build strategic connections with fellow scholarship seekers who you are not competing with for an award.

A significant number of private scholarships are offered for students at varying levels of education. It would serve students at various levels of education to collaborate together to find more opportunities for one another. For example, a high school senior, who knows they want to pursue engineering, should connect with an undergraduate engineering student as well as a graduate engineering student. This can be easily done through referrals from the alumni and admissions departments at colleges and universities. The high school student may find a scholarship that is only open to graduate engineering students. The undergraduate student may find an opportunity only open to graduating high school seniors. The graduate student may find an opportunity that is only for rising junior and senior undergraduate students. By sharing information, each student will find more opportunities faster and may build a relationship that can serve in their future professional career.

Examples of scholarships open students of various education levels:

AES Engineering Scholarship. This scholarship is open to high school seniors as well as current college students pursuing any field of study. Award is $500. Deadline is October 5th. For more information visit

Art of Protest Grant for Black Students. This scholarship is for a Black student of any education level who is furthering a protest or social change through any form of visual art, The student must be attending a school or educational institution in the US. The deadline is September 15th and the award is $900. For more information visit

Don’t Text & Drive Scholarship. This scholarship from the Law Offices of Matthew J Quinlan is for high school seniors, college and graduate students, who are 24 years old or younger. Deadlines are September 15th and March 15 each year. This is not a needs based scholarship. Award is $1000. Promotion points on Facebook and Twitter. For more information visit

Reducing educational expenses, may be the common reason to start a scholarship pursuit. Embracing all the benefits of the private scholarship opportunities could yield financial rewards from establishing a professional network for many years to come in the future.


Jean O’Toole is an educational consultant and author of the bestselling book, Scholarship Strategies Finding and Winning the Money You Need. Over the past 15 years, she has helped tens of thousands of students in the United States. Individuals collectively have been awarded millions of dollars by applying her scholarship strategies. In 2008 she co-founded Connections101, a company specializing in providing motivational tools for scholarship searching. It is her goal to empower students to design their paths to their future without college debt. For more information about Jean, visit


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