Applying for Scholarships and Fellowships

Themes/Topics: Higher Education

Geography: California, National

Audience: Educator, Undocumented Youth

Scholarships and fellowships are a great way to pay for college tuition and other expenses, as well as gain professional development experience. You might wonder, what’s the difference between a scholarship and a fellowship?

Scholarships are generally funds for students attending educational institutions for the purpose of study at the undergraduate or graduate level. They can be awarded based on merit, financial need, grades, community service, major, class level, city or county of residence, and more.

Fellowships are generally funds for students (or non-students) for the purpose of professional or career development. They can support a variety of things, including study in a specific field, research to advance work on a particular issue, development of a new community-based organization or initiative, training to support a fellow’s growth, opportunities to further explore a particular field of work, and more.

Invest in Yourself

Taking the time to develop a strong scholarship or fellowship essay is a huge investment in yourself! Being able to speak about your accomplishments, aspirations and future goals allows others to see your value and support your dreams.

The benefit of scholarships and fellowships can hugely outweigh the time and labor required from you! Imagine an award is worth $1,000. If you spend 10 hours writing an essay and submitting the application, being selected could result in earning $100 for every hour you invested.

Furthermore, fellowships can provide you with valuable leadership and professional development experience. Think of them as excellent opportunities to explore career fields, while developing your skills and building networks to support your academic and professional goals.

Most scholarships and fellowships have similar prompts, so you can rework the same essay for each application you submit. Use our Scholarship or Fellowship Essay Worksheet to improve your essays and your ability to receive multiple awards.

Getting Started

There are many scholarships and fellowships that do not require proof of citizenship. Use Immigrants Rising’s List of Scholarships and Fellowships along with additional databases to identify the ones you are eligible to apply for. Our lists have about 500 scholarships and 100 fellowships open to undocumented folks, so there’s something out there for you!

Use our Scholarship & Fellowship Search Chart to list the ones you are eligible for—including deadlines—and create an action plan today.

Additional Databases

Check out these additional databases of scholarships and fellowships available for undocumented young people:

Expand Access

Have you found other scholarships and fellowships that do require proof of citizenship or residency? Let scholarship and fellowship providers know that they are not required to ask applicants for proof of citizenship, residency, SSN, or work authorization. You can find more information in Immigrants Rising’s Overview of Grants to Individuals.

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