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College Bound Scholarships for English Language Learners
Getting into college is a pressure like no other. I would know; I applied to 10 of them. In addition to the anxiety attacks that literally sprout from sitting and waiting for acceptances and, inevitably, rejections, there’s the stress of actually building an application. Think about it; an application consists of not only your high school transcript, but also an essay, specific essay questions, recommendation letters, financial statements, etc. – which all together translate into a long to do list. The thing is, the checklist doesn’t end there. It’s one thing to worry about filling in applications and waiting for the universities’ responses, but the average person venturing into higher education has one more issue to take care of: scholarships.

Scholarships aka. ‘money-that-we-all-really-need-because-college-is-expensive’ are an entity that most college applicants and students are familiar with. Now, what people that don’t petition for scholarships fail to understand is that it is basically an entirely independent application from that of general university applications, although quite similar in length and in need for dedication (unfortunately). Long story short, it’s double the work. Now, let’s be hypothetical for a second and imagine that we can’t just apply for any scholarship, but instead we have to apply for a very specific sector in the scholarship industry; life would seem even harder wouldn’t it? Well, that’s the life of a prospective ESL/ELL college student applying for grants. If that’s you reading this I promise it won’t seem so hard after you finish this article.

There are dozens- no, hundreds of scholarships offered particularly for English language learners. Of course, like in everything, there are a few select ones that are considered the most helpful, honorary, and magical, a trifecta of qualities that should also be present in their applicants if they are to be considered strong contenders. If you work hard enough and bid for multiple of these you might reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

First up is the ANU Cultural Awareness Grant for ESL Studies:
  1. Amount of money they’re willing to award: $4,000 USD
  2. Requirements: Has to be an international student, not sponsored by their embassy or another office of the same nature. For an additional $500 USD per term, the applicant must be already enrolled in an ESL program at his/her intended school.
  3. Who sponsors it? English Language Institute of American National University
  4. Link: http://anusa.orgsync.com/Grants


Besides this renowned grant, the Communicate and Connect Scholarship Essay Contest is a great choice for the creative minds with outstanding penmanship:
  1. Amount of money they’re willing to award: $3,000 USD
  2. Requirements: Applicant must be an ESL high school graduate, must be on the path to enrolling into a full time US college, hold a student visa or citizenship, must have submitted a 500 word essay on the ways English has improved his/her life into the contest.
  3. Who sponsors it? Rosetta Stone
  4. Link: http://pr.rosettastone.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=228009&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1273949


Thirdly comes the International Doorway Academic Scholarship Program, a recognized institution that has acted as a facilitator for international students pursuing US college education for years:
  1. Amount of money they’re willing to award: up to $10,000 USD
  2. Requirements: Must be an international student, hands-on and eager attitude towards learning!
  3. Who sponsors it? The program itself.
  4. Link: http://www.internationaldoorway.org/academic.php


And last, but not least stands the Jane and David Falk ESL Scholarship:
  1. Amount of money they’re willing to award: $2,000 USD
  2. Requirements: Applicant must be enrolled in a non-credit ESL program at his/her intended school, a 2.5+ GPA, participates in community service activities, displays financial needs.
  3. Who sponsors it? The Westchester Community College Foundation
  4. Link: https://sunywcc.academicworks.com/opportunities/2539


Now, I know what you’re thinking: “but these are only four of them…” Yes, these are only four of the numerous scholarship possibilities that are available, but what is so special about these is that they are open for virtually anyone from an ELL/ESL background. Many of the grants offered are specially targeted towards people from Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Asian, etc. descents, so the fact that these are open to anyone, from anywhere is, as mentioned before, magical. These four also serve as a great starting point, and, if you wish to pursue even more scholarships, then all you have to do is research away and find the ones that fit your needs.

Oh and one more thing to remember: regardless of which college you attend, once you are there, the language all around you will sound different than what you learned in your own country. It’s never too soon to prepare for this. Find a partner to practice with in your target country on www.LRNGO.com, and learn the sounds of the language where you are going using free resources like https://www.lrngo.com/american-english-sounds


Photo Credit: Geralt
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