Aviation Flight Science and Aviation Management and Operations
It is no secret that flight training is an extremely expensive decision. For some, it doesn’t seem worth it to spend so much on school. Many people (like myself) rely on pure passion to fuel our aviation endeavors. Unfortunately, passion does not pay for the flying. Many believe they shouldn’t even think about going to school for aviation because they do not believe they can afford it. I come from a middle class family and my parents are not in a position to assist me with tuition, room and board, flight fees, etc. When I was a senior in high school, I began thinking about money and if flight training at the collegiate level was possible. I knew that the only way flight training would be possible was receiving scholarships.
During my senior year of high school, I applied for as many scholarships as I could find. One in particular that stood out to me was the $25,000 Daniel L. Van Dyke Memorial Scholarship. This is an internal scholarship for the College of Aviation at Western Michigan University. This means that the scholarship is only available to students within the college. A couple weeks after applying, I was notified that I received an interview for the scholarship. I left the interview feeling great and was glad to meet faculty members from my future institution. However, after a few weeks, I was notified that I did not receive the scholarship.
Knowing that scholarships were the only way to fund my schooling, I aimed to apply for at least one new scholarship per week my senior year and over the summer. I was invited to apply for the Multicultural Leadership Scholarship (MLS) through the Division of Multicultural Affairs. After the competition, I was notified that I had received the $16,000 scholarship, which is disbursed over all four years. With the MLS scholarship and all the other scholarships I applied for, I was awarded about $30,000 for my first year at WMU, allowing me to embrace many opportunities I could have only dreamed of, including a week-long study abroad trip to Europe over spring break.
Knowing that my education and flight training didn’t stop there, I continued searching and applying for scholarships. I made the decision to re-apply for the Van Dyke Scholarship with the College of Aviation this year. Shortly after applying, I received another interview for the prestigious scholarship. I dressed up for the interview and embraced it with confidence, already having done one before. The questions were similar to the year before and towards the end of the interview, the committee told me that because they remembered me from the year before and that I have shown my devotion to my school and the industry, I had received the award.
Applying for scholarships has become routine for me and I almost consider it a hobby. I have a few tips for people in search of scholarships. First, compile an essay that works for many scholarships. I have come to realize that many scholarships (especially from aviation schools, companies, etc.) want to see the same thing from you and ask the same question. Compile a basic essay with your aviation background and goals and details with how an award will help you to obtain them. Then, tweak the essay to meet the specific requirements for the specific essay you are applying for. Next, keep a calendar of deadlines and look at it often. Deadlines can sneak up and make it almost impossible to finish the submission adequately. Lastly, if you don’t receive a scholarship one year, apply for it the next year. Often times, the committee will remember you and see your devotion to the scholarship. Who knows…you might just win $25,000.