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Where (and How) to Get a Nursing Scholarship

Knowing you want to become a nurse is one thing. Actually making that happen is an

entirely different ballgame. To put it plainly, nursing school isn’t cheap.

Depending on what type of nurse you aspire to become (CNA, RNA, LPN, RN, etc.), the

price tag can range anywhere from $5k to $100k per year. And that’s just tuition.

There’s also the cost of books and materials to consider.

So, what happens if you’re ambitious but don’t have the financial ability to fund

your education? Does that mean a career in nursing is out of the question? Not

necessarily. You could take out student loans or apply for grants. Or, you could try

to get a scholarship. Let’s take a closer look at the latter and see what your

options are, who is eligible to apply and how to improve your chances of being

awarded.

Where to Find Nursing Scholarships

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A simple Google search for the term ‘nursing scholarships’ should bring back several

pages of results. The problem is, not all scholarships are created equal, which

means they’re not all worth applying for. This is especially important for someone

who is short on time. To help you avoid wasting your efforts where they may not be

fruitful, here’s a list of places where you can find scholarships that are worth

your time.

(Note: The list that applies to you will depend on where you are in your education.

Feel free to skip to whichever areas apply to you and skip the ones that don’t – but

keep in mind that some resources do overlap.)

Currently in High School (or Recently Graduated)

If you are just finishing up your high school diploma or recently graduated from

high school, there are a number of great resources available to you for finding a

nursing scholarship. For instance:

Guidance Counselor – Your high school guidance counselor should be well-versed

in the various local scholarships that are available for which you might qualify.

For instance, there might be a local memorial scholarship for someone pursuing a

degree in health care. Make an appointment and ask what your options are.

Online – There are a ton of websites devoted specifically to helping students

find relevant scholarships. To save time, sort and filter by your location and your

intended major. (Here are a few sites to get you started: BestColleges.com,

Scholarships.com and Scholarship Monkey.)

Nurse Associations – Research various nurse association(s) and apply. For

instance, the American Nurses Association offers scholarships, as does the National

Student Nurses Association.

Local Organizations – Many local chapters of national organizations offer

scholarships to graduating high school seniors. This is another great reason why

asking your guidance counselor for assistance can pay off. There’s even a way you

can search by state.

National Brands – There are a surprising number of national brands that offer

scholarships for college. Scholarships.com recently compiled a list of general

scholarships, and Johnson and Johnson keeps a running tally specifically for nursing

scholarships.

Needs-Based – There are lots of scholarships available to help students based on

their situation and/or need. For instance, some are designated for first-generation

college students or students that meet certain low-income criteria. If this applies

to you, check with your guidance counselor and apply to one (or all) of them.

Niches and Specialty Groups – Finally, there are plenty of scholarships devoted

to certain niches or special groups. For example, there are Native American

scholarships or scholarships for people with a disability. Again, do some research

and check with your guidance counselor.

Currently Enrolled in College

For students already enrolled in college, finding scholarships can be a bit more

challenging, but it’s not impossible. You’ll just have to do so without the

assistance of your high school guidance counselor. Here are a few resources to help

you get started in your search:

Online – As mentioned above, there are some excellent online resources dedicated

to helping students find scholarships for which they qualify. Most allow you to

search by state, major, and even certain hobbies or special interests you may have.

Scholarships.com or Fast Web, for instance, are great places to start.

College Website – Chances are, your local college or university may have a few

scholarships available. Check their website or contact Admissions to find out.

Specific Nurse Associations – Are you interested in pursuing a certain nursing

specialty? If so, there are probably scholarships for that specific focus. For

instance, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses offers a list of scholarships and

grants right on their website.

How to Improve Your Chances

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With many applicants, obviously not everyone who applies will be awarded a

scholarship. And while the nitty gritty details of eligibility may vary scholarship

to scholarship, there are certain criteria that just about all decision-makers use

when selecting a recipient. You can improve your chances by focusing on the

following key areas:

Good Grades

Schools, organizations and businesses don’t want to invest money into a student who

won’t capitalize on it. That’s why strong academic ability is often a deciding

factor for scholarships. This applies both to high school as well as college grades.

In fact, most scholarships require a GPA of at least 3.0. Given the fierce

competition, however, the higher your grades, the better your chances.

Community Involvement

Another factor often considered when selecting someone to award a scholarship to is

his or level of involvement within the community. For example, many decision-makers

give more weight to applicants who volunteer their time. In terms of nursing

scholarships, focusing your community involvement on medical facilities – such as

nursing homes – and other health care related organizations is your best bet.

Leadership Ability

Demonstrating your ability to lead and inspire others is another great way to

improve your chances of receiving a scholarship. There are plenty of ways you can do

this. For instance, if you are in high school, heading up a group or committee can

look great on your application. For those in college or already in the workforce,

any position of leadership can be helpful.

Strong Communication Skills

Most scholarships still include a mandatory essay in order to apply. This isn’t just

to learn about your story. It’s also how they assess your communication skills. If

writing isn’t your strongpoint, have someone else proofread and edit your response

before submitting it. You may also want to spend some extra time honing that skill.

Trust us - it’ll pay off in the long run.

What did we miss? Have a great resource for nursing scholarships to share? Please

post it in the comments section below!

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