1. What specific services do you offer to students?
Our office provides a wide range of services to students. First, we try to make students aware of the nationally- and internationally-competitive scholarships that are available, and we provide information about eligibility for these awards. Secondly, we provide extensive support to students as they work through the application process. We accomplish this goal by helping students write and revise the required written materials for applications (personal statements, project outlines, etc.), develop their resumes, and put together the most professional, and competitive, application possible. One part of this process is providing students with logistical support as well, such as obtaining transcripts, sending materials, and providing other clerical resources.
**While any student is welcome to use our website in their national fellowships and scholarships search, the services we provide are only available to alumni or students who are currently enrolled at The University of Illinois at Chicago.**
2. What national scholarship related resources are available for student use?
Students are always welcome to talk with OEF staff to discuss external fellowships and scholarships. The Director has much experience partnering with the foundations that grant these fellowships, and that experience will help her advise you about which opportunities are a good fit for you, and how you can put together the best possible application for a particular award.
We are currently revising our website so that it includes lists of fellowships and scholarships with more information on our site, as well as links to the fellowship websites themselves. We are also expanding the library of resources available in person in OEF, including printed materials and books about the application process.
3. Can all UIC students come to the OEF?
OEF serves all UIC undergraduate students and selected graduate students (those in a professional or other program not a part of the Graduate College). OEF also serves recent undergraduate alumni.
The Graduate Fellowships Office is dedicated specifically to helping UIC graduate students as they apply for scholarships and fellowships. Graduate students should contact Benn Williams at email@example.com or (312) 413-2389.
4. When should students come to OEF?
Students should come whenever they are ready to investigate the external fellowship and scholarship opportunities that are available to them. It's never too early to start!
Many fellowship applications have a long lead time, so that you need to be writing and preparing weeks, or even months, in advance of the due date. OEF is here to walk you through the entire process.
For many scholarships, you may need to position yourself by gaining key co-curricular experiences, like research and internships, over many semesters, including the summers. OEF can advise you about those too!
5. How do I make an appointment?
If you would like to make an appointment to discuss a scholarship that you are ready to apply for, or one that you have materials created for already, please call (312) 355-3380 or stop by our office in 802 University Hall.
6. Where is the OEF located?
The Office of External Fellowships is located in room 802 of the University Hall Building (UH). University Hall is located on the East Campus of UIC on Harrison Street, just off the intersection with Morgan Street.
7. What are the office hours?
Generally, OEF is open 9:00am-5:00pm, Monday through Friday. The office is open year-round, including during the summer.
It is best to make an appointment if you would like an opportunity to meet with someone one-on-one, or to sign up for an information session if you would like general questions covered in a more conversational setting with other students.
8. What kinds of scholarships does OEF deal with?
The Office of External Fellowships focuses most of our time and energy on a select group of nationally competitive scholarships (see Nationally-Competitve Awards page). This focus is due largely to the fact that many of the organizations that bestow these awards require a formal nomination or endorsement from UIC. This means that you don't apply directly by yourself but rather get nominated by UIC, and OEF coordinates this process.
In addition, OEF seeks to help students locate other awards sponsored by organizations outside of UIC, including those that provide funding for graduate and professional school, study abroad, or undergraduate education.
9. What does 'nationally competitive' mean? Or 'internationally competitive'?
When we say that a scholarship is 'nationally competitive' we mean that applicants from all across the United States are applying for the award. Similarly, an 'internationally competitive' award is open to students from around the world. Not surprisingly, this means there is a higher level of competitiveness as compared to awards that may be sponsored by local entities, such as the State of Illinois or a Chicago-based organization. In addition, these awards are generally viewed as the hardest to win, and therefore may require a substantial amount of preparatory work. While many perceive that these awards generally go to students attending elite private institutions, that is far from the whole story. UIC and many other state universities have candidates who win these prestigious awards on a regular basis, and we know that there are UIC students every year who are capable of winning them. Please see our scholarship winners news for recent award recipients from UIC.
10. Is there a particular deadline to be eligible for scholarships?
Because our office works with a variety of scholarships and fellowships, each with their own application timeline, there is no single deadline that students must meet. The golden rule is: It's never too early to start!
For example, the end of spring semester and early summer is an excellent time to come to OEF for advice and help with awards that have fall deadlines, such as the Fulbright, Rhodes, or Marshall. Students should not wait until just prior to the deadline when they, and many others, are likely to need assistance.
11. Which honor societies should I join? Are all honor societies legitimate?
As a student with strong grades, you will likely be invited to join honor societies. Most of them are legitimate organizations, but from time to time we hear about suspicious organizations offering membership for a fee that turn out to be simply scams. Honor societies with an established history at UIC have access to your overall GPA but those outside the university do not. UIC sponsored honor societies are listed on this Honors College page.
Joining an honor society may help affirm to others that you are a student in good standing; it may offer you the chance to apply for scholarships offered by the society and, if it is an honor society in your major, it may offer useful advice about the field you are going into and career-specific awards.
As a general rule, you do not look better to a graduate program, employer or scholarship competition if you are in 5 honor societies as opposed to one or two. In choosing what groups to join, consider how much they are asking you to pay and what you get from the payment. (A newsletter? A pin? An induction ceremony? The chance to compete for scholarships? Prestige?) You may also want to ask faculty and staff if the organization is well-recognized and well-respected. If the name of the honor society is unfamiliar, consider the advice on this website in evaluating whether to join:
You can also check the UIC Undergraduate Catalog for an understanding of what graduating with honors means.
12. Where do I find scholarships?
Scholarships are offered through the university and from outside sources for incoming students, continuing students, graduating seniors, and sometimes alumni. High school students applying to UIC only need to apply to the university and the designated special programs they are interested in (e.g. Honors College, GPPA, Business Scholars) to be considered for ALL scholarships available to incoming freshmen.
If you'd like to receive updates on nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships that are a fit for you, please fill out our Student Information Form.
13. What is UIC SNAP?
The UIC Scholarship and Awards Program or UIC SnAP is UIC’s portal for continuing students to apply for scholarships. If you are an undergraduate, graduate student or professional program student you are likely to find scholarships in the system that will fit you. Most UIC scholarships are live in the system in spring and the funds apply to your account the following fall. Some awards require you to write essays and submit a resume. Others may request references or other supporting material. A variety of awards are available year round. Use your UIC account to log into uic.academicworks.com to apply.
14. How can I find out more about the Guaranteed Professional Program Admission (GPPA) initiative?
The GPPA is a program available for high school students applying to UIC. If admitted, a GPPA student is guaranteed a seat in the professional or graduate college they chose in their application. More information can be found at gppa.uic.edu
15. Am I eligible to apply for scholarships?
The answer is “yes”! The more complicated part is finding that award on the right timeline. Students with all types of backgrounds: permanent residents, undocumented students, students with disabilities, non-traditional (age-wise) students, students without 3.5-4 gpa’s –it may take a bit of looking but there are options available.
16. Are there scholarships for undocumented students?
17. Are there scholarships for students with particular disabilities?
Yes, depending on the disability. UIC's scholarships contact is willing to help you with your search. Please contact Kara Holloway (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.