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Honors apprentice scholarships help defray college costs

MSUM has a number of scholarships for juniors and seniors, but one of the most helpful is the upperclassman honors apprentice scholarship. It awards students who have a GPA of 3.5 or higher with $5,000 per year for up to two years.

Along with monetary benefits, this scholarship also provides opportunities for students to work with an MSUM faculty member in the student’s chosen field. Students have done everything from researching to helping install new pieces at the campus art gallery.

The application for this scholarship has three parts. The first is a letter from a faculty member stating what the proposed apprenticeship project will be.

The second is an essay from the he or she explaining how the student will benefit and grow from the project, as well as how the project will add to the department.

The third and final part is a list of the offices the student has held and activities he or she has participated in, including volunteer work, clubs and organizations.

Five students are awarded the scholarship annually, one from each college: arts and humanities, business and industry, education and human services, social and natural sciences and the university college.

Carolyn Zehren, director of financial aid, estimates that between 35 and 45 students apply for this scholarship each year.

Reviewing the large quantity of scholarships submitted is no small job. This task falls upon a scholarship selection committee of 10 faculty members. They review all of the scholarship applications MSUM receives each year.

“That is probably one of the toughest jobs on campus,” said Denise Gorsline, dean of the university college and adviser of the honors apprenticeship program.

Zehren said that the committee scores each application using a weighted scale based upon established criteria. They then compare their scores and discuss any large discrepancies.

Essays are graded on syntax and content. Zehren said when scoring content, the committee looks at whether the student addressed and expounded upon the writing prompt.

“After reading a few essays you can sort out the fluff from the real content. You can tell what students think they should say versus what they actually believe,” Zehren said.

The deadline for the upperclassman honors apprentice scholarship is April 1.

An honors apprentice scholarship is also available to incoming freshmen. Students who receive this scholarship receive $5,000 each year for four years. These students must be in the top five percent of their high school class and have an ACT score of 28 or higher.

Zehren estimates that they receive 50 applications for the freshman scholarship each year, and the committee usually selects 10 students, based on availability.

“The upperclassman scholarship has much steeper competition,” Zehren said.

The students who are awarded the freshman scholarship usually do not begin to plan their projects until they arrive on campus in the fall.

“It’s sometimes difficult for freshmen who are starting new programs to do an apprenticeship in that program,” Gorsline said. “Everybody has such different major there’s no easy way to contact people.”

As the new adviser of this scholarship program, Gorsline would like to work on making more general contacts for students who are not yet committed to a major.

The deadline for the freshman scholarship is Feb. 1.

Other types of scholarships include access and opportunity, athletic, talent and academic. For more information about these or other MSUM scholarships, visit www.mnstate.edu/finaid/scholarships.

BY PAIGE WILLEY
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