A Guide to Finding and Applying to STEM Scholarships

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries continue to grow quickly, but also struggle to find enough talent. Approximately 2.4 million STEM jobs went unfulfilled in 2018, according to the Smithsonian Science Education Center.

To start filling these opportunities, prospective undergraduate students have an expanding list of courses and majors to choose from. But after those decisions, they must also consider how they will finance their education.

Use the guide below for tips on how to organize scholarship applications, write a personal statement, and get access to more than 25 STEM-focused scholarship opportunities.

5 Steps to Help Manage Scholarship Applications

For students applying to multiple scholarships, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by differing deadlines and requirements. These five organizational steps could help applicants manage those logistics.

1. Gather the essentials

Most applications share some basic submission requirements. At the beginning of your search, make sure you have:

❑ An updated resume or CV
❑ A copy of your most recent transcripts
❑ Contact information and permission from references

You might need to adjust or edit some of these depending on the specific opportunity. For example, some applications might require you to request official transcripts from your school.

2. Organize and track details

Managing multiple applications simultaneously means keeping different deadlines, requirements and contact information clear. Create a spreadsheet or use a notebook to document the basics of each application and your progress. Consider including the following sections:

❑ Application name and a link to the source
❑ Point of contact
❑ Final submission deadline
❑ Required materials
❑ Next steps to complete
❑ Date you submitted, once applicable

Make a system that works best for you and helps you stay on top of your progress and what is left to complete.

3. Write flexibly

Some required materials, like personal statements or cover letters, can take longer because they require more customization. To save time, especially when making multiple submissions, write a base version of these documents that can be modified to fit each application.
For example, a section of your cover letter might highlight what you learned as a volunteer. The base version can include basic information about the experience:

“My summer volunteering at a local coding camp for elementary school students helped me practice [ _____ ] and [ _____ ].”

And the customized versions can include select skills that are most relevant to the application in progress.

“My summer volunteering at a local coding camp for elementary school students helped me practice patience and problem-solving from new angles.”

4. Double-, then triple-check your work

Once you collect your materials, go back through the original scholarship application to confirm you’ve met all the requirements. Is every document accounted for? Does your personal statement satisfy each part of the prompt? Are your recommendation letters submitted?

When you are sure you have a complete and accurate application, it is time to submit it.

5. Make a copy of all submissions

Make and save a copy of each submitted application. This will help you keep a record of your answers and can be useful in case any discrepancies arise later. For example, if there are technical issues during submission or the reviewers have a point of clarification, you will be able to easily reference your original documents.

Writing a Personal Statement for Scholarship Applications

Many scholarship competitions will ask applicants to submit a personal statement. Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) explains that these usually fall into one of two categories: a general, comprehensive essay with a lot of freedom or a response to a specific prompt or question.

What makes a good personal statement? There is not a universal rubric and the nature of a personal statement means no two will look exactly the same. However, outstanding essays can share some qualities.

  • Honesty. While finding examples online can be helpful for brainstorming, you should never plagiarize. Additionally, you do not need to embellish your history to write a good personal statement.

  • Relevance. The story you choose to share or the angle you take to respond to a prompt should relate to the theme of the application and scholarship.

  • Insightfulness. Consider what isn’t already covered in the other parts of your application. A personal statement is an opportunity to get creative and share qualities beyond traditional metrics such as GPA and test scores.

  • Quality Writing. High-quality personal statements should be free of grammatical and spelling errors. Ask a friend or educator to proofread your work.

Additional Resources to Help Write Personal Statements

  • 12 Outstanding Personal Statement Examples, College Essay Guy
    Examples of creative personal statements and descriptions of the different components that make them successful.

  • First-Year Essay Prompts, Common App
    The 2021-2022 personal statement prompts from the Common App first-year application system.

  • Grammarly
    A browser extension that checks for spelling and grammar. It also includes more in-depth feedback about word choice and overall theme.

  • The Personal Statement, Purdue OWL
    Questions to ask yourself before beginning the personal statement, and general writing advice.

  • Personal Statement Tool, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service
    An in-depth guide and essay construction tool from the application management organization for universities in the United Kingdom.

26 STEM Scholarships

Mastersindatascience.org collected more than 25 STEM scholarships for students, including scholarships geared to underrepresented groups in STEM. Check out the opportunities below to see what you qualify for.

The scholarships below are annual opportunities, so check back again if a deadline has already passed.

STEM Scholarships for Undergraduate Students

AFCEA Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Major Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically May
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens and full-time sophomores or juniors in a four-year college or university with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. They must major in a field that meets the mission of AFCEA (cybersecurity, homeland security-related disciplines).

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Scholarships
 Up to $13,000
Deadlines: Varies
Description: The scholarship portal for ASME includes opportunities for students at varying levels who are interested in or pursuing mechanical engineering.

Employment BOOST College Scholarships
Deadlines: April 1, July 1, Oct. 1, and Jan. 1
Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled in a U.S.-based high school or college with a GPA of 3.6 or higher. Students must major or plan on majoring in business or STEM.

Google+ Scholarships
 Up to $10,000
Deadlines: Varies
Description: Scholarships from Google aimed at supporting those interested in pursuing careers in technology.

InterTech STEM Scholarships
Deadlines: Typically April
Eligibility: Applicants must be graduating high school seniors with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 who intend to study computer science at an accredited U.S. college or university.

LabRoots Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically September
Eligibility: For undergraduate or graduate students pursuing a degree in a STEM discipline at a recognized university.

Lockheed Martin STEM Scholarship
 $10,000, renewable up to three times
Deadlines: Typically April
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S citizens with a demonstrated financial need who are planning on or studying engineering, computer science or physics at an accredited U.S. four-year college or university.

National Space Club and Foundation Keynote Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically December
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens who plan to attend an accredited U.S. college or university to study a STEM field, with a particular interest in space.

NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program
 $20,000, renewable up to four years
Deadlines: Typically March
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens enrolled full time at an accredited four-year undergraduate institution with a GPA of 3.3 or higher and a certified “exceptional financial need.” Scholarship recipients are committed to two NIH service obligations.

NSHSS Foundation STEM Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically October
Eligibility: Applicants must be high school seniors or recently graduated seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a demonstrated desire to major in or pursue a STEM degree.

PixelPlex Bi-Annual STEM Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically in summer and winter
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents enrolled or accepted to a U.S. college or university in a field related to STEM, economics or business.

The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Undergraduate Scholarships
 Up to $6,000
Deadlines: Typically June
Eligibility: Applicants must be actively involved members of SNAME pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in naval architecture, marine engineering, ocean engineering or other fields directly related to the marine industry.

STEM Scholarships for Women

BHW Group Women in STEM Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically April
Eligibility: Applicants must be women pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree in STEM.

Entertainment Software Foundation Association Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically March
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens, and a woman or minority enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program at an accredited four-year college or university. They must be pursuing a degree leading to a career in computer and video game arts and sciences.

Palantir Women in Technology Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically April
Eligibility: Applicants must identify as women actively enrolled in an accredited U.S., Canadian or Mexican college or university as a freshman, sophomore or junior. They must be majoring in or planning on majoring in computer science, software engineering, or a closely related technical field.

Society of Women Engineers Scholarships
Deadlines: May for freshman, February for sophomores or above
Eligibility: Applicants must identify as female and study subjects related to careers in engineering, engineering technology and computer science at the community, undergraduate or graduate level.

Visionary Integration Professionals Women in Technology Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically April
Eligibility: Applicants must be women enrolled at, or accepted to, a two- or four-year U.S. college or university. They should be pursuing a career in computer science, information technology (IT), management information systems or related discipline.

STEM Scholarships for Students of Color

ACS Scholars Program
Deadlines: Typically March
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino or American Indian and full-time students at a high school or accredited college, university or community college. They should be pursuing a chemistry-related degree.

AfterCollege STEM Inclusion Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically June
Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled students working toward a degree in a STEM field and from a group underrepresented in their field of study. They must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

American Meteorological Society Minority Scholarships
Deadlines: Typically February
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or hold permanent resident status and members of a minority group. They should have a GPA of at least 3.0 and plan to pursue a career in the atmospheric or related oceanic and hydrologic sciences. 

EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
 Up to $45,000 over two years
Deadlines: Typically January
Eligibility: Applicants must be rising juniors at minority serving institutions as defined by the Department of Education and be majoring in a STEM field that directly supports NOAA’s mission. They must have a GPA of at least 3.2. Recipients will participate in two paid summer internship programs with NOAA.

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Scholars Program
 Varies by partner institution
Description: Recipients are selected by each NACME-partner institution. Interested applicants should contact the NACME representative at their school for deadlines and requirements. All applicants must major in engineering or computer science and have a GPA of 2.8 or higher.

National Society of Black Engineers Scholarships
Deadlines: Typically June
Eligibility: Applicants must be active NSBE members with a verified GPA in their member profile.

Novartis Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically March
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents enrolled full-time as a sophomore, junior or senior at a Thurgood Marshall College Fund member school with a GPA of at least 3.0.

Palantir Future Fellowship
Deadlines: Typically March
Eligibility: Applicants must be actively enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program and majoring in computer science, software engineering or a closely related technical field. They should identify as a member of a racial or ethnic community underrepresented in STEM. There are also additional knowledge requirements related to data structures. Recipients will participate in a fully remote six-week summer program.

Science Application International Corporation Scholarship
Deadlines: Typically March
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens and enrolled full-time seniors at a Thurgood Marshall College Fund member school with a GPA of at least 3.0. They must have a demonstrated financial need and study software engineering, data science, digital engineering or cybersecurity.