Known as the SOP, our office advises competitive undergraduate UC Irvine candidates in applying for 15 prestigious, nationally or internationally-competitive merit scholarships, all funded by outside agencies. Our staff manages the campus-level application evaluation and endorsement (nomination) processes for 11 of these scholarships (students cannot apply directly to the funding agency).
Our staff perform outreach to students; advise students on application processes; provide content advice and editorial suggestions for statements of purpose, research or creative project proposals, personal statements and Curriculum Vitae; present workshops; facilitate campus-level candidate evaluation committees and convene mock interviews to prepare finalists for national competitions.
Students who win these prestigious scholarships or fellowships have outstanding academic records as well as other distinctive accomplishments. Some scholarship programs look for evidence of leadership on campus or in the larger community. Often winners have established their credentials by engaging in and successfully completing a substantial intellectual or creative project. Strong, detailed faculty letters of recommendation are essential; to get this level of support, students must develop an academic relationship with faculty outside the classroom.
It takes time and effort to build the sort of college career that a successful application reflects. We urge students to prepare for these awards early by building relationships with faculty whose work interests you; pursuing research, community service, and leadership opportunities; and documenting these interests – in the form of a Curriculum Vitae, personal statement, proposal for future study/research, and faculty letters of recommendation.