Scholarship and Fellowship FAQs

What is a merit scholarship or fellowship?

  • A scholarship is a gift of academic financial support and does not need to be repaid by the recipient.
  • Merit-based scholarships and fellowships are based on your future potential as demonstrated by your past achievements.
  • Awards can range from as small as $500 up to $50,000.

What is the difference between a scholarship and a fellowship?

  • The terms “scholarship” and “fellowship” are often used interchangeably to describe a grant or another type of funding for academic achievement.
  • More often than scholarship awards, fellowship grants will include an internship or other service commitment, often for a period of one or more years.

Who is eligible to apply for a scholarship?

  • All graduate, undergraduate, and prospective students seeking academic funding are eligible and encouraged to apply for merit-based scholarships.
  • Scholarships are highly varied and based on many different criteria determined by the organization providing the award.
  • Always read all award eligibility prerequisites carefully, and contact the program providing the scholarship with specific questions.

Where can I find information about scholarship opportunities?

  • To get you started, the University of Washington maintains a database that includes several hundred merit-based scholarship and fellowship opportunities. Access the scholarship database, which is searchable by various keywords and filters such as academic discipline, class standing, ethnicity, etc. and is continually being updated all the time.
  • The Washington Scholarship Coalition has a free scholarship database for Washington students:
  • UW Bothell offers general scholarships available to UW Bothell students twice per year. Click here for specific information about the UW Bothell General Scholarship.

When should I apply?

  • Begin locating scholarships early and apply as soon as possible.
  • Scholarships are awarded year-round and usually for the upcoming academic year. Generally, this means current sophomores and juniors should seek to apply for scholarships that are awarded to juniors and seniors. Scholarships intended specifically for graduate students usually accept applications from current seniors seeking to continue studying in a master’s or PhD program.

How do I apply for a scholarship?

  • The application process for a particular scholarship can range from simple to complex.
  • Program websites will give you valuable inside information and it is very important to read the application descriptions and instructions very carefully.
  • Some national scholarships require nomination from your academic institution. To be considered for one of these scholarships, you must go through a UW Bothell campus nomination process. Contact the Career Center if you need help with this process.

Important tips

  • Begin early. You will have to write essays, provide a resume or CV, transcripts and letters of recommendation. It takes time to collect and/or develop each of these materials. Visit the Career Center for assistance with any of these steps.
  • Fill out a Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA). The priority deadline for the University of Washington is January 15th for the next academic year.
  • Visit the Writing Center. Consultants are available to help you during all stages of writing your personal essays.
  • Apply early and often to all scholarships for which you are eligible.