It's probably not a newsflash that women are still largely outnumbered by their male counterparts in science and engineering.
What might be news: More colleges and employers are making it a priority to get women into STEM fields—and they're making financial investments to back that up. That means there are ever-growing options for female students who are hunting for scholarships. Here's how to find that sweet "free money" to help fund your STEM education.
In this article we'll talk about:
- General scholarships for women in STEM
- Scholarships for women in science
- Scholarships for women in engineering
- STEM and science scholarships for high school seniors
- Scholarships for female graduate students in STEM fields
- How to find STEM scholarships for female students
- Winning STEM scholarship strategies
See also: 45 Scholarships for LGBTQ Students
We know you're here for the scholarships, so we'll get right to them! Just be sure to scan down to the end of this article to read up on tips to find even more scholarships.
And away we go ...
Let's start with some featured options from Nitro's Scholarship Database:
Additional scholarships for women in general STEM studies
Here are three scholarships without an essay requirement:
- The Science Ambassador Scholarship is awarded to the female STEM student who creates a winning three minute YouTube video on the STEM subject of her choosing. Offered by the makers of Cards Against Humanity, the scholarship covers a full ride at the winner's chosen college or university. Additional partial scholarships are also offered.
- The federal Department of Defense offers a number of scholarships including the SMART Scholarship for STEM students, which covers all tuition, a living stipend, opportunities for summer research internships and a job in the Department of Defense after graduation. Students of all academic levels are eligible to apply.
- Human Resources company PayScale sponsors a Women in STEM Scholarship for female high school seniors.
Also, check out these five general STEM scholarships with an essay requirement:
- The BHW Scholarship offers $3,000 to the winning STEM student who pens an essay about their favorite app, offered by tech firm The BHW Group in Austin, Texas.
- Scholarship America’s Dream Award offers renewable scholarships to sophomores, juniors and seniors who demonstrate financial need. Scholarships are available specifically for STEM students in addition to general scholarship funds. Awards range from $5,000 to $15,000 and students who are part of the DACA program are eligible to apply along with U.S. citizens.
- STEM students willing to write an essay on one of three topics could win a $1,000 scholarship or one of two $250 textbook scholarships by applying for the BluePay STEM Scholarship.
- Children of workers in mechanical or construction industries as well as students studying in a STEM field are encouraged to apply for the VOLT Lighting STEM Scholarship Competition. Applicants must write an essay for a chance to win $500.
- Those with a genius idea for using drones to help the environment could win a $500 scholarship from Dronethusiast.com for submitting a one-page essay.
For students in the sciences, there are plenty of options under the general sciences umbrella, but also for specific fields like physics, geology, biology and others.
The Nitro Scholarship database has several options tailored specifically to female science majors:
Women in engineering should also consider applying for scholarships through the Society of Women Engineers or SWE (and join your campus chapter, while you're at it!). The organization awards dozens of scholarships each year to women in engineering, engineering technology and computer science for up to $15,000. Graduate students can also apply.
Ten winners are selected for scholarships up to $10,000 through the Palantir Women in Technology Scholarship. Applicants must be women pursuing degrees in computer science, engineering or technical studies.
The best time to apply for scholarships is while you're still in high school.
While many scholarships are available to any student in higher education, some are only available for students in certain years or who are pursuing certain degrees. These tend to be targeted specifically at incoming college freshmen.
Yes, there are plenty of options in future school years. But if you're hoping for scholarships to help pay for school, applying in high school will give you the greatest odds of success.
Here are some options for high school seniors both on the Nitro database, as well as through independent organizations:
Girl Scouts take note: your scouting makes you eligible for a whole host of scout-specific scholarships, some of which are targeted at STEM students and many for students in any major.
Don't let the number of scholarships for freshmen dissuade you; if you're pursuing your master's degree or PhD in a STEM field you also have lots of options available to help foot the tuition bill.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled not only for scholarships targeted specifically at graduate students, but also any student within higher education.
Below are some options from our Nitro College Scholarship Database:
In addition, both undergraduate and graduate STEM students are eligible to apply for a $1,000 from RevPart.
Start your search in a robust scholarship database, but definitely check search engines as well—new scholarships come online all the time.
Start with the most obvious search: women in STEM. Make sure to vary the terms of each search to include "science and engineering" in addition to "STEM" and try substituting "female" for "women" in your searches as well.
Also, don't just limit your search to scholarships for women in STEM.
Scholarships that are geared toward all STEM students may mean that more people competing for the same prize, but as a woman, your underrepresented status in the field makes you a more competitive and appealing candidate to scholarship committees.
And remember: most scholarships are offered annually. If you're interested in one but the deadline has already passed, make a note in your calendar to check it out next year.
And if you're a competitive student, don't just limit yourself to your major when searching. You never know—your hobby, your sport or even your local Rotary club might earn you a scholarship you hadn't even considered.
Anytime you're doing a scholarship search, it's important to do some soul-searching about what makes you unique and competitive as a scholarship applicant.
In 2018, STEM scholarships for females are everywhere, but so are the students applying. To stand out in the crowd, go deeper and find a way to convey your individuality.
Are you a good writer? A lot of STEM students tend to be better at math than English and language skills. If you feel confident about your ability to turn a phrase, keep an eye out for scholarship opportunities that require essays.
(Need some help getting started? Check out: How to Start a Scholarship Essay)
What else makes you unique? Your heritage? Your church or lack thereof? Your culture? Your artistic talents? Your resume of service to your community?
Whatever it is, feature that information in your application and search for scholarships that are specifically geared to your individual characteristics.
Lastly, more than anything, make sure you apply! Deadlines come and go and it can be easy to prioritize other more pressing issues like college applications and schoolwork. (And let us repeat: If a deadline has passed, mark you calendar to apply next year. Many scholarships are offered annually.)
So make sure to carve out the time to apply to as many scholarships as you can.