UTA Scholarship Recipients Offer Tips for Scholarship Applicants
Scholarship applications have opened on Mav ScholarShop for a new semester at the University of Texas at Arlington. For many education majors, award money has saved them thousands of dollars toward the cost of a college degree.
“Financial aid has helped me cover my entire tuition and expenses,” said Jazmin Rodriguez, a senior completing her Bachelor of Arts in Education at UT Arlington with teacher certification in early childhood – grade 6.
Of her two scholarships, UTA’s Blaze Forward has been a game changer. The program has covered 100% of her tuition each semester.
“As a first-generation student, I am extremely grateful for this grant opportunity offered to low-income students to help us pursue our careers debt free,” added Rodriguez, who plans to teach bilingual education.
Fellow Education major Nadia Dao also has zero out-of-pocket costs.
She was awarded UTA’s Presidential Scholarship, as well as the College of Education Dean’s Undergraduate Teacher Education Scholarship.
“My scholarships are extremely helpful,” said Dao. “I can be a full-time student and focus on my coursework without worrying about how I am going to afford the courses. I have the luxury of less financial stress which allows me to go above and beyond in my coursework as well as stay on track with my degree plan. I have a part-time job, but I enjoy being able to use my wages for other expenses.”
Each academic year, the university awards over $40 million in scholarship aid to students.
Eligible students can apply on Mav ScholarShop, UTA's scholarship database, at https://uta.academicworks.com/. More internal funding opportunities to help students pay for school can be viewed on the College of Education's funding page. Deadlines and eligibility criteria vary.
For students like Dao, who is completing her Bachelor of Arts in Education with teacher certification in early childhood – grade 6/ESL (English as a Second Language), strong academic performance helps. Dao added that she would “rather lose a couple of hours filling out the application and essay questions than lose the opportunity to financially support [her] educational goals.”
To help improve the likelihood of being awarded, Dao recommends other students consider scholarships aimed at a smaller population.
“One of my scholarships only considered high school seniors in my school district who were pursuing education,” she said. “Another one only considered freshmen entering UTA who were pursuing education. Applying to the scholarships that are considering a specific, narrow group of people allowed me to stand out more easily among other applicants.”
At UTA, several scholarships are specific to students pursuing degrees in education. Examples include the Dee Dee Dickerson Memorial Scholarship Endowment and the Fenton Wayne Robnett Endowed Scholarship.
Dao also suggests students submit a quality application.
“I am very passionate about grammar, so I think it is worth noting that having correct grammar and advanced vocabulary in your essay can set you apart from other applicants,” she said. “Showing your personality and passion through your responses will also make you seem more affable. If you have any experiences that you know will set you apart from other applicants, find a way to mention it.”
External scholarships can also be a useful resource.
Rodriguez was awarded Arlington I.S.D.’s Dr. Marcelo Cavazos Education Scholarship, and Dao was the recipient of the Arlington Retired School Employees Association Scholarship. Both awards are intended for Arlington graduates who plan to major in education.
For Rodriguez and Dao, both seniors who will complete clinical teaching and graduate in the spring, the money is a financial cushion.
“There is not anything you can lose from applying,” Dao continued. “I can imagine that during my last semester of college when I will be student teaching full-time with not much time left for a part-time job, my scholarships will be tremendously helpful in supporting me financially as I obtain the real-world experience necessary to get my degree and teacher certifications.”