Scholarship FAQ

When can I apply for scholarships?

Applicants and Incoming Students
Applications for incoming freshmen typically open in mid-November and have deadlines in early February. During that time, you should visit My Scholarships to match and apply for scholarships. Also check your campus email for more detailed information about scholarship opportunities that are available to you.You can apply for scholarships as soon as you receive your NetID and password (activating your NetID), which can be activated as soon as you receive the 10-digit campus ID on your submission confirmation letter from Admissions. Do not wait until you have been accepted to the University. If you are having issues with your NetID login, contact the DoIT Help Desk at 608-264-HELP.Continuing Students
Applications for scholarship opportunities for continuing students can be open at any time, so visit the My Scholarships site often to check for new scholarship matches and apply for scholarships.Contact your department to find out more about scholarship opportunities and check your campus email for announcements about open applications. Our comprehensive online listing includes general information about application dates for some scholarships.

How do I apply for scholarships?

Applicants and Incoming Students
The scholarship process at UW-Madison is highly competitive. Pay close attention to criteria and application questions when completing your application. Essays should be thoughtful and carefully written. The UW-Madison Writing Center often holds workshops on writing essays if you need assistance.As you might be aware, there is not one single application for scholarships, but many different applications for many different scholarships, and those applications can have different opening dates and deadlines.You can apply for most scholarship opportunities using the My Scholarships site. My Scholarships uses your student data to match you up with scholarship opportunities that you may be eligible for and are currently accepting applications. You can then complete and submit applications online.Most programs on the UW-Madison campus use My Scholarships to accept applications, but there are still some programs that have a different process, so please be sure to contact your school, college, or department if you are unsure. See our Other Resources page for additional funding sources on campus, as well as a list of trusted national search websites.

How will I be notified of scholarship decisions?

Awardees will be notified by the organization managing the scholarships (CALS), usually by email. If awarded a scholarship, your overall need-based Financial Aid award may need to be adjusted. You are required to report additional aid to the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Are international students eligible for CALS scholarships if they can’t fill out a FAFSA?

We have many types of scholarships affiliated with our college. It is true that international students are not able to fill out a FAFSA.Some of our scholarships are for students who demonstrate financial need, while other scholarships are not. Without a FAFSA, you will not be able to be considered as an applicant for “need based” scholarships. You will be eligible for all of the other scholarships CALS has to offer.

Should graduate students fill out the CALS scholarship application?

Graduate students in CALS should fill out the CALS Scholarship Application. Graduate awards are often made at the department level. However, the information we will be able to acquire in the application process will better assist the departments in making their recipient decisions.

What determines standing for CALS Scholarships?

For scholarship evaluation we synthesize information from different sources. Your information in Scholarships@UW-Madison contains: your application which includes your profile information, your financial information as reported to us from the Office of Student Financial Aid, and your academic information from ISIS.Our policy for CALS scholarship consideration is to use credits to determine standing.

What is the average scholarship award size in CALS?

The average scholarship award size for our college is approximately $1,500 for the academic year.

When are scholarship awards made?

The CALS Scholarship Application usually closes at midnight of the first Tuesday in February. We will use the month of February to evaluate all of the applicants.Awards will be made in two rounds, one in the month of March and one in the month of April.

Please keep in mind that the average scholarship award size for our college is approximately $1,500.

What do scholarship opportunities in CALS consist of?

  1. Our CALS Scholarship application is from late October to early February for the following academic year. You may access the CALS application found at Scholarships @UW-Madison through your student center. By filling out this one application, you will be eligible for all awards we offer. We will match your application information to our donors’ scholarship criteria and will begin our process of evaluating students and make selections as soon as the application closes in early February. Please remember these awards are for the next academic year. Scholarships @UW-Madison – access through your student center.
  2. The following link is where we post opportunities that come to us that are not part of the Common Scholarship Application. Sometimes organizations like for us to help spread the word about their awards. These awards change periodically as we become aware of them.
  3. We also recommend exploring the following websites. These are suggestions offered by the Office of Financial Aid.
  4. We do have students who have found success by approaching local organizations to inquire about scholarship opportunities. Scholarships have been awarded from: FFA Chapters, churches, Lyons Club, Kiwanis Club, American Red Cross, and Knights of Columbus.

 

May I have an extension to make a decision?

We will be able to extend your response deadline to April 14th. If you choose not to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we would like to know as soon as possible, so we can reallocate the scholarship to a student who plans to enroll in a major in CALS. Please keep us informed of your decision and good luck.

What kind of paper should my thank you note be on?

Students submit their thank you notes in a variety of ways. Some type and print them on regular paper. Some hand-write them on note cards. Others write them on stationary and include a picture. For whatever method you choose, please make sure to include the proper content.

I am planning to graduate in December. Should I still accept the award?

Yes. Your enrollment for the spring will be verified in December. If you are not registered for classes, you will receive an e-mail from the scholarship director asking what your intentions are for the spring semester. At that time, the spring allocation will be cancelled. You must be enrolled for the semester at the time the allocation is given.

What other scholarship opportunities exist for my student?

Here are a few resources to consider when exploring other scholarship opportunities.

  1. The following link is where we post opportunities that come to us that are not part of the Common Scholarship Application. Sometimes organizations like for us to help spread the word about their awards. These awards change periodically as we become aware of them.
  2. This link can help you explore campus-wide and national awards through the Undergraduate Academic Awards Office in the Office of the Provost. The timeline of these awards vary and often require letters of recommendation and personal statements.
  3. We also recommend exploring the following websites. These are suggestions offered by the Office of Student Financial Aid. You may also wish to contact a Financial Aid Counselor to specifically discuss your situation at 608-262-3060.
  4. We do have students who have found success by approaching local organizations to inquire about scholarship opportunities. Scholarships have been awarded from: FFA Chapters, churches, Lyons Club, Kiwanis Club, American Red Cross, and Knights of Columbus.

Will someone be able to pre-screen my thank you note?

Thank you letters from students to donors are approved as long as the “Thank You Note Guidelines” document from the offer e-mail was read and followed.It would be a very good idea for you to have someone proof your thank you note for grammar, spelling, and content before sending it to us. By including the needed information from the guidelines and an additional proof read on your end, you can feel confident that once sent, your letter will be approved. We will not be pre-screening student thank you notes in our office due to the volume of letters we receive.

Where can I find the thank you note guidelines…donor…save the date information?

You are still able to view everything pertaining to your award offer, including the greeting for your donor and document downloads, by following the directions below.Please go into your student center. Link to Scholarships@UW-Madison. Click on the tab “My Awards.” Next click on button for “Review Acceptance.” Save your Award Confirmation Report. Your information will be downloaded into a PDF. Open the PDF and scroll though the information regarding your award offer. If you scroll all of the way to the bottom you will find the “Thank You Note Guidelines” and “Save the Date” documents as well.

Why does the application close so early?

The scholarship application closes in early February for the following reasons.Initial CALS awards go out in mid-March, so students who are making decisions regarding which University they would like to attend have as much financial information as possible as early as possible to assist them in making their decision.

With close to 1500 applications, each one needs to be evaluated on an individual basis in several categories so we can match the best possible students to the donors’ criteria. This takes a few weeks. There are over 100 fields of information to evaluate for each student.

We also ask departments to evaluate students who receive departmental nominations for their awards, and they need the list of students who have applied for scholarships along with the information that the application provides. At that time of semester, they need time to plan and coordinate their department’s scholarship committee so their evaluations can take place.

We then give out a second round of awards in mid-April with the scholarship funds declined by students who have decided not to attend the UW or who have transferred out of CALS. This maximizes the amount of funds we can allocate to the students who have applied for CALS scholarships.

This must all be done by mid-April so students who need have all of the information they need to decide on their admission status by May 1.

It is a very involved process and our office is extremely busy from early February through May 1st.

Who do I address my thank you note to? (where is the address)

Because we are screening the thank you notes for content and quality in our office before we send them in aggregate to donors with our college’s cover letter, you should address your thank you note to the donor representative to your award: Mr or Mrs. LastName. Students will not be directly mailing thank you notes to donors. We would like to receive the original note and on copy in 166 Ag Hall within two weeks of your acceptance.

When will my award show up as part of my financial aid package?

Your scholarship information will not show up in the financial section of your student center until I forward scholarship recipient information to the Financial Aid Office and the Bursar’s Office. I will not be sending any of this information forward until mid-June at the earliest as the next academic year starts with the beginning of the summer term.I run Bursar’s Office and Financial Aid Office scholarship information through in cycles: once in June, once in July, and once in August. If your 2 scholarship requirements are completed, and you are registered for full-time enrollment in CALS for the fall, your information will likely be forwarded in the mid – June cycle.

May I ask to be reconsidered for a CALS scholarship?

CALS scholarship allocations are basically completed by mid-May for the following academic year. There are a few other awards that trickle in from department nominations throughout the summer. With over 1,500 applicants for the scholarships funds we had available this year, it was a very competitive process.The scholarship committee and I work diligently to match students and their attributes to donor criteria. The caliber and number of students in consideration of scholarships change on an annual basis, and that is why students must apply every year. There is no guarantee that students who receive a scholarship one year will receive one the next.

If you have had things change for you recently in terms of financial support, I advise you to get in touch with the Financial Aid Office to speak with a Financial Aid Counselor. They are more than willing to meet with students to provide advice and assistance in any way possible. They do ask that you call to make an appointment as opposed to dropping in.

I have other resources you can consider in exploring other scholarship opportunities.

  1. The following link is where we post opportunities that come to us that are not part of the Common Scholarship Application. Sometimes organizations like for us to help spread the word about their awards. These awards change periodically as we become aware of them.
  2. This link can help you explore campus-wide and national awards through the Undergraduate Academic Awards Office in the Office of the Provost. The timeline of these awards vary and often require letters of recommendation and personal statements.
  3. We also recommend exploring the following websites: http://finaid.gov http://fastweb.com These are suggestions offered by the Office of Student Financial Aid. You may also wish to contact a Financial Aid Counselor to specifically discuss your situation at 608-262-3060.
  4. We do have students who have found success by approaching local organizations to inquire about scholarship opportunities. Scholarships have been awarded from: FFA Chapters, churches, Lyons Club, Kiwanis Club, American Red Cross, and Knights of Columbus.

 

How does my scholarship get allocated?

For the academic year, you received a CALS Scholarship Award. The award allocation is split between two semesters: 50% for Fall and 50% for Spring.Once your fall allocation is sent to the Bursar’s Office, the Office of Student Financial Aid then reviews the scholarship information to make any necessary adjustments to your overall financial package. This process takes approximately 10 business days.

Once both offices finish their review, your scholarship information will be posted in your student center in the financial area. You should see a “CALS Scholarship” amount that has been applied to your fees for that semester. (The scholarship will not be specifically named.) The remaining portion of your award will be posted sometime in early December for your Spring semester.