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Demystifying GHC Scholarship

Everything you need to know about Grace Hopper Celebration Scholarship

15 minutes

Easy

Beginner

What you will learn

Introduction to GHC and benefits of attending

Getting started with the application

How to write essays in the most effecient way

Tips to make a strong application

Who am I and what this blog is all about?

Hey everyone, my name is Anmol. I am a CSE Undergraduate student and through this blog, I'll be sharing my learnings and strategies while applying that helped me win Grace Hopper Celebration Scholarship in the second year of my college. A few months ago I had absolutely no idea what GHC is. I got to know about it through a youtube video of a past scholar. I searched more and found an amazing blog by Nikita Mallya named Living one dream at a time where she had shared her experience of her stay at Houston and summarised her journey at GHC. That blog felt like a dream. GHC Scholarship was on my bucket list from that day.

I still remember I thought that this is something way beyond my capabilities. However, here I am with the scholarship, ready to attend the Grace Hopper Celebrations. Through this blog, I'll explain the GHC Scholarship Application process and share some of the very important points that one needs to keep in mind to increase their chances of getting this super amazing scholarship. So, before starting let's understand what is GHC and what are the benefits of attending this conference.

What is GHC?

The Grace Hopper Celebration(GHC) Scholars Program provides funds for women who are either undergraduate students, graduate students, or faculty to attend Grace Hopper Celebration. Women who get selected as scholars gain access to career and academic workshops, networking opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime.

Eligibility

The Grace Hopper Celebrations have some eligibility criteria for students as written below -

  • Women
  • 18+ by September of that year
  • Full-time student Computer Science/Engineering or related fields.
  • Be able to demonstrate an interest in computing
  • Should not have been an AnitaB.org-GHC Scholar in the past year.

Benefits

Before the coronavirus pandemic GHC used to take place abroad. For this, AnitaB.org used to do all arrangements like flight tickets, visa processing fees, Hotel Accommodations, GHC Stipend, and other complimentary benefits. But for the year 2021 (the year of writing this blog), it is planned to be conducted virtually in the month of September - October. 

  • Full registration for the virtual conference
  • Exclusive scholars-only professional development workshops and career trainings leading up to GHC
  • Exclusive scholars-only premium Slack workspace access
  • Facilitated virtual networking opportunities with peers and GHC sponsors
  • Free one-year AnitaB.org premium membership - this includes a Mentorship program, career coaching webinars, plus access to an amazing library of on-demand content
  • Opportunity to apply to amazing tech jobs at organizations that value diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here, over 300 organizations will have access to your resume

The Process

I have seen and experienced that most of the students are not even aware of such scholarships. It is extremely important to be active on various platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, etc so that you are aware of all the opportunities available out there and never miss a deadline at least. So, usually, the applications for GHC opens in the month of March to May. This year i.e for 2021, the last date to apply was 12th May 2021.

Some important links -

  • Newsletter - Make sure to register to the organisation's newsletter so that you never miss any opportunities in the future
  • Scholarship Page - Here you'll find an option to submit the scholarship interest form. Fill this form and you'll get notified as soon as the next application process starts.
What is the difference between GHC and GHCI?

GHC and GHCI are different programs. GHC is the global conference whereas GHCI is the Indian version of GHC which is only open for final year students.

Application

At first, you'll need to create an account. Sign in and select student scholarship applications. You can look at the Sample Application Form to get an idea of what you are expected to include in your submission.

Few important points to keep in mind -

  • Eligibility - Read the complete guidelines and abide by the eligibility criteria given on the official website.
  • Personal details - Fill out all your personal details correctly.
  • Documents - You would be required to submit proof of your student status (College ID), Resume and an Unofficial Transcript.
  • Resume - Your resume plays a vital role in the whole application process. If you are someone in the 1st/2nd year of college, your GPA and projects would play an extremely important role. If you are a 3rd/4th year student, an internship experience would certainly add more value to your application.
While applying, if you face any issues or have some queries there is an email given which can be very useful in some cases. The people organizing GHC are all super-efficient and reply to all the queries and questions within a day or two.

Essays

This is undoubtedly the most important part of the process. Your application will be judged by the way you write these essays. In my opinion, the essays play an extremely important role (even more than your resume). The word limit is just 200 words which is quite small and so you need to make sure that you convey all your important points in these 200 words. Usually, the essay questions are the same every year. Given below are the essay questions for the year 2021.

  • Tell us why you want to attend GHC. What type of impact will being at a celebration focused on women in computing have on you? (maximum 200 words)
  • How will you share your experience at GHC with others? What type of impact will your experience at GHC have on others in your community? (maximum 200 words)

Every single applicant out there writes essays on the same topics yet only a handful of them are successful. It is really important to understand how to make your application stand out. These are some pointers which I think will really help you write good essays -

  • Truth - While writing these essays, the most important and beneficial advice that I can give you is to be truthful. No matter whatever you write, true and personal stories have a surreal impact on anyone reading them.
  • Time - You need not write these essays in a day or two. Take your time, pen down all of your thoughts, the situations you went through. The way you managed all the odds (be it socioeconomic, monetary, gender, race, disability) and overcame that. All difficulties you faced/or are facing being a woman in tech. Talk about the things which fascinate you the most about tech. The things you are most proud of yourself. You may also conclude with a quote that is very close to your heart or maybe some quote related to tech.
  • Hints - There will be some points mentioned in the form that can help you while writing your answers. Think about each and every point, relate it with yourself and share some incidents or stories of your life. While writing make sure, they leave a positive impact on the reader.
  • Personal - How attending GHC could benefit you? You may add some of your highlighting achievements and your position of responsibilities. How would you contribute to society if you win this scholarship.? I repeat again, make sure to share your own thoughts, stories/incidents to make your application strong.

 Recommendation 

You'll also need to provide at least one recommendation by a faculty member to complete the application process. At this stage, students usually have a doubt that who can be this recommender? So to clear the doubt, the recommender can be your University professor maybe under whose guidance you have done some project work. But yes, do remember the necessary condition - they need to be from your college/university.

Once you fill in the details of your professor (i.e, your professor's Name, E-Mail address, and position) they would get a mail with their initial login credentials. They'll be required to answer few details & some essay questions. You won't be able to access those questions or answers written by them. This part also plays a major role in the final decision on your application.

There are few points which I would like to share -

  • Explain GHC - Explain to them what this scholarship is all about. Then you may highlight your achievements, roles & responsibilities, some of the impactful projects that you may be a part of or anything which they can write about in their answers.
  • Explain yourself - Make sure that your recommender knows you well. In case not, then it should be your responsibility to tell them everything about yourself that they need to know.

A few more tips

There are some last few tips which I would like to give you to increase the chances of your application to be successful. 

  • Be your own reviewer first - Go through your essay answers again and again. You'll see that you are expanding the word limits. Try to limit it and remove unnecessary/repeating points. Clear the clutter and improve it.
  • Avoid grammatical errors - Check that these answers are not having any grammatical mistakes. Although the reviewers would not be checking your grammar you should still check it as it creates a good impact.
  • Ask for a review - After you finished and made sure that your answers are good to go with. Ask someone else to review it. They may be your mentor, your friend or in the best case any of the past scholars. They were in your shoes sometime before as they wrote the same answers for themselves. You may find past scholars on LinkedIn. If you want me to review your essay answers, you may drop me a message and I'll be happy to help.

I hope that you found this blog useful, ace in getting this scholarship and get to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the world's largest gathering of women technologists.

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