Grace Hopper Celebration Scholarship Application Tips — How I got selected.
Last October, I got a chance to attend the world’s largest gathering of women in technology, Grace Hopper Celebration ( GHC ) at Orlando, Florida. To be a part of this huge celebration of women in tech with around 25,000 attendees from all over the world was overwhelming and inspiring at the same time. If you don’t know about this conference, check it out here: https://ghc.anitab.org/
The most amazing part about my experience was that it was free. AnitaB.Org, the organizer of GHC offers scholarships to female students from all around the world and I was one of them in 2019. Even if you aren’t in the United States, no need to worry because once you’re selected, AntiaB.org gets you covered with all the expenses (registration, flight, hotel accommodation, visa fees). In this article, I’ll tell you how you can prepare a strong application and increase your chances of getting this scholarship.
- Make it personal/unique:
When you write about something that’s personal to you, it will help the reader know that you are true. It also shows your passion and genuineness. No one is going to judge you, so this is your chance to express your story. Everyone has a unique background. Be it the computer science club that you created in high school or how you helped your mother to use cellphone, think of what you’ve done that makes you different. This doesn’t have to be something big. It can be anything that shows your passion. When you know your background, it aids in coming up with a genuine intro to your application.
2. Determine your objective:
One of the questions asked in the scholarship application is “Why you want to attend GHC?”. No one can tell you why you want to attend the conference. You are the one who knows it best. However, I can give you some ideas as to why you might want to attend GHC: -
a) You are one among few females pursuing CS at your school and you feel out of place. It could be your first ever chance to attend a conference catered to women in tech.
b) You might be from a small school where big companies don’t come for career fairs. So, the career fair at GHC might be a huge opportunity to connect with the recruiters and land an internship/full-time offer.
c) You love tech but you aren’t sure what exactly you want to do. So, you are looking for mentors. GHC could be a good place to network with people and find a mentor.
Think about why you want to attend GHC and why it would mean a lot for you to attend this conference.
3. What after GHC?
Another question asked in the application is “How your experience at GHC will impact not just you but others in your community?”. All of AnitaB’s efforts are to uplift as much women as possible who are interested in tech and increase their number. You need to give them this trust in your application that you will create an impact as a GHC scholar in your community. You’ll motivate other girls into applying for/attending the conference. The networks that you build through GHC will help you create opportunities for others.
You need to show this in your application that your acceptance at GHC is not just connected to you but will create a ripple effect on other women in your locality/school/country who are skeptical of their capabilities due to lack of opportunities. Here you can talk about how you will help others through your experience.
4. Be Clear and Concise
Although I knew what my objectives and goals were, I was struggling with coming up with the perfect application because of the word limit. With restriction of 200 words for each question, it becomes tough to prioritize your points. When you have so much to say but you have to do it in a few words, you tend to get anxious. So, it’s best to discuss just one or two points and elaborate them. That way your application will be clear and detailed.
Don’t just list all the reasons why you want to attend GHC or of all the things that you will do after the conference. Pick a few that are of highest significance to you which reflect your background, experiences, objectives and most importantly sound genuine.
5. Trust in yourself and don’t give up
The most important thing that you need to know is to be confident in yourself. When you don’t trust in your potential, you won’t be able to think of the amazing things you can do. Remember that AnitaB is not concerned if your resume has a list of experiences at big companies or if you come from a well reputed school. Trust me, I had none. The thing I like most about this organization is that they’ll help you irrespective of your school background or work experience. They want to know your unique story and that’s what you should present in your application.
While this scholarship is quite competitive, clarity and authenticity regarding your background and objectives in your application will definitely increase your chances. Also, it’s okay if you don’t get selected once, apply it every year and you will definitely succeed. In addition to AnitaB.org, there are other companies like Google, Microsoft that sponsor GHC registrations and even flights, accommodations to students. So, there are definitely tons of opportunities. Please make every effort to attend this conference. You’ll come back with abundant memories, meaningful connections, and lots of inspiration.
If you’ve made it till the end of this article, THANK YOU! There will be more posts about the perks of attending Grace Hopper Celebration, tips for first- timers and other tech articles in future. Stay Tuned and cheers to Women in Tech! :D