10 Tips for a Winning Scholarship Application

Every year, Women in Aviation International (WAI) makes more than 100 scholarships available that, in total, are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Funds are provided by aviation industry supporters. The scholarships are available for multiple aviation and aerospace disciplines, for different ages, different stages of careers, and many are available to our members all over the world.

In the last 30 years, WAI has awarded more than $16 million in scholarships. We are grateful to the companies and individuals who sponsor scholarships each year and enable our WAI members to realize their dreams and further their aviation or aerospace careers.

We’ve compiled a top 10 list of tips to help you get started:

1—Be a current Women in Aviation International member.  You don’t have to be a pilot, an engineer, a student, or hold advanced degrees—but you do need to be a current member of Women in Aviation International by October 1, 2023, to qualify for each scholarship.

2—Follow the rules and pay attention to details. Be sure to read the requirements for each scholarship; they are each a little different.

  • Keep your essay to 500 words or fewer. Remember the teams reviewing the scholarship applications are considering dozens of applications, so try to be clear and concise in your response
  • If the scholarship requirements call for it, be sure to include clear copies of your government licenses, ratings, logbooks, and other required materials.

3—Spend time on your essay, and tell your unique story.

  • Be passionate and communicate about who you are, and why you are the best candidate for the scholarship.
  • Don’t submit a generic, one-size-fits-all application.
  • This is your opportunity to show the scholarship committee your passion and enthusiasm.

4—Complete the application process in full.

  • Answer all the questions. Don’t leave any required sections blank.
  • Provide all the required information and supporting documents. 

5—Don’t miss the deadline. 

  • The deadline for WAI scholarships is October 12, 2023.  
  • The application portal closes at midnight, and you will not be able to submit your application afterwards. 
  • You will be notified via email that your application has been received.

6—Address the specifics of the scholarship for which you are applying.

  • There are many scholarships available. Read the qualifications of each one carefully and apply for the scholarships for which you are best qualified. 
  • A successful application will appeal directly to the intent, subject, and requirements of that specific scholarship.

7—Start early.

  • It takes time for people to write meaningful letters of recommendation and get them back to you. Allow your references enough time to complete their letters. 
  • If the scholarship requirements ask for a school transcript, don't wait until the last minute to contact your school.
  • Give yourself enough time to compose a thoughtful, compelling essay. 

8—Don’t send additional attachments. The scholarship committees work hard to give each application equal attention and equal weight. Don’t include photos, videos, or certificates that aren’t requested.

9—Proofread your application before submitting.

  • Ask someone else to review the requirements, and be sure your application is complete. Also ask them to read your essay and submission. Check for typos, errors, and correct grammar.

10--Apply to no more than three scholarships.  With so many opportunities, there's room for any WAI member to find support for their aviation and aerospace goals. 

Following these tips won’t guarantee that you’ll win, but you will be more likely to be fully considered. And remember, if you aren't awarded a scholarship this time around, there's always next year! Don’t hesitate to email scholarships@wai.org if you have any questions.