NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computer Scholarships is provided every year by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). This organization, founded in 2004, operates in collaboration between companies, colleges and non-profits towards increasing the relative representation of women in technology careers. Since the 1960s, women’s participation in the technology workforce has plummeted from an estimated 37% in 1985 to roughly 18% in 2009. By offering scholarships through the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computer Scholarships, the organization hopes that they will be able to capably encourage young women to seek degrees in related fields and thus increasing representation of women through the technology industries.
Though partners in the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computer Scholarships sometimes change, Bank of America has in the past come through with funding assistance for the program since 2008. While Bank of America may not always be there to give additional funding for scholarships to the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computer Scholarships, with the incredible amount of partnerships that NCWIT has garnered over the years the scholarships are likely to keep coming. While the 2010-2011 applications dates have passed, the website has announced plans for applications to be available in the fall of 2011 for the 2011-2012 academic cycles.
There are two different types of NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computer Scholarships given out every year – the national competition and various affiliate programs. The national competition awards $500 and a laptop to a varying and increasing number of applicants every year. On top of receiving $500 and a free laptop, national award members will also be awarded a trip to the Bank of America Technology Showcase and Awards Ceremony in North Carolina. In 2011 the national competition awarded over 200 different womens scholarships around the United States so this may be a easier scholarship then many others where there is only one annual award. Affiliate scholarships offer varying amounts of award money and sometimes may vary with regards to their eligibility requirements.
Eligibility for the national competition requires that that all applicants be women, be attending high school at the time of their application and be a resident of the United States. Affiliate competitions have the same eligibility criteria but may be limited to specific counties, grades or other specifics.
Applicants interested in a NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computer Scholarships through an affiliate program should first check to see if there is such a program available in their state. Fortunately the NCWIT website has an up to date listing of all current affiliate listings.
The next step would be to review eligibility requirements through the specific affiliate competition and, should an applicant be eligible, start the application process. In 2011 over 400 different affiliate awards were given out to winning applicants, making this easily the most accessible version of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computer Scholarships.
Applicants should understand that while the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computer Scholarships are given out for broad application through the national competition, affiliate competitions can sometimes be more limited with regards to where the money may be spent. When preparing to apply for an affiliate competition, students would be wise to check any other criteria which may limit where the funds may be spent or in what counties they are available in. The deadline for applying to the national competition is normally in early November, opening up for new applicants in early September. The affiliate competition opens and closes around the same time, but dates do not always line up. It will be important for applicants to check with affiliate programs to be sure to double check their deadline dates.
Affiliate programs are not always available in every state, so applicants who do not have access to an affiliate program would be smart to start planning for the national competition. Previous winners at both the national and affiliate levels have shown a strong dedication and interest in the technology fields. Interning with technology companies, participating in extracurricular activities around technology and being involved in groups which encourage the advancement of women would all be a great place to start building an application.
With so many awards given out annually, this would make the NCWIT awards fall into the easier scholarships category and well worth the time spent in applying for them.