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Tips to make your AOPA scholarship application stand out

Deadlines for AOPA’s two scholarship programs are quickly approaching, with applications for the High School Flight Training Scholarships closing May 19, and those for the AOPA Foundation Flight Training Scholarships closing May 31.

AOPA announces more than $156,000 in flight training scholarships.

As you are putting the final touches on your application, here are some tips to help yours stand out among the rest.

Make sure you are eligible: AOPA offers a chart comparison of the two scholarship programs so that you can determine which one you are eligible to enter (in some cases, individuals are eligible for both). Then, check the details specific to the high school program and AOPA Foundation program.

Complete the entire application: Carefully look over the requirements of the application and make sure you complete all portions and provide all requested paperwork. Also have someone proofread your application before you submit it to catch any grammar or spelling errors. Your attention to detail to fully complete the application helps to demonstrate your work ethic and character, as well as your strong desire for the scholarship.

Select references carefully: When the applications request references, put thought into who you will ask to write a recommendation—who knows you the best, knows about your desire to learn to fly, and can best articulate your qualities and accomplishments. Give your references plenty of time to compile their thoughts—don’t ask the day before the scholarship deadline. The best recommendations go beyond stating that the applicant would be a good pilot but speak to the applicant’s character and work ethic, and answer any questions listed in the recommendation area.

Share your story: Don’t be shy, share your story about your desire to learn to fly—what has motivated you, what obstacles (if any) you have had to overcome or how the scholarship would help you overcome them, how you are currently involved in general aviation, etc. Describe how financial assistance would help you succeed in your flight training—your plan for continued study and flight training. Also, include how a scholarship would help launch your aviation dreams, whether they include flying as a career, for humanitarian purposes, giving back to the aviation community, for pleasure, or other reasons. This is your chance to shine. Share enough of your story so that reviewers feel like they know you and can connect with you. You are your best asset, and your story is a key item that can help you stand out.

Meet the deadline: A deadline is a deadline. To make sure you are considered, ensure that you submit your application by the deadline—11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on May 19 for the high school scholarships, and noon Eastern Daylight Time on May 31 for the AOPA Foundation scholarships.

The AOPA High School Flight Training Scholarship program, part of the umbrella You Can Fly initiative, will award 22 $5,000 scholarships, and the AOPA Foundation Flight Training Scholarship program will give away multiple awards ranging from $2,500 to $5,000.

All scholarships are made possible by generous donations to the AOPA Foundation.

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Miller

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Topics: AOPA Foundation, You Can Fly, Scholarship

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