How to Write an Award-winning Application!

Kimberly A. is a recipient of the 2010-11 North Carolina Award for Aspirations in Computing. She is a senior and plans to study computer programming and chemical engineering in college.
Samantha S. is a recipient of both the 2010-11 Massachusetts and the National Award for Aspirations in Computing. She is very interested in robotics and plans to continue that pursuit in college.
(Kimberly): What’s the best part(s) of being an Aspirations Award-winner?
I think the best reward is the feeling of accomplishment and confidence that, as a “geek” (or even if you just have the potential of participating in technology based work) you are getting recognized. I loved meeting all the girls at the ceremony because we all had different interests in technology. Being NCWIT award recipients you get special opportunities to be involved with Google and CSI conventions. Also, you get special opportunities to be involved with NCWIT member companies and academic institutions. We (the online group of winners) have planned to meet up if you are in a certain area, or work on projects together online. You also have access to tons of women in engineering/programming scholarships. Just meeting other women who have similar interests is awesome and exciting!
How do I apply?
To apply for this award you need to go visit the website at and click on the tab that says Apply; then select your state.  This page will give you all the information about eligibility and when the event dates are. If the application is open there is a link that says “Apply Now.”
What advice do you have for writing a good application?
BE YOURSELF! That’s the key. Along with being yourself, include appealing information that you think is unique; this includes clubs, extracurricular activities, community service and anything else that you think will set you apart from the rest of the applicants. Don’t be too modest – sell yourself to the judges. Your enthusiasm about technology should be portrayed through your essays when you complete the application. Show them you want to be involved, you want to be the best programmer/designer/technician you can be!
(Samantha): What kinds of things do the judges look for?
When the judges review your application they’re looking both for girls who are really involved and those who have the potential and intentions to become really involved. And by “involved” I don’t mean with just technological endeavors. If you’re on NHS or play a sport or do a lot of volunteerism they love to see that too. This award isn’t just for geeks who spend all day on the computer; it’s for well-rounded girls who are involved in their school and community. Even if you aren’t involved in too much yet but show lots of interest and potential, you should emphasize it.
I haven’t done much in computing and tech yet … Should I still apply?
Note the answer the to question above. Just because you aren’t involved yet, doesn’t mean you should discredit yourself. Notice that the award is Aspirations in Computing so if you are an aspiring tech girl or programmer or engineer, I would say that you should definitely apply and show the judges your potential. Enthusiasm is key.
Is grammar/spelling important?
As in any application form or essay, grammar and spelling are very important. The judges are a team of tech professionals and academics who will be aware of mistakes. Your application should reflect how interested in and excited you are about computing and technology. An essay with mistakes suggests carelessness and could potentially hurt you. Use your spellcheck and have a teacher, parent or friend proofread for you. The more you check, the less likely you are to miss mistakes. You can preview the application before you start and prepare your answers by download the Preparing Your Application guide.
Thanks, Kimberly and Samantha! Good luck to our applicants!
You can read more about Kimberly and Samantha, and all the other Aspirations Award recipients HERE.

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