With the entire world in an intense state of flux due to a global pandemic, higher education must adapt. While the way that UCI faculty teach and communicate must change, the role that they play in guiding students towards opportunities and success remains unaffected. 

Now more than ever, students are looking to secure a stable form of funding to continue their academic advancement. With many facing concerns regarding their financial ability to continue their education, scholarships and other funding opportunities are increasingly important.

Recently, the Scholarship Opportunities Program (SOP) put out a call for faculty and staff to recommend high-achieving students to apply for some of the most prestigious scholarships in academia. 

“As a result of our recent outreach efforts, SOP is excited to report that the number of recommendations reached an all-time high,” said Rose Jones, Director of UCI’s Scholarship Opportunities Program. “While this is an excellent first step, faculty need to know that they can do much more to support their students as they proceed with the scholarship application process.” 

By becoming a faculty mentor, you can offer insight and direction as your top mentee(s) compete for distinguished scholarships, such as the Rhodes Scholarship, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Harry S. Truman Scholarship, and so on. 

While the application process for each scholarship varies, many will require students to complete application essays, provide letters of recommendation, and undergo a campus screening interview.

This is where faculty mentors can offer valuable assistance to applicants.  By helping students revise application essays, writing recommendation letters for their applications, and participating in campus review committees, faculty can improve student outcomes significantly.

When UCI students win these prestigious scholarships, it not only opens avenues for their success but also generates national and international recognition for our campus.  As our students continue to earn accolades, we cement UCI as a first-choice institution for prospective students.

Faculty members, such as Professor Caesar Sereseres of UCI’s School of Social Sciences, make a critical difference when they support their students’ pursuit of these prestigious scholarship opportunities.  In his effort to help his students, Professor Sereseres takes an active role as a faculty mentor by going out of his way to refer minority and nontraditional students for scholarships, assisting them through the rigorous application process, and serving on campus endorsement interview committees. 

With his guidance, UCI students — many of whom are minority, first-generation, and other underrepresented students — have gone on to receive Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, and many other prestigious awards, raising their level of academic success to heights they had not previously imagined possible. You can read their blogs here to learn more about how applying for and receiving these awards positively impacted their lives and careers. 

Currently, SOP offers advising for the following 17 national and international merit-based scholarships:

Programs in the U.S.

Programs Outside of the U.S.

In addition to these UCI-backed scholarships, SOP has also compiled a list of other scholarship opportunities that students are free to apply for independently. While SOP does not explicitly  offer support for these other opportunities, faculty mentors are encouraged to help students who wish to apply on their own. Additional scholarship opportunities for U.S. citizens or permanent residents can be found here, and international and AB 540 students can apply for the scholarships found here

As we all attempt to cope with the rapid changes happening around us, faculty can still serve as a pillar of support for their students. By answering SOP’s call for faculty mentors, you can help some of UCI’s most gifted students secure the reliable funding that they need for continued academic excellence.

For more information on SOP and how you can get involved, please visit their newly-launched Scholarships Advising page.