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Apply for Scholarships


Overview

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) offers several scholarships for full-time students who are deaf and hard of hearing and who are pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited mainstream college or university. A limited number of scholarships are also available for those pursuing a graduate degree. Students who are pursuing a graduate degree in law or public policy are encouraged to apply for the George H. Nofer Scholarship which is specific to those fields; please see the AG Bell website at http://www.agbell.org/NoferScholarship/ for an application.

AG Bell Scholarships are merit-based and award selection is highly competitive. On average, about 15% of applicants are selected for an award. While the number and amount of awards varies from year to year, in 2015, twenty awards were made ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Financial need has little impact on award selection; rather, the selection committee is looking for strong leaders with academic excellence and great character. Applicants may receive a total of two awards through the AG Bell College Scholarship program. 

2016 College Scholarship Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for this scholarship program, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:  

  • Listening and Spoken Language must be the applicant's primary mode of communication. 
  • Hearing loss must have been diagnosed before the applicant’s fourth birthday.
  • Hearing loss must be bilateral and in the moderately severe to profound range. Unilateral hearing loss does not qualify. Applicants must have an unaided Pure-Tone Average (PTA) of 60dB or greater in the better-hearing ear in the speech frequencies of 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz. Applicants with cochlear implants meet this eligibility requirement. Unilateral (one-sided) hearing loss does not qualify. Applicants with cochlear implants meet this eligibility requirement.  

    Formula for calculating the PTA
    : On the unaided audiogram, look at the results for the better-hearing ear at 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz and add those three numbers together, then divide that total by three. The result is the Pure Tone Average. To be eligible for this award, the applicant’s PTA must be 60 or greater in the better-hearing ear.
  • Applicant must be enrolled in or have applied to a four-year mainstream accredited college or university as a full-time student working to complete a bachelor’s or graduate degree. This means that, for the academic year beginning in the fall, the applicant must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree at a mainstream college or university. Applicants who are or will be attending a community college offering an associate’s degree (two-year) do not meet this criterion.
  • Applicants in the United States must have a minimum cumulative un-weighted GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale (equivalent minimums: 4.06 on a 5.0 scale, 5.68 on a 7.0 scale, 8.12 on a scale of 10 or 81.25 on a scale of 100). For high school seniors, this is a cumulative GPA for grades 9-11 and the first semester of grade 12. For college freshmen, this is cumulative GPA for grades 9-12 and the first semester of college. For college sophomores or higher including graduate students, it is the cumulative GPA on college transcripts for all semesters completed. For doctoral students/candidates, it is the cumulative GPA on your graduate degree transcripts for all semesters completed (undergraduate transcripts not needed).

    Students who are applying from countries other than the United States must have a minimum 80 percent cumulative on their high school or secondary school transcripts. For colleges outside of the United States, applicants must have a ranking equivalent to a minimum 3.25 GPA; for example, for students in the UK, Australia and India, a minimum of an Upper Second Class ranking is required.

PLEASE NOTE: We are very strict with the eligibility criteria and deadlines. Applications that do not meet all of the criteria, are missing required elements, or arrive after the deadline are screened out of the process and are not considered for an award. NO EXCEPTIONS ARE MADE.

DEADLINE

The deadline for applications is March 11, 2016. All materials must arrive in one package before 5:00p.m. EST on March 11, 2016.

 

The only items that may arrive separately from the application are transcripts sent from the educational institution(s) you attend or have attended. Transcripts must be received by AG Bell before 5:00p.m. on March 11, 2016. Please be sure to order your transcripts well in advance of the deadline. 

DOWNLOAD APPLICATION PACKET [PDF] 

Mail application package to:

    AG Bell College Scholarship Program
    3417 Volta Place NW
    Washington, DC 20007 

 OR

Email application package to: financialaid@agbell.org

Please note: 

  • The application can be downloaded as a PDF, completed and sent via email to financialaid@agbell.org. An email confirmation will not be sent. If you would like to know whether or not your email application was received, please request a “read receipt” via your email platform to send a copy to yourself.
  • We do not confirm receipt of applications upon delivery. If you would like to know whether or not your application was received, you may choose to send your application using a service that can confirm delivery such as US Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. Please do not require a signature upon delivery as this may delay the receipt of your package. AG Bell does not accept responsibility nor make exceptions for any delays or delivery errors on the part of delivery services. To ensure timely delivery, applicants are encouraged to submit applications well in advance of the deadline.
  • Faxed applications will not be accepted under any circumstances.
  • Late and incomplete applications will not be considered under any circumstances.
  • Applications will not be returned for any reason.

Please do not contact AG Bell seeking an exception to these policies.

Administrative Processes & Notification
Following the deadline, applications are opened and screened for eligibility and completeness. Those applicants found ineligible will be notified by email that their application will not be considered by the committee. Applications that are eligible for consideration are then forwarded to the award selection committee for review; ineligible applications are destroyed. There are two rounds of review. If your application is not selected to move on to the second round, you will be notified by email usually before June 30. Following the second round of review, those selected and those not selected for an award will be advised of the committee’s decision, usually by July 31. Awards are generally issued in August. Notification of all award decisions will be by email only.

Things to Consider as You Prepare Your Application 

On average, about 10-15 percent of eligible applications are selected to receive a scholarship. About one-quarter of the applications rate very highly – just tenths of points separate scholarship winners from non-scholarship winners. Here are some things you can do to improve your application. 

Scholarship awards are merit-based; financial need has little impact on award selection. Past scholarship recipients have demonstrated academic excellence (the average unweighted GPA of recipients is 3.8), effective leadership, exceptional personal qualities, and potential for ongoing contributions to society. Involvement in high school/college or community activities is a plus. Past scholarship recipients have demonstrated these types of skills, abilities and qualities:

  • Desire to be at the forefront in the creation and discovery of new knowledge 
  • Leadership skills and a desire to be a leader in service to society 
  • Broad world view and a zest for learning from people who are different from themselves in a diverse community of scholars 
  • Recognition of the importance of personal integrity and ethical decision making 
  • Enthusiastic pursuit of self-improvement 
  • Creativity and the ability to make the most of opportunities presented   

REMEMBER — Every applicant has experienced challenges related to hearing loss.  In many circles, that might earn “extra” points, but here, it’s just the starting point.   

WRITE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE — The review committee comprises professionals working in the field of hearing loss and academic professors, some of whom may be deaf or hard of hearing themselves. They understand hearing loss, so it’s not necessary to explain yours or describe your technology. We’re interested in who you are and who you plan to be, so focus on how you make a difference.  

ESSAY — Please do not repeat information in your essay that you’ve provide elsewhere in your application. Use this as an opportunity to tell a broader story and enhance the committee’s understanding of who you are and why you stand out. In short essays and the personal essay, correct grammar and sentence structure are vital; a creative writing style or great story can win you points.  

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION — Applicants should think carefully about whom they ask to write letters of recommendation. Well-written letters from a teacher, professor, employer, supervisor, coach, extra-curricular activity sponsor, or hearing health professional can carry a lot of weight when they include detailed information about you. Letters from a guidance counselor, employer, RA, long-time family friend, or next door neighbor may not carry as much weight unless that person can share information about you that is significant. The review committee expects references to be relevant and recent. College freshman may include a letter of recommendation from a high school teacher, but at least one letter of recommendation should be from a college professor. For college sophomores and higher, the committee expects no letters of recommendation to be from a high school teacher.   

COVER SHEET — Be sure to let your references know that the cover sheet is a required element of their recommendation; without it, your application will be considered incomplete. If someone you’ve asked to be a reference cannot complete the cover sheet or must mark too many boxes as “cannot judge” or “cannot complete,” it would be wise to find a new reference. Cover sheets marked with too many unanswered questions aren’t helpful to the committee and can reduce your score and your chance for a scholarship.   

PREVIOUS AWARD RECIPIENTS — Although some of your information will be the same, this is your chance to tell a different or updated story in your essays. Your letters of recommendation and cover sheets should also be updated. “Recycled” applications will not be considered for an award.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the AG Bell College Scholarship Program.

Do You Still Have Questions or Need Clarification?

We try to be clear in our instructions, but if you would like clarification about something or have a question, please ask. Not asking the question is NOT a case for reconsideration of your application, so it’s better to ask the question than to find out your application is considered ineligible for review.

Please email any questions or inquiries to: financialaid@agbell.org 

It may take us several business days to answer, so please plan accordingly when submitting your questions – don’t wait until the last minute!  

 DOWNLOAD APPLICATION PACKET [PDF]