By ANNIE WASSAN/Montana State News

Montana State University’s College of Agriculture Feb. 1 scholarship deadline is quickly approaching. According to the college’s website, more than $350,000 in the form of 120 different awards available annually.

According to Allie Nelson, a current agriculture education student and a previous recipient of two scholarships, money is not the only incentive. She said winning the scholarships shows people believe in her and her academic journey.

Jessica Murdock, the student service coordinator in the COA, is in charge of managing the scholarships within the program. This is her fifth year coordinating scholarships, and within that time she has seen an increase in both money and number of applicants. According to Murdock, the reason for the increase is because of the advancement of social media and her growing connections.

Murdock reports that the COA has the widest variety of scholarships available, with up to 15 people receiving the same scholarship. She also mentions that the agriculture college previously had the most money available for students, but is now currently third.

The selection process takes place in a few steps, according to Murdock. First, a faculty member of each department looks through the applications, then each department looks closer at the applications that went through the first step to select the final recipients.

From a student perspective, Nelson said she believes it is one of the easiest scholarship applications because there is a single form for all of the scholarships available. As a previous recipient, Nelson lends some advice to first time applicants: “Scholarships can be hard. You want to make yourself look deserving for the scholarship; however, you don’t want to seem like you’re bragging about yourself. For first-time applicants, I encourage you to put yourself out there and tell the scholarship committee why you deserve a scholarship.”

Murdock says, although a good standing GPA is something that is considered, students that demonstrate active college leadership involvement and community service are more frequently chosen. She also advises to convey clear, concise goals and to have a powerful essay section as well. The application is available online on the COA website.

The website also states that scholarships awarded this spring, will cover tuition costs for the coming fall through next spring. Murdock urges students to get their submissions in before the strict deadline, which is at 5 p.m. on Feb. 1. 

– Edited by Jenny Bryan

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