F.A.Q .

  1. What specific services do you offer to students?
  2. What scholarship related resources are available for student use?
  3. Can all UIC students come in to OSSP?
  4. When should students come to OSSP?
  5. How do I make an appointment?
  6. Where is OSSP located?
  7. What are the office hours?
  8. What kinds of scholarships does OSSP deal with?
  9. What does nationally competitive mean?
  10. Does your office have anything to do with financial aid?
  11. Is there a particular deadline to be eligible for scholarships?
  12. Which honor societies should I join? Are all honor societies legitimate?


What specific services do you offer to students?

Our office provides a wide range of services to students. First, we try to make students aware of the nationally competitive scholarships that are available, and we provide information about eligibility for these awards. In addition, we try to help students locate additional awards that might apply to them. Our office focuses on a list of national awards, but we also know about other, smaller awards, and we have a library of scholarship books with hundreds of scholarship listings. Second, we support students as they work through the scholarship application process. We accomplish this goal by helping students work on written materials for applications (personal statements, project outlines, etc.), develop their resumes, and put together the most professional application possible. A part of this process is providing students with other support such as obtaining transcripts, sending materials, and providing other clerical resources.

**While any student is welcome to use our website in their scholarship search, the services we provide are only available to alumni or students who are currently enrolled at The University of Illinois at Chicago.**

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What scholarship related resources are available for student use?

OSSP offers a variety of resources for student use. We encourage all students to subscribe to our listserv. Once a week, we send out a newsletter highlighting new and upcoming opportunities. Students are always welcome to talk with staff to discuss scholarships. In addition, students have access to a library of scholarship books, which are available for check out. For several national fellowships, we have printed materials provided by the sponsoring organization. Finally, the OSSP website offers a scholarship links page which provides links to some of the most useful scholarship resources on the web.

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Can all UIC students come to the OSSP?

OSSP serves all UIC undergraduate students and selected graduate students (those in a professional or other program not a part of the Graduate College). The Graduate Fellowships Office is dedicated specifically to helping UIC graduate students as they apply for scholarships and fellowships. Graduate students should contact Marie Khan at mkhanj@uic.edu or (312) 355-3456.

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When should students come to OSSP?

Students should come when they are ready to investigate the scholarship opportunities that are available to them! Many scholarships call for a large amount of lead time between the due date for the application and the time that the money is awarded. This means, if you are interested in finding funding for a given year of school, you should come during the prior academic year to apply for scholarships.

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How do I make an appointment?

If you would like to make an appointment to discuss a scholarship that you are ready to apply for, or one that you have materials created for already, please call (312) 355-2477 or stop by our office -- 808 University Hall.

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Where is the OSSP located?

The Office of Special Scholarship Programs is located in room 808 of the University Hall Building (UH). University Hall is located on the East Campus of UIC on Harrison Street, just off the intersection with Morgan Street.

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What are the office hours?

Generally, OSSP is open 8:30am-5:00pm, Monday through Friday. The office is open during the summer. It is always a good idea to make an appointment if you would like an opportunity to meet with someone one-on-one, or to sign up for an information session if you would like general questions covered in a more conversational setting with other students.

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What kinds of scholarships does OSSP deal with?

The Office of Special Scholarship Programs focuses on a select group of nationally competitive scholarships (see Nationally-Competitve Awards page). This focus is due in large part to the fact that many of the national organizations that bestow these awards require nomination or approval from the sponsoring university. In addition, OSSP seeks to help students locate other awards sponsored by organizations other than UIC, including those for use for graduate and professional school, study abroad or undergraduate education.

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What does 'nationally competitive' mean?

When we say that a scholarship is 'nationally competitive' we mean that applicants from all across the United States are applying for the award. Often, this indicates an increased level of competitiveness over awards that may be sponsored by local entities such as the State of Illinois or a Chicago based organization. In addition, these awards are generally viewed as the hardest to win, and therefore, may require a substantial amount of preparatory work. While many perceive that these awards generally go to students attending elite private institutions, this is not the case. UIC and many other state universities have candidates who win these pretigious awards on a regular basis. Please see our scholarship winners page for recent award recipients from UIC.


Does your office have anything to do with financial aid?

No, our office works independently from financial aid, and does not coordinate with their efforts in any way (most of the awards we deal with are merit-based). Winning a scholarship award may affect your eligibility for some types of aid. Students must check with a financial aid counselor to see how an award might potentially impact his/her aid.

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Is there a particular deadline to be eligible for scholarships?

Because our office works with a variety of scholarships and fellowships, there is no single deadline that students must meet. It is important to note that most UIC scholarships have deadlines during the springtime, and mostly require 12 hours completed at UIC with a GPA of 3.0 or above. Additionally, there are very few scholarship deadlines during June, July, and August, but that is an excellent time to come in early to get scholarship help for awards with fall deadlines; Students should not wait until just prior to the deadline when they, and many others, are likely to need assistance.

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Which honor societies should I join? Are all honor societies legitimate?

As a student with strong grades, you will likely be invited to join honor societies. Most of them are legitimate organizations, but from time to time we hear about suspicious organizations offering membership for a fee that turn out to be simply scams. Honor societies with an established history at UIC have access to your overall GPA but those outside the university do not. UIC sponsored honor societies are located at UIC Honors College sponsored honor societies.

Joining an honor society may help affirm to others that you are a student in good standing; it may offer you the chance to apply for scholarships offered by the society and, if it is an honor society in your major, it may offer useful advice about the field you are going into and career-specific awards.

As a general rule, you do not look better to a graduate program, employer or scholarship competition if you are in 5 honor societies as opposed to one or two. In choosing what groups to join, consider how much they are asking you to pay and what you get from the payment (a newsletter? A pin? An induction ceremony? The chance to compete for scholarships? Prestige?) You may also want to ask faculty and staff if the organization is well-recognized and well-respected. If the name of the honor society is unfamiliar, consider the advice on this website in evaluating whether to join: The Association of College Honor Societies.

You can also check The UIC Undergraduate Catalog for an understanding of graduating with honors.

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