The Barry M. Goldwater scholarship is one of the most prestigious national scholarships available. It was started by Congress in 1986 as a way to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who had spent 30 years as a U.S. Senate. The scholarship is awarded to science, math, and engineering students who wish to attend college and pursue future careers in these fields.
This scholarship is unique in that it is awarded to students who are sophomores and juniors in college and already pursuing one of the chosen career fields, unlike other scholarships that are awarded to high school seniors. Only around 300 students will receive the award each year, and the maximum amount they can receive is $7,500 per academic year.
The award is decided on based on two qualifications. First, the student must show significant merit to qualify. Students with high GPAs are the first in line for this money. The actual amount is given based on financial need. The more need a student has, the more money he or she is likely to receive.
It is not easy to get this scholarship, as there is extreme competition for it. Universities must nominate students for it, and can only nominate four each year. Princeton has the highest number of students to have received the award, which is a tribute to the school’s fine science program.
The Foundation Board of Trustees is the body that determines which nominees will receive the award. They look at the total picture of a student’s interests, field of study, career objectives, and other merits, and try to determine which nominees stand to make the most impact on the fields of science, math, and engineering. The goal of the scholarship is to contribute more excellent minds into these fields and keep America strong in these areas.
Students who are interested in qualifying for this scholarship program should focus strongly on their grades. They should also take as many advanced science and math classes as possible in high school. They should choose a college that is known for its strong science and math program, and study as hard as possible.
If they are nominated, they should carefully and honestly explain their career objectives, putting an emphasis on how well they can help the fields if they are able to pursue their chosen fields. These do not guarantee success, as this highly coveted scholarship is awarded largely at the whim of the board, but they do increase a student’s chances slightly, and they will help a student qualify for other scholarships or grants that are out there for science and math students.