Grace Hopper Celebration, Top Tips for Student Scholarships
This week we are celebrating International Women's Day. In tech, there is no women’s event bigger than the Grace Hopper Celebration, which is produced by AnitaB.org, a non-profit, social enterprise that works to increase diversity in tech.The GHC is produced by AnitaB.org in partnership with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
Last year, two of our Women in CompSci, Lily Burke and Chloe Foxe, received scholarships to attend GHC in Texas.
The deadline for applications is today, so why not read Lily and Chloe’s top 10 tips for a great application.
(Don’t forget, the deadline is Pacific Time (PT), so you have until 1 am GMT to get it in)
1. Research GHC
The first and most important task to do before you send in your GHC application is to research the Grace Hopper Conference. This is the starting point in making a great application, you need to know what the conference is all about and why everyone would cherish the opportunity to attend such a prestigious event.
2. How are YOU going to spread the Message?
The next thing to focus on is how, you in particular, are going to spread the GHC message. A major focus of GHC’s mission is to spread their vision far and wide. They want to know how you plan on telling the story to people in your corner of the world. How will you inspire the next generation?
3. Understand the Benefits
A key part of creating a great application is realising what the prize is at the end and just how lucky you’ll be if you’re accepted. Just like applying for a job, we want to know what the perks are. This is the same with GHC, tell them how incredibly grateful and appreciative you’d be to be presented with such an amazing opportunity!
4. Highlight Extracurriculars
The review committee tend to look for well rounded individuals, who not just excel academically, but are also active in their community. This could be that your involved in W@CS activities, or Coder Dojo volunteering, etc. You don't even need to have organised these activities, as long as you're active and have shown initiative to participate, that has value too! While personally I'd recommend focusing on any technology related extracurriculars, any other cool or unusual hobbies, particularly with an emphasis on teamwork or leadership elements, are definitely worth mentioning.
5. Stand Out
Always, when making any kind of application - it’s important to stand out from the crowd. And this is no different with GHC. There are thousands of applications sent in from students across the globe, just like yourself. Say something inspiring or motivating that’ll make you unique from the others.
6. Be Honest
Honesty is the best policy when you are trying to sell yourself. Nobody wants to listen to a person who hides the facts in an effort to present themselves in a better light. Be honest in your application, list your key achievements/milestones to date without trying yo sugarcoat it.
7. Be Personal
A big mistake a lot of people make is they try and guess what the application review committee are looking for. Do not try and fit in with generic cookie cutter responses that you think they want, your biggest strength here is that you're unique! You're an original person, so that should be reflected in a unique application. Be as authentic as possible and try to convey your personal perspective and ideas in your application.
As with any application, assignment, email, the last thing is should always do is proofread. Do it 3/4 times, you’ll probably make little changes in between which will turn it from an A- to A+. This includes getting friends/family to read it and getting feedback from them. After all, this is the most important part of your application - make sure you’ve done a great job by asking others.
9. Letter of Recommendation
When choosing who you want to write your letter of recommendation, be sure to try and get a lecturer/mentor who knows you really well! It'll come across more genuine and realistic if they've actually worked with you and can honestly vouch for what a great person you are!
10. Update your CV
Your CV is one of the most important parts of your application. Make sure it's as up to date as possible! Draw attention to any internship experience you may have, and any roles you've had in community organising/teaching. Also highlight any roles you've held in UCD, such as peer mentor/science leader, or even volunteering for outreach events such as open days. I think less is more here, like I mentioned earlier, there's thousands of applications, so you really don't have much time to capture attention and stand out. Personally, my CV was 1 page long for this application, so I'd recommend attempting to squeeze it down to a single page, but at most I'd strongly advise against exceeding 2 page length.