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The Complete Guide to Google Scholarships

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Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Feb 1, 2022 7:00:00 PM

Financial Aid

 

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Google is one of the world's software and technology powerhouses—it's not surprising that they offer several scholarships for students interested in pursuing computer science and engineering.

Because Google has the resources to offer very generous awards, applicants come up against serious competition when gunning for one of their scholarships. If you're interested in a Google scholarship, you should be as prepared as possible if you want to submit a successful application.

In this post I'll explain every major Google award in detail before giving you tips and strategies for submitting an awesome application.

 

Introduction

Google offers six major scholarships for students who plan to pursue (or who are actively pursuing) an education and career in computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related field. Because Google is constantly seeking to employ people with these skills, it makes sense that they would encourage talented students to study CS.

In an effort to encourage underrepresented groups to pursue CS and other technical fields, most of the Google scholarships are limited to certain populations. Here are the six major scholarships I'll cover:

  • The Generation Google Scholarship (North America)—Applicants must be African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Filipino/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Female, or a Person with a Disability.

  • The Generation Google Scholarship (Asia Pacific)—Applicants must be women who study computer science in an Asia/Pacific country.

  • The Generation Google Scholarship (Europe, Middle East, and Africa)—Applicants must be women who study computer science in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa.
  • The Google Lime Scholarship for Students With Disabilities—Applicants must study in the US or Canada and have a visible or invisible disability.
  • The Google Europe Scholarship for Students With Disabilities—Applicants must study in Europe and have a disability.
  • The Google SVA Scholarship for Student Veterans—Applicants must be US veterans or currently serve in the US military.

At the end of the article, you'll find strategies for increasing your chances of winning a Google scholarship.

 

#1: The Generation Google Scholarship (North America)

The Generation Google Scholarship (North America) is for high school seniors or current undergraduate/graduate students who are passionate about computer science and engineering, belong to a minority group within computer science, and plan on attending school in the US or Canada.
  • Winners receive either $10,000 (US dollars) or $5,000 (Canadian dollars) depending on where they attend school. Money must be used for tuition or education-related expenses.
  • Deadline: The application typically opens in the fall, with a deadline in late December.

 

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Intend to be enrolled in or accepted as a full-time student in a Bachelors, Masters, or PhD program at an accredited university or college in the United States or Canada for the upcoming academic year.

  • Be studying computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related technical field.

  • Demonstrate a strong academic record.

  • Demonstrate financial need.

  • Exemplify leadership and demonstrate passion for improving representation of underrepresented groups in computer science and technology.

  • Students who identify with groups historically excluded from the technology industry, including Women, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, are strongly encouraged to apply.

 

Application

The online application includes:

  • General background information (e.g. contact information and details about your current and intended universities)

  • Resume/CV highlighting technical projects and participation in community engagement

  • Academic transcripts from your current institutions (and prior, if applicable)

  • Responses to two short answer essay questions

  • 15 minute "meet and greet" per shortlist participant

  • Google Online Challenge (Invitation to the challenge will be sent 5-7 working days post application deadline)

 

#2: The Generation Google Scholarship (Asia Pacific)

The General Google Scholarship (Asia Pacific) is intended for female university students majoring in computer science or a related field at a school in Asia or Oceania.

  • Winners receive $1,000 (US dollars) which must be used for tuition or education-related expenses.
  • Deadline: Typically in mid-December

 

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled as a full-time student in a Bachelor's degree program.

  • Be in their 2nd year of study at an accredited university in Asia Pacific country when completing the scholarship program.

  • Be studying computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related technical field.

  • Demonstrate a strong academic record.

  • Exemplify leadership and demonstrate passion for improving representation of underrepresented groups in computer science and technology.

 

Application

The online application includes:

  • General background information (e.g. contact information and details about your current and intended universities)

  • Resume/CV highlighting technical projects and participation in community engagement

  • Academic transcripts from your current institutions (and prior, if applicable)

  • Responses to two short answer essay questions

  • 15 minute "meet and greet" per shortlist participant

  • Google Online Challenge (Invitation to the challenge will be sent 5-7 working days post application deadline)

 

#3: The Generation Google Scholarship (Europe, Middle East, and Africa)

The General Google Scholarship (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) is intended for female university students majoring in computer science or a related field at a school in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa.

  • The amount of the scholarship varies depending on the winner's location.
  • Deadline: Typically in mid-December

 

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at a university.

  • Intend to be enrolled in or accepted as a full-time student in a Bachelors, Masters, or PhD program at an accredited university in Europe, Middle East or Africa for the upcoming academic year.

  • Be studying computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related technical field.

  • Demonstrate a strong academic record.

  • Exemplify leadership and demonstrate a passion for improving representation of underrepresented groups in computer science and technology.


 

Application

The online application includes:

  • General background information (e.g. contact information and details about your current and intended universities)

  • Resume/CV highlighting technical projects and participation in community engagement

  • Academic transcripts from your current institutions (and prior, if applicable)

  • Responses to two short answer essay questions

  • 15 minute "meet and greet" per shortlist participant

  • Google Online Challenge (Invitation to the challenge will be sent 5-7 working days post application deadline)

 

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#4: The Google Lime Scholarship for Students With Disabilities

The Google Lime Scholarship for Students With Disabilities is for college and university students in the US and Canada who both (1) study computer science or a related field and (2) have a visible or invisible disability.
  • Winners receive either $10,000 (US dollars) or $5,000 (Canadian dollars) depending on where they attend school. Money must be used for tuition or education-related expenses.
  • Deadline: Typically in December

 

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Have, or consider themselves to have, a visible or invisible disability.
  • Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at a university.
  • Plan to enroll as a full-time student at a university in the US or Canada for the upcoming academic year.
  • Maintain a strong academic performance.
  • Be pursuing a degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a degree in a closely related technical field.
  • Exemplify leadership and demonstrate a passion for computer science and technology.

 

Application

Submit an online application which includes:

  • General background information (e.g. contact information, details about your current and intended universities)
  • Resume/CV
  • Academic transcripts from current and prior institutions (if you have earned a prior degree)
  • One letter of reference from a professor, instructor, adviser, or supervisor
  • Responses to three short answer essay questions

 

#5: The Google Europe Scholarship for Students With Disabilities

The Google Europe Scholarship for Students With Disabilities is for college/university students in Europe or Israel who both (1) study computer science or a closely related field, and (2) have a disability.
  • Winners receive a €7,000 scholarship. About 10 recipients are chosen every year.
  • Deadline: Late December

 

body_europemap.jpgThere aren't many geographic limitations within Europe for this scholarship, which makes it pretty flexible.

 

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled at a university in Europe.
  • Intend to be enrolled or accepted as a full-time student at a Bachelor's, Master's or PhD program at a university in Europe or Israel for the upcoming academic year.
  • Be studying computer science, computer engineering, informatics, or a closely related technical field.
  • Exemplify leadership and a passion for computer science and technology.
  • Have a disability (defined as a long-term or recurring issue that impacts one or more major activities that others may consider a daily function).

 

Application

Students complete an online application which includes:

  • General background info (contact info, details about your current and intended institutions)
  • Resume/CV
  • Academic transcripts from your current and prior institutions (if you've earned a prior degree)
  • One reference letter from a professor, instructor, adviser, or supervisor
  • Responses to three short essay questions

 

Recipients will be selected based on the overall strength of their essays and application materials compared to the entire applicant pool or respective peers (e.g. Bachelors students compared to other Bachelors students).

 

#6: The Google SVA Scholarship for Student Veterans

The Google SVA Scholarship for Student Veterans is for college and university students in the US who both (1) study computer science or a closely related field and (2) are student veterans or are on Active Duty
  • Scholarship winners receive $10,000 each.
  • Application components: General background info, resume/CV, academic transcripts, two letter of reference, proof of veteran status, three essay questions.
  • Deadline: Typically in November

 

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at a university.
  • Intend to be enrolled in or accepted as a full-time student at a university in the US for the upcoming academic year.
  • Maintain a strong academic performance.
  • Be pursuing a computer science or computer engineering degree, or a degree in a closely related technical field.
  • Be a current student veteran (includes members of the National Guard or Reserve) as proven by a DD-214 and transcript, or a student on Active Duty as proven by submission of Active Duty orders and a Memorandum of Understanding from your commanding officer indicating that you are currently in good standing with your unit and transcript.
  • Have received an honorable discharge, or be in good standing with his/her branch of service.

 

Application

Applicants must submit an online app which includes:

  • General background info (contact info, details on your current and intended institutions)
  • Resume/CV
  • Academic transcripts from your current and prior institution (if you've received a prior degree)
  • DD Form 214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214), or Active Duty orders and a Memorandum of Understanding from your commanding officer indicating that you are currently in good standing with your unit
  • One letter of reference from a professor, instructor, adviser, or supervisor
  • Responses to three short essay questions

 

How to Win a Google Scholarship

Most of the awards listed are for current undergraduate or graduate students, so you may not be quite ready to apply for a Google scholarship. This is a good thing—the longer you have to prepare for your scholarship application, the better your chances of success.

Here, I'll cover both long-term strategies (for students who are in high school/early college) and short-term tips (for students who want to submit an app during the next scholarship cycle).

 

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If you're trying to win any of the competitive Google scholarships, you've got to start thinking strategically pretty early on.

 

Long-Term Strategies

You might still have a while before you put scholarship applications together, but that doesn't mean you can't start preparing. These long-term strategies will help you strengthen not just your Google scholarship application, but your college apps as well.

 

Demonstrate Academic Excellence

There aren't any hard GPA cutoffs when it comes to qualifying for these awards, but with the intense competition for Google scholarships, you'll need impressive grades in order to stand out as an applicant.

Some of the scholarships listed above have public lists of scholarship winners which also list the students' college and university. Many of the schools (at least the ones located in the US) are very competitive with acceptance rates as low as 5-15%. This gives you an idea of the sort of student you'll be competing with for these awards

Not all scholarship recipients ended up at ultra-competitive schools, but your chances of winning an award will be higher if your grades are comparable to those of the most high-achieving students. I expect you'll need to have a truly excellent GPA—top 10% in your class, or even top 5%—in order to have a good shot.

Read more about what's considered a good GPA and why.

 

Demonstrate Leadership Skills

Many scholarship programs—including Google's—want to invest in future leaders in their fields. It's important that you show a history of leadership experience in order to meet this criterion. You can do this by:

  • Actively participating in class or at work
  • Volunteering to lead or take on projects
  • Joining clubs or extracurriculars (especially related to CS) that ignite your passions and interests
  • Starting your own club or organization
  • Working your way up the ladder (e.g. getting a promotion) at a job or internship

 

Develop Relationships With Educators, Mentors, and Advisers

All of the scholarships listed above require applicants to submit a letter of reference. It'll be easier to seek out letter-writers—and the letters themselves will be more effective—if you've cultivated relationships with several instructors, mentors, and/or authority figures.

Seeking out these types of relationships is also helpful for another reason: it's important to have experienced people around you to guide you on your academic and career path.

If you have respect for a particular class or job or extracurricular activity, your teacher or mentor will come to respect you—that's step #1. To work on further developing these relationships, you can:

  • Go to office hours to ask for extra help on tricky problems or concepts
  • Actively participate in class and work meetings
  • Go to your professors or supervisors with questions that may be outside the scope of your regular curriculum or job; this demonstrates intellectual curiosity

 

Commit to Computer Science and Technology

The large scholarships that Google gives out are serious, long-term investments in both the futures of student recipients and the future of computer science and technology. As such, Google wants to make sure that the awards go to those who are going to stay in these fields.

The longer you've been seeking out an education in CS and the more projects or learning experiences you've taken on, the more serious and invested you'll seem to application evaluators. Here are a few ways you can demonstrate a commitment to CS:

  • Start taking any and all available courses in high school
  • Work on programming projects with a mentor in your free time
  • Participate in CS clubs and/or competitions
  • Choose to major in CS or a closely related field (this is a requirement for Google scholarships)

 

Short-Term Tips

Even if you haven't been planning long-term to optimize your Google scholarship applications, there are a ton of things you can do to boost your chances. Follow these tips to submit a complete, polished, thoughtful application.

 

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Not much time? You can still work to submit a winning application—you just have to be smart about it.

 

Plan Ahead (as Much as Possible)

You can't exactly throw a complete Google scholarship application together in one afternoon. For one thing, you'll have to write several essays and/or short answer questions; for another, you'll have to get thoughtful letters of reference from teachers or advisers. These things take time to do well.

I'd encourage you to start putting your application together about 12 weeks before the due date. This timeline is important for a couple of key reasons. First, you'll need time to draft your essays, ask a trusted mentor to review them, and then polish and write up final versions. Second, it's courteous to give letter-writers plenty of time to come up with references—ask them if they'd be willing to write for you at the beginning of this 12-week window (or even earlier).

 

Invest in Your Essays

Your essays are the one part of your application where the scholarship committee gets true insight into who you are as an individual—they won't ever meet you in person, and while reference letters are helpful, they're still second-hand accounts. As such, you want to make sure your essays are confident, strong, and polished.

Here are some tips for making your essays the best they can be:

  • Answer every part of the prompt. This is especially important for any technical essays.
  • Elaborate—don't just provide a list in response to a question. Evaluators want to see that you're thoughtful. Yes/no answers will not cut it.
  • Make your goals and passions clear. It is very important to application evaluators that students are invested in, and passionate about, computer science and technology. There are many students that study CS—why should you get the scholarship? What do you care about that makes you special?
  • If you have an opportunity to do so, explain why you started studying CS, why you want this scholarship, and how this scholarship will help you (for example, maybe you hope to directly help others or advance technological progress).
  • Craft a narrative. You want your essays (if you are required to write more than one) to work together in crafting a cohesive story about who you are and what you care about. Think critically about two or three important points that you want evaluators to know about you—all of your essays should serve to communicate these points.
  • Don't be afraid to brag (to an extent). Bring up any honors, awards, or accolades if they're directly related to CS. It's helpful to make a list beforehand of all of your achievements (this is also helpful if you need to update your CV or resume).
  • Demonstrate humility. As accomplished as you may be, it's off-putting to come across as arrogant about what you've achieved. Don't be afraid to (partially) attribute your successes to the guidance, mentorship, and support of others.
  • Stay positive. This is especially pertinent when it comes to essays asking you about hardships or adversities. It's helpful to speak about these issues with a frank, honest tone—just make sure to express positivity about the future.

 

Choose Your Reference Writers Wisely

It's of course important to scholarship evaluators to gain insight into your own motivations and perspective, but it's just as important for them to understand how others view you. As such, it's important that you think strategically about who you ask to write your letter of reference.

Ideal letter-writers will have detailed, glowing anecdotes showcasing your character, your work (hopefully in CS), and your personal relationships with others. Letter-writers can be especially effective if they know you in multiple contexts (e.g. they serve as a mentor but also as a professor or boss).

Read more about what makes for a great letter of recommendation.

 

Summary

Google offers six major scholarships for students all around the world, but only students who are studying (or plan to study) computer science or a closely related field will qualify. The six scholarship programs are:

  • The Generation Google Scholarship (North America)

  • The Generation Google Scholarship (Asia Pacific)

  • The Generation Google Scholarship (Europe, Middle East, and Africa)

  • The Google Lime Scholarship for Students With Disabilities

  • The Google Europe Scholarship for Students With Disabilities

  • The Google SVA Scholarship for Student Veterans

As the awards are fairly generous, applicants will come up against serious competition. In order to optimize your chances of winning one of these awards, it's important that students strategize in both the short and long term.

 

What's Next?

Google scholarships aren't the only generous, competitive awards out there. If you're interested in going after some serious scholarship prizes, we have the information you need to help you win.

Check out our guides to the Gates Millennium Scholarship, the Coca Cola Scholarship, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarships.

If you want to hedge your bets by applying to smaller awards (which you definitely should), local scholarships are the way to go.

 

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Francesca Fulciniti
About the Author

Francesca graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and scored in the 99th percentile on the SATs. She's worked with many students on SAT prep and college counseling, and loves helping students capitalize on their strengths.



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