If you're planning on pursuing an education or career in healthcare, you should definitely check out the Tylenol Future Care Scholarship. It's a merit-based award meant for undergraduates and graduates who are enrolled in any of a wide variety of healthcare programs, including public health, health education, med school, nursing, and even pharmaceuticals.
I'll talk about the eligibility requirements and the application process first, and then I'll discuss tips and strategies for optimizing your chances of winning your own Future Care Scholarship.
What Is the Tylenol Future Care Scholarship?
As I mentioned, this award is meant for students who are interested in pursuing educations and careers in healthcare. Its aim is to take financial stress off of promising students so that they can focus on their studies and long-term career goals. The scholarship program's motto is "The Future Needs You" - as you might imagine, ideal applicants will be bright, career-oriented, focused students who demonstrate strong leadership potential.
Up to 60 students receive Tylenol Future Care Scholarships each year. They're non-renewable, one-time awards; if you've won in the past, you are not eligible to re-apply.
There are several scholarship award levels given out annually:
- Up to 20 scholarships between $500-$2,500
- 30 $5,000 scholarships
- 10 $10,000 scholarships
In order to receive the award, you must be enrolled continuously, full-time, at a program that falls within the eligibility requirements described in the next section.
How Do You Know If You're Eligible?
To be eligible for the Tylenol Future Care Scholarship, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- Must be a US resident, or resident of Puerto Rico
- If you are an undergraduate:
- You must have completed at least one year of undergraduate course study by the spring in the year you apply at an accredited 2- or 4-year college, university, or vocational/technical school.
- Must provide proof of enrollment to a public health/health education, med school, nursing, and/or pharmacy degree program.
- If you are a graduate student:
- Must be able to provide proof of enrollment to a graduate program in public health/health education, med school, nursing and/or pharmacy degree program.
- Must have one or more years of school remaining.
- Employees of McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., ISTS, Inc., their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies and the families of each are not eligible.
If you meet all of the above criteria, you're on the right track to submitting a successful scholarship application.
What Information Do You Need to Apply?
Unlike many other academic scholarships, the Tylenol Future Care Scholarship is not need-based; that means you won't have to submit any financial information for consideration.
Your finances aren't considered at all when evaluators consider your application.
In addition to submitting the online application, you will need to prepare:
- A resume
- College GPA
- Academic records in public health/health education, nursing, med school, and/or pharmacy
- Two 500-word essays focused on your career aspirations (I'll talk more about these shortly)
How Do You Submit an Application?
The deadline for funding for the 2015-2016 academic year has already passed. The next award cycle’s deadline will likely be June 30, 2016.
All applications are submitted online here. For the first round of the application process, you’ll be asked to submit the materials described above. If you’re chosen as a semifinalist for an award, you may be asked to submit further documentation.
When Do You Find Out Whether You've Been Selected?
For the past award cycle, semi-finalists were notified of their status by the end of July, 2015. Notifications are sent both to award recipients and semi-finalists not selected for the award at the end of August.
The timeline will likely be similar for the upcoming application cycle - you should receive notice of your status as a semi-finalist in July of 2016, and final notice of your status as an award recipient in August of 2016.
How Can You Use Tylenol Future Care Scholarship Money?
If you are awarded a scholarship, a check made out to your school will be sent to your mailing address.
Scholarship funds can be applied to tuition, fees, books, and supplies.
Strategies: How to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Tylenol Scholarship
An independent selection committee will evaluate the applications and select the recipients considering the following factors:
• College GPA
• Academic records in public health/health education, med school, nursing and/or pharmacy
• Community Involvement/Volunteer Service
• Essay content
In the following sections, I’ll discuss the best approaches for increasing your scholarship chances when you address each application component.
Your Career Path
The 2014 winners of the Tylenol Future Care scholarship endorsed pursuing the following career paths. Although it’s impossible to know whether a disproportionate number of applicants are medical students (which could account for the high percentage of med school awardees), it seems as if this scholarship favors future physicians:
Number of 2014 Winners
If you’re applying for this scholarship, you’ve probably already graduated from college (or you’re very close to graduating). There’s not much you can do to boost your GPA after the fact. If you experienced hardships or extenuating circumstances that negatively affected your grades, think of a tactful way to explain those circumstances in one of your essays. This will be especially effective if you frame a hardship as a factor that’s motivated your career path.
For example, if you've experienced an illness or injury which prevented you from performing at your best academically, explain how that experience inspired your healthcare career choices.
This guy's injury to his writing hand definitely didn't make term papers any easier.
Are you already enrolled in a graduate program that would qualify you for this scholarship? Your academic records are your chance to prove that you’re invested in a particular career path.
You can strengthen this component of your scholarship application if you're an undergraduate by strategically selecting your classes. If you're interested in applying to medical school or even nursing programs, for example, you could demonstrate a commitment to your career path by meeting all premed requirements. If you're interested in public health or health education programs, see if you could take classes at your university's school of public health.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to improve your chances as an undergraduate or graduate student is to focus on your academic studies and performance. If you're a strong student, you'll be a strong applicant for all sorts of scholarships, graduate programs, and even future jobs.
Community Involvement & Volunteer Service
You might have deduced that the Tylenol Future Care Scholarship program heavily weighs applicants' community involvement from its motto: "The Future Needs You." It's clear that the strongest applicants will be dedicated to service as professional healthcare specialists or providers. One way you can show your dedication to service before you actually have a career is through relevant volunteer work and/or community involvement.
If you are applying or have already applied to medical school, chances are you have healthcare-related volunteer experience on your resume. But people's interests sometimes change over time - do your volunteer/community involvement experiences lend themselves to an easy-to-follow narrative? If your volunteer interests aren’t directly related to your current career path, use them to discuss how your interests (both academic and professional) have shifted in a logical way.
Focus particularly on any leadership experiences you have, like if you served as a club officer, or if you led any volunteer activities or events. Strong leadership skills are often valued by corporate scholarship programs, because they're expected to predict future success. Programs like the Tylenol Future Care Scholarship want to invest in scholarship recipients who will effect positive change when empowered through education.
These essays give you the chance to convince readers that you're worth investing in.
All applicants will have to submit two 500-word essays focusing on career goals. Past Tylenol Future Care Scholarship winners have been able to articulate why and how they became interested in healthcare through compelling, logical narratives. Here are some examples to give you a better idea of what I mean:
- One 2012 winner named Nmandi noted that when he growing up in Nigeria, he met a US-educated physician who came back to his country to provide medical care to its citizens. As a child, Nmandi did not have access to proper medical care when he was injured. These experiences shaped his passions and interests; as a result, he decided to pursue a career in medicine.
- A 2014 winner and future pharmacist named Johlee understands how healthcare decisions affect families because she grew up with a father who struggled with diabetes. She exhibits a passion for innovation and research in the healthcare industry.
- A 2014 scholarship winner who’s attending Harvard Medical School served for 4 years as an army medic, which shows true dedication to and investment in the field of medicine.
If you're so inclined, you can read more about the 2014 Tylenol Future Care Scholarship winners here.
You'll have your own reasons for pursuing schooling and a career in medicine. They may not be as dramatic as the examples above, but as long as you are genuine in your essays, you’ll come across as likable and authentic. Here are some tips for approaching your own essays:
- Tell a story. Did something spark your interest as a child? Was there one particular experience that made you realize how important medical care/dental care/health education was?
- Be humble. This scholarship is for future healthcare providers, people who dedicate their lives to serving others. Why do you want to serve others? How do you see the opportunity to serve others as a privilege?
- Express gratitude for the scholarship opportunity. How will this scholarship help you in the short term and in the long term? Your short term goals should be related to your academic performance, and your long term goals should be related to your performance as a future health care provider and/or educator.
- Present a polished finished product. Have 1-2 experienced editors or proofreaders look over your essays before you submit them.
The Tylenol Future Care Scholarship isn't the only funding option out there for ambitious students. Check out our guides to the Walmart Scholarship, National Merit Scholarship, and standardized test scholarships.
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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.