Important Information for Scholarship Applicants
Important Information and Instructions for Applicants
AACN’s scholarship program is designed to promote lifelong learning, personal reflection and professional growth. The program may fund academic activities on a limited basis, but that would be because a specific academic course aligns with an applicant’s development plan rather than because an entire academic curriculum results in earning a degree or credential as the end point.
Applicants are advised to be very specific when describing how they will achieve their individual goals through the proposed activity for which they are requesting funding.
In the application, applicants are asked to reflect on their own knowledge gaps and answer these questions when they write their essays:
- What don’t I know?
- What do I want to know?
- How do I plan to acquire the knowledge I lack?
- How will the new knowledge gained be applied in my practice?
Applicants must show a direct link between the content of the learning activity they are proposing and what they need to learn in order to overcome the gaps in their knowledge and skills. When submitting for a course that is part of a structured (academic) program, focus on the content of a specific course and show how that content fills an individual learning gap.
Do not submit for a general academic program that covers a number of courses over a period of months or years. Applicants are encouraged to focus on their own personal learning journey, rather than on simply meeting the requirements for a structured degree program.
- Current active (RN status) membership in AACN at time of application and throughout the term of the funded activity is required.
- Members of the AACN and AACN Certification Corporation board of directors and national office staff are not eligible.
Applications will be evaluated on the basis of how well applicants demonstrate these criteria:
- Applicants must be able to assess and articulate gaps in their own knowledge and skills.
- Applicants must be able to set professional learning goals on the basis of identified gaps.
- Applicants must be able to identify and evaluate learning opportunities that will move them toward achieving their goals.
- How do I plan to acquire the knowledge I lack?
- How will I apply the new knowledge to my practice?
- Applicants must present a detailed budget of expenses for funding the proposed learning activity.
Applicants must present a descriptive accounting of expenses associated with the proposed learning activity. Provide specific dollar amounts for each budget item and a total for the activity proposed.
Funding may be used for registration fees and associated expenses of travel, lodging and incidentals. Up to $750 will allowed for travel-related expenses, when travel is required.
A maximum of $3,000 per person per year may be available. Preference will be given to applicants who have not been previously funded.
Partial funding may be awarded.
Applicants must submit the following:
- Completed scholarship application;
- All sections must be complete; incomplete applications will not be processed.
- Use only Microsoft Word for your application and save your file with your last name in the filename and with the .doc file extension.
- CV or resume, which may be submitted as .PDF or MS Word file.
Be sure to use the most current version of the application, which is posted on the website, when you are submitting or resubmitting: www.aacn.org/scholarships
Completed application and resume must be submitted together by email as specified above (MS Word file for application and Word or .PDF for resume) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include your name in the subject line of the email and attach your files. Use your last name in the filename of your attachments. Use .doc file extension for MS Word files.
Double-check your application before submitting to ensure that you have followed all instructions. Review Tips for Finishing Your Application below.
Previous Scholarship Recipients
See which members have received funding and the learning activities they have undertaken.
Evaluations and Awarding of Funds
Applications will be evaluated and scholarships will be awarded on the basis of the following:
- Ability to assess and articulate gaps in the applicant’s own knowledge and skills
- Ability to set professional learning goals on the basis of identified gaps
- Ability to identify and evaluate learning opportunities that will move the applicant toward achieving his or her goals
- Clarity and appropriateness of the projected budget of expenses for funding the proposed learning activity
Funds awarded will be sent directly to recipients. Recipients will be required to provide their Social Security number or tax ID number; AACN is required by the IRS to file Form 1099-MISC.
Scholarship funding is considered taxable income to recipients unless the recipient qualifies under IRS definitions, in which case recipients may elect to have funds paid to their institution.
Timing of Submissions
Consider the time frame for your proposed learning activity and submit your scholarship application at least four to six months in advance of beginning your proposed activity in order to allow adequate time for evaluation. Scholarship applications may be submitted any time throughout the year. Applications will be processed on a continuous and ongoing basis.
The decisions of AACN are final. AACN reserves the right to publish statements submitted by scholarship recipients.
Tips for Finishing Your Application
- Read through the instructions thoroughly and follow them.
- Proofread your application carefully.
- Avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes.
- A scholarship application isn't judged specifically on those elements, but they add to (or detract from) the strength of its presentation and reflect favorably (or not) on the applicant.
- Follow directions and do not skip questions.
- Put the most important information at the beginning of your essay and the least important information at the end.
- Pull your reader in so they want to read your essay.
- Talk about how the learning activity you are proposing will help you overcome the gaps in your knowledge and skills.
- Make sure you clearly convey your gaps in your knowledge and skills within your application so that the reviewers can get a clear picture of who you are and what sets you apart from the rest of the applicants.
- Provide examples in your essay that support your self-evaluation.
- In developing your learning plan, be as specific as possible when you are linking your proposed learning activity to the gaps in your knowledge and skills.
- Adhere to word limits and don’t edit your essay to death.
- Be specific, rather than general in your statements.
- Have at least one other person read your application.
- Another set of eyes (or several) can be invaluable in strengthening an application.
- Ask a trusted colleague or a mentor to compare your application with the criteria and tell you how well they think you made your case.
- Reflect objectively on their suggestions and adjust your essays accordingly.
- Reviews are blinded and reviewers will not see your CV or resume during the evaluation process.
- Include any pertinent information from your CV on your application.
- Do not include other materials as they will not be reviewed.
AACN’s Expectations of Scholarship Recipients
- Recipients will be expected to submit an evaluation to AACN after completing the funded learning activity, documenting their experiences and how it helped them achieve their goals.
- Recipients’ names will be included in AACN’s volunteer database as scholarship recipients.
You will be asked to include the following:
Use the interactive form found at www.aacn.org/scholarships.
- Complete contact information
- AACN membership number and expiration date (Note: Your AACN membership must be current at the time of application and funding, and must remain current for the duration of your funded activity)
Proposed Learning Activity
- Title, dates, location and sponsor of learning activity
- Content description
Assessment of Gaps in Knowledge and Skills
Describe the gaps in your knowledge and skills. How will these gaps be addressed by participating in the proposed learning activity? Answer the questions: What don’t you know? What do you want to know? (300 words)
Learning Plan Goal Statement and Vision
Describe your learning plan and your goals for addressing the gaps identified above and how the learning activity you are proposing will help you achieve your professional goals. In developing your learning plan, be as specific as possible when you are linking your proposed learning activity to the gaps in your knowledge and skills. (300 words)
How will you use the knowledge gained and apply it to your area of nursing practice, your association with AACN, and/or nursing as a profession? Answer the questions: How do you plan to acquire the knowledge you lack? How will you apply the new knowledge to your practice?
List organizational memberships, community activities, related presentations and other relevant professional activities that prepare you to take advantage of the learning experience you are proposing. Include all relevant information here, and do not reference your CV as reviews are blinded and reviewers will not see your CV. (300 words)
How much money will be required to participate in the activity you have proposed? Clearly state the fees and specific total dollar amount you are requesting and provide a detailed breakdown of expenses. Include the URL of the sponsoring organization for AACN’s use in verifying fees.
Submitting Your Finished Application
Carefully follow the instructions provided. Incomplete or improperly submitted applications will not be processed.
Remember to include your CV or resume in a separate MS Word or .PDF file from your application in MS Word. Send both files in one email to email@example.com, with your last name in the subject line of your email. Include all pertinent information on your application.
Your CV is for AACN’s use only. Reviewers will not see your CV; they judge on the basis of applications only. Do not send other documents.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.