Spotlight on America’s Top Scholarships: Microsoft Scholarship Program

Microsoft Scholarship Program

Offered by: Microsoft Corporation

About the Organization

Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975, the Microsoft Corporation dominates as one of the world’s largest technology companies.  Bill Gates and Paul Allen were just nineteen and twenty-two years old when they sold their first program to a small computer company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since then, Microsoft has grown into a multinational corporation and has revolutionized the market for the PC or personal computer, contributing to the rapid growth of the digital age. Now headquartered in Redmond, Washington, the company is well known for producing a wide range of software for desktops and is active within other areas such as internet search, the video game industry, and mobile phones.

Fun fact: Microsoft holds over 10,000 patents and files around 3,000 every year, ranking it as one of the top five patent owners in the United States.

Scholarship Background

Taking advantage of its position as one of the largest companies in the world, Microsoft has embraced the responsibility to contribute positively to society with one of these ways being through education. The Microsoft Scholarship Program provides support for the next generation of innovative computer engineers, programmers, and software developers throughout North America.  With promising career opportunities, “computer geeks” have nothing but a bright future ahead. In addition to General Scholarships, Microsoft offers three other  types of technical scholarships to encourage students who are underrepresented in the field to pursue a tech career: Women’s Scholarships, Minority Scholarships, and Scholarships for Students with Disabilities.

Who Qualifies

The program is open to undergraduate students who have an interest in pursuing a career related to computer science. Students may be pursuing a degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a related technical discipline, such as electrical engineering, math, or physics. Students should be enrolled in a four-year program and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. International students may also apply, but they must attend school in the United States, Canada, or Mexico.

Application Process

Because Microsoft seeks to award driven students, the application process requires more than just the typical personal statement. In an essay, you must respond to the following prompts: describe how you demonstrate your passion for technology outside the classroom; describe the toughest technical problem you’ve worked on, how you addressed the problem, your role in reaching the outcome if it was team-based, and the final outcome; describe a situation that demonstrates initiative and your willingness to go above and beyond; and describe how you are currently funding your college education.  In addition, a resume and letter of referral from a faculty member or an academic adviser must included. You’ll also be required to apply for the Microsoft Internship Program.

Annual Application Window

The program usually opens during the fall and closes in early February of each year.

Tips on How to Win

This scholarship program is very competitive, so “streamlined” should best describe your finished application. The essay portion will be your chance to convey your dedication to a career in technology. Be sure to begin this early so you have enough time to review, revise, and ask for suggestions from an academic adviser or faculty member.

When you are crafting your essay responses, allow for your passion for technology to shine. Think back to what sparked your interest in technology in the first place and make sure to detail this in your essay. Also think of activities you have participated in outside the classroom that demonstrate your interest in computers, science, math, or technology.  Microsoft embraces creative individuals who can think outside of the box, so if you solved your most challenging technical problem in an unconventional way, elaborate on how you did so. Can you think of a time where you have had to go above and beyond to achieve successful results? Write about a time where you might have had to rise to the occasion to display leadership skills, ambition, or resourcefulness. Make sure that your responses relate to technology and your interest in pursuing a career related to computer science.