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Frequently Asked Questions

Note: The deadline to submit applications ONLINE is January 9, 2018 (extended) December 23, 2017 (see details on 2018 Scholarship Application)

Please read these Tips for Success (see file below) in addition to the FAQ listed below.

Can anyone apply for this scholarship?

Applicants must be a permanent resident of or attend school in the South San Francisco Bay Area, which are located in the following zip codes: 94002-94003, 94010-94011, 94018-94028, 
94030, 94035, 94037-94043, 94059-94065, 
94070-94071, 94074, 94086-94091, 
943**, 944**, 94536-94546, 94552, 
94555, 94557, 94560, 94587, 950**, 951**

What is the criteria for college enrollment?

Students should be enrolled full time and attend college that has ABET or CSAB accredited engineering programs. Other interdisciplinary engineering or computer science programs may qualify as well. If your program is one of these, please write to find out if your program is accepted.  

Once awarded, proof of enrollment will be requested at the beginning of the school year. Once proof is received and accepted, the scholarship will be paid directly to the college/university's bursar's office. Each receipt will be required to submit a verification of enrollment document (on the institution’s letterhead) to SWE-SCV and must contain the following information: 
  • Current engineering and/or computer science program of study 
  • Semester/quarter enrolled
  • Number of credits you are taking
  • Current classes you are taking (Please note that your course work must be engineering and/or computer science related)
  • The document you provide must be a verification of enrollment that is on your institution’s letterhead. This letter can be obtained by your institution’s bursar's office.

Are need-based scholarships available?

We offer both merit-based and need-based scholarships.

What information should I have prepared before going through the submission process?

As part of the application, we will ask you to provide:
  • Academic history
  • Employment history
  • Activities
  • Honors and awards
  • One essay plus an optional needs based essay
  • The names of two references who will write letters of recommendation that you submit or they send to us by email. Please have their names and titles for the application form.  [NOTE: these can be sent separately by the recommender to the SWE-SCV Scholarships email address below]
We will also ask you to submit digital versions of these.
  • Application form
  • A current transcript
  • Unoffficial report of standardized test scores
  • A letter of recommendation from each of your references [NOTE: these can be sent separately by the recommender to the SWE-SCV Scholarships email address below]
  • Resume (list of awards, applicable employment, etc.)
  • Essay (if not included in the application form)

Do I have to finish the application in one session?

The JotForm input form must be completed in one session. So be sure to have all your files ready.   If you are waiting for a transcript or letter of recommendation and it is close to the deadline, please submit what you have and write to  letting us know and send those files separately by email as soon as possible. At some point, we will need to move on and may not be able to accept incomplete applications. You can submit the files via JotForm by submitting a "new application", just provide the files that were missing (no need to send the files from your prior application). All supplemental files are due by January 16, 2018. The application & essay are due by January 9, 2018.   (Dates were extended from earlier dates).

What is the SWE mailing address for my transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation?

Please send all files digitally through the JotForm application whose link is found at Scholarship Application, or if your submittal is incomplete, please send anything extra to   Be sure to put your full name in the email so we can match it up!

If you have some difficulty sending these files digitally, you can send to SWE Santa Clara Valley's address is below, though that is not preferred. All items should be post marked by January 9, 2018 (to ensure they arrive by January 16, 2018).  ALSO send an email to above address so we can look for it. 

SWE Santa Clara Valley Section – Scholarships
PO Box 61333
Sunnyvale, CA 94088-1333 

What are the essay questions?

Main Essay: The National Academy of Engineering has posed 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering

  1. Make solar energy affordable
  2. Provide energy from fusion
  3. Develop carbon sequestration methods
  4. Manage the nitrogen cycle
  5. Provide access to clean water
  6. Restore and improve urban infrastructure
  7. Advance health informatics
  8. Engineer better medicines
  9. Reverse-engineer the brain
  10. Prevent nuclear terror
  11. Secure cyberspace
  12. Enhance virtual reality
  13. Advance personalized learning
  14. Engineer the tools for scientific discovery

Your essay should cover these three pieces: (a) Select one challenge and why you selected it. (b) explain how you would development a solution to solving this challenge, and (c) share unique perspectives you can bring as a female to this solution. If you select a challenge not on this list, please expand on your explanation of why you selected it. Your essay should be less than 1000 words.

Essays will be checked for plagiarism!

NOTE: if you are a prior applicant, write a new essay on another subject.

Needs Based Essay: If you feel you qualify for a needs based scholarship, please tell us how this scholarship will financially assist you in pursuing your academic career 250 words or less).

My question isn't answered here?

Reach out to our Scholarship Chairs Erika and Ceal at
Ceal Craig,
Nov 16, 2017, 12:52 PM