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The SIP Alumni Achievement Scholarship: Apply Now

If you’re reading this, it’s likely the SIP Alumni Achievement Scholarship has piqued your interest as a means to further your education. In this guide, we’ll cover every facet of this prestigious award to help you determine if applying is the right decision for your goals and situation.

A Brief History of the Scholarship Program

The SIP Alumni Achievement Scholarship (SIPAAS) was established in 2007 by the nonprofit Study in the Pacific to reward outstanding former SIP students. Study in the Pacific, commonly known as SIP, is an international education organization that has helped over 100,000 students from more than 150 countries gain admission and scholarships to top colleges and universities in North America. Since its founding in 1991, SIP has established itself as a leader in the field of international student advising and support.

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Seeking to give back to the dedicated scholars it has served, SIP created the SIPAAS to celebrate alumni who have gone on to achieve great success following their educational experiences abroad. With this scholarship, SIP aims to support further learning for exemplary former SIP clients as they continue progressing in their personal and professional development. Over the past 15 years, the SIPAAS has awarded over $3 million collectively to deserving recipients worldwide.

Eligibility at a Glance

So, in brief summary, to be eligible for the SIPAAS, an applicant must:

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  • Be a former client of Study in the Pacific who used SIP services to gain admission to a university in North America. Services could include advising, application assistance, editing, etc.
  • Have graduated from the university program that they entered with SIP’s help within the last ten years. Current graduate students are eligible if they are soon finishing their degrees.
  • Demonstrate strong academic performance by maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent). Transcripts will be required.
  • Show evidence of leadership accomplishments, community service, research, or other extracurricular engagement during and after university.
  • Not have received the SIPAAS previously. Applicants may only receive it once.
  • Be enrolled in or admitted to a graduate, post-graduate, or professional degree program starting within 12 months of application.

With the basics out of the way, let’s look at each of these criteria in more detail to gain a nuanced understanding of what SIP considers a qualified candidate. Buckle up – this is going to be an information-packed ride!

Past SIP Clientele Status

Among all the eligibility factors, being a past SIP client is non-negotiable. As mentioned earlier, the core mission of the SIPAAS is giving back to accomplished SIP alumni. To qualify, applicants must provide documentation verifying they worked directly with SIP advisors and used SIP’s admission, application, or other services when entering their prior degree program in North America, whether at the undergraduate or master’s level.

Acceptable proof includes original introduction emails from SIP, advice session notes, application edits, offer letter assistance records, and so on. Records showing communication between the client and SIP related to their university acceptance will serve to validate their alumni status. Those who independently researched schools, applied, and enrolled without SIP involvement will not meet this prerequisite.

It’s important to trace your history with SIP as far back as university admission if applying for the SIPAAS. Don’t leave out any details administrators may need to cross-check. Strong former client documentation will get your application off to a strong start before consideration of other credentials even begins.

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Academic Performance

As hinted in the overview, academic chops are paramount for SIPAAS selection. A minimum overall 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or local equivalent) from the prior degree for which SIP helped with admission is mandatory. Those whose programs utilize different grading schemes, conversion calculators, or assessment sheets from your university may assist SIP in accurately interpreting your standing.

While the bar is set at 3.5, applicants exceeding this mark with near-perfect GPAs of 3.8 or higher will naturally have an edge. Not only is the merit of very high grades evident, but it shows persistence toward academic excellence across many years of dedicated study. Transcripts submitted must cover the applicant’s entire history in their most recently completed degree to provide sufficient context.

It’s also worth mentioning that any incomplete or failed courses on transcripts, even if a high enough GPA is maintained, may raise questions about an applicant’s academic diligence, which they should be prepared to address directly in their personal statement or interviews, should SIP request them. The scholarship prioritizes consistency as well as marks.

Leadership, Activities & Engagement

Beyond the classroom, SIPAAS candidates must illustrate the initiative to engage in enriching experiences that develop them holistically. Competition for this limited prize pool is intense, so providing evidence of meaningful, multi-year involvement in leadership roles, research projects, community service efforts, campus clubs, or other organizations proves your commitment to growth both as a student and a global citizen.

No activity is too small to highlight – whether co-founding a charity, captaining a sports team, winning research awards, or taking the lead in class projects. Emphasizing the impact of your efforts and learning gained from challenges will resonate with reviewers. With many sterling applicants, specificity in chronicling the timeline and accomplishments of each responsibility assumed shows the compelling dedication they seek.

Where strong data is unavailable – say, to transfer students or those completing degrees abroad – there are other viable options like published papers, internships, volunteering, conferences or grants. Get creative if conventional groups are not accessible. What matters is entrepreneurial initiative outside of credits earned that prepares you for future success through hands-on, real-world application of your education.

Post-Graduation Credentials

Though the SIPAAS eligibility window extends ten years after using SIP initially, the sweet spot exists within the last 3-5 years after completing the degree for which SIP aided admission. This considers the natural cycle of most applicants pursuing further qualifications promptly to advance their career trajectories.

Some examples meeting this standard could include a Master’s degree completed in the last 1-3 years, current enrollment in an accredited doctoral program, or acceptance to begin specialized industry certifications by application time.

While employment experience alone does not fulfill this final condition, the strength of your career arc to date can bolster other application materials through proven transferrable skills. Just avoid lengthy career gaps without education pursuits or a clear plan in place, as SIP will wish to fund candidates actively improving their career potential.

So, in summary, show that your academic journey persistently marches forward even following the graduation SIP made possible long ago. Explain how awarding you will empower further progression in your selected field or discovery of new specializations. Ambition and continued learning processes resonate greatly with the screening committee.

The Application Process

Now that we have a complete picture of eligibility standards and what makes for a highly competitive candidate, let’s review how to formally enter the SIPAAS selection process. Here are the key steps:

  1. Register on the SIPAAS application portal at www.sipalumnischolarship.org and set up your profile by January 15th. This includes basic documentation uploads to prove your SIP alumni status.
  2. Complete the full online application form by responding to essay questions by February 1st. You’ll describe your background, future goals, extracurriculars, and how this award fits into your broader academic pursuits.
  3. Request two letters of recommendation be submitted online directly to SIP. Make sure to provide ample notice to your recommenders. Teachers and former supervisors work best.
  4. Gather all required supporting documents and upload them by the deadline. This includes official transcripts, activity reports, awards listings, ID cards, and other materials.
  5. Selected semi-finalists may be interviewed in late February/early March. SIPAAS coordinators may wish to learn more about a few candidates in live video chats.
  6. Final awardees will be notified by March 15th. Award amounts vary in value between $5,000-$25,000 USD depending on need, credentials, and available funding each cycle.

Simple as that! Just be sure everything is submitted prior to the listed due dates below. Now read on for some commonly asked questions explaining specifics.

FAQ 1 – Can I Apply If I’m Not in North America?

While the SIPAAS targets those studying within the geographic region of North America, some international flexibility exists. Here are the options:

  • If you completed your prior degree that SIP assisted within the US or Canada, you remain eligible no matter your current location.
  • If accepted to begin a new program anywhere in North America by the upcoming academic calendar year, you can apply while temporarily residing overseas.
  • If your bachelor’s via SIP was outside of North America but you possess a recent offer letter from a graduate program within, the committee may consider your application on a case-by-case basis.

However, those permanently based internationally without current/imminent North American university admission generally do not qualify due to this award’s geographic funding scope. But don’t lose hope – look into SIP’s Global Alumni Scholarship as an alternative!

FAQ 2 – What if I Don’t Yet Have a New Program to Enter?

The SIPAAS application guidelines state you must be accepted into a new degree program starting within 12 months of applying. But SIP understands plans can change – this rule allows flexibility for life events outside your control.

If you have not secured admission yet but intend to apply within the upcoming application cycles, you may still enter the scholarship contest provided you:

  • Submit intended program/university targets and intended application timeline as part of your candidacy.
  • Agree to defer the monetary award until confirmation of acceptance arrives. Funds will be held until you provide offer documentation.
  • Understand final funding is contingent upon gaining admission as outlined. If alternate plans materialize, the award commitment may be withdrawn.

This grace period accommodates applicants wishing to focus on SIPAAS efforts before embarking on new program applications. Just be sure your aspirations are reasonable and clearly delineated to satisfy any concerns over conditional entries. Communication is key if scenarios shift after the fact.

Overall, SIP prefers awarding motivated individuals who can immediately utilize grant monies for tuition. However, rare cases of pending admission may still permit participation with honest disclosure.

FAQ 3 – Can I Apply for Both the SIPAAS and Another Scholarship?

Yes, SIP understands high-achieving candidates will pursue various funding sources. They do not prohibit applicants entering other concurrent scholarship competitions. However, you may only accept one award if successful with multiple applications.

Notify SIP promptly about other applications and commit to honoring the terms of whichever scholarship you are granted, should it conflict with SIPAAS requirements. Full transparency protects your eligibility with all funders.

FAQ 4 – What if I Need to Defer Starting My New Program by a Year?

The SIPAAS intends grants to support education beginning within 12 months, as deferred starts can jeopardize award retention. However, if life events beyond your control interfere, one 12-month program deferral may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

When requesting an exception, submit detailed explanations with evidence like medical or family issues. Also, prove intent to begin the intended degree as soon as circumstances allow. If approved, award funds will be held until then, contingent on the new planned start. However, multiple deferrals cannot be accommodated.

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