University of Oregon

College of Design

Scholarship Application Resources

Welcome to the School of Architecture & Allied Arts scholarship application resource page.  Here you will find helpful tips and information about how to upload your portfolio, approach faculty for recommendations, how to write a personal essay and other steps to help make sure your application is as complete and well-presented as possible!

Tips for Obtaining Faculty Recommendations

Most scholarship applications in A&AA will require at least one faculty recommendation and typically two.  This does NOT have to be submitted at the same time as the application, but does need to be submitted by the application deadline.  The tips below are from faculty in A&AA, and students are strongly encouraged to read them carefully and follow the advice:

Recommendations are a courtesy to a student. Making a recommendation on a student’s behalf takes time and thought, and most faculty members will make a recommendation unless they can write a favorable one. Each faculty member gets multiple requests for recommendations! Make sure you make your request with plenty of time ahead of the deadline, preferably up to two weeks.

The application materials students submit are objective and quantitative (e.g. GPA, GREs, class standing). Recommendations are an important exception; they should mention students’ positive qualities that are not revealed by objective data. A substantive letter from an informed referee can often be persuasive to evaluating committees, especially in “borderline” decisions.

Before requesting a recommendation, ask yourself: Does the faculty member know me well enough?  Can the faculty member strongly recommend me? 

When you ask for a recommendation:

1. Ask politely and courteously, preferably by email with a follow-up personal conversation.  Stopping a faculty member in the hallway is not an effective way to ask.

2. Ask at least two weeks in advance of the deadline.

3. Send a friendly reminder to the faculty member a few days before the due date. This could be in the form of a “thank you.”

4. When the recommendation has been sent, the faculty member may let you know. Remember to thank them at this time.

5. When you receive the results of your application, let the faculty member know.

Tips for Uploading Your Portfolio:

Uploading your portfolio to an online location is not only a required component of the A&AA annual scholarship application process, but it is also increasingly a skill you need to know to compete in the job market. A number of resources are available for you if you need assistance:

1. Students at the UO campus in Eugene can get assistance to compose and upload a portfolio through the A&AA Professional Development and Outreach for Students (PODS) office.
277 Lawrence Hall

2. Additional online resources for information or actual uploading sites include:

Tips for Writing Your Personal Essay / Statement

Scholarship applications in A&AA will include a writing sample from you in the form of a personal essay or statement.  Here are some tips to help you be successful.

1.  Be willing to put time into a thoughtful essay.  In A&AA, your essay length typically will only be up to 300 words - this is not even a full, double-spaced page!  The rest of your application already provides the reviewing committee with facts about your background; this is where you can tell them more about yourself, as an individual.  Why did you choose this area of study?  What or whom inspired or motivated you?  Be appropriately descriptive so the committee has a sense of who you are, why you are in A&AA, and where you hope to go after you graduate.  Be sure to include how receiving a scholarship would have impact for you.

2.  Your writing mechanics matter!  Be aware of communicating well - basic rules of grammar and paragraph cohesion will be noted by the committee.  If you'd like your essay reviewed or you need any help, the UO's Teaching and Learning Center provides online resources as well as drop-in and appointment assistance for paper review and polishing. 

Finally, ask questions!  Faculty and staff are here to help you succeed in all ways possible.  If you have any questions about any part of a scholarship application, visit with the staff in the department or program in which you are a major.