by Deonte Horton, ’17
We all know that summer break is great, but going home and doing mundane things that one may or may not be interested in isn’t the best way to continue one’s education. Thankfully, life doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom because there is a remedy . . . designing a LAP summer learning experience and pursuing funding to support it!
Summer funding provides a great opportunity for someone (like you!) to try something that they (no, you!) are really passionate about or want to try out. Before you apply for funding, here are a few things you need to know:
When the Application is Due:
The deadline for submitting your funding proposal is 5:00 p.m. on the Monday after Spring Break. This year that day falls on March 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm. After this there is little leeway in terms of getting an extension, so you need to get your application turned in by this deadline.
What the Application Process Involves:
The first form is the application itself. This proposal form asks that you explain what your project is in detail, and what you are going to learn from this summer learning experience. The key to success with this part of the application is to state a clear plan, and articulate how it ties to your interests and educational goals at Beloit.
The second part of the application is the Common Grant budget form. To complete this form you will lay out your costs in detail. Each aspect of your budget should be explicitly labeled, as miscellaneous expenses are not covered. For more information on what costs the common grant will and will not cover, please see the document, “Important Information about the Common Grant”.
The third form is a recommendation form, which is to be completed by a faculty or staff member who is familiar with your project. The recommendation is also due by the March 13th deadline.
The last component of the application process is submitting your unofficial transcript. For those of you who may not be aware, you can download a copy of your unofficial transcript from the Portal.
Common Misconceptions with Summer Funding:
There are a few misconceptions about this funding opportunity, one being that group projects are not covered. While a group of people cannot apply for funding as a single unit, each individual member can apply for funding to do the same project. This means that each person would have to complete all three forms listed above before the deadline. That being said, each individual member is assessed based on their application as an individual and not as a group. Therefore, it would be possible for some members to get funding and others to be denied. For this reason, it is extremely important that each individual member of the group explains how this program is beneficial to their learning/academic goals at Beloit.
Another misconception is that this grant does NOT pay for students to take classes. It does to an extent; summer funding can cover the cost of tuition for classes which are not offered by Beloit College.
Also something to note is that students can apply for funds to attend conferences during the summer, but common grant funds are not available for attending conferences during the school year. For students who are presenting at a conference during the school year, they can apply for funds via their department (funding available depends on your specific department) or via the Provosts’ office.
Now that you have all the basic knowledge about the application process, here are a few basic tips for success.
This is more of a general tip for life, but it is especially helpful for applying for funding. We all know that each semester goes by fast and both unexpected and unexpected things come up. For this reason, it would be in your best interest to get it done as soon as possible. The sooner you start the better chance you have of applying on time.
Use the LAPC.
Remember that house at the corner of College Street and Emerson? We are great at helping you think through the different aspects of the application process. Believe me, this is what we live for. If you set up an appointment with us, you will come away with a better way of looking at the application and how to approach it. Again, the earlier you see us the better, as it gets harder and more stressful for everyone if you wait too late.
Bring a Rough Draft.
Before your meeting with a LAPC staff person, write down your own ideas for proposals that we can talk about at the meeting . . . or better yet, fill out the Rough Draft Application on the LAPC site! This will allow the LAPC staff person to critique your application more closely and give you the confidence that you are moving in the right direction.
There Must Be Learning Goals in your Proposal.
In the traditional Beloit fashion for just about all opportunities, you are asked to make connections between opportunities both in and out of the classroom. Without this key element, your proposal will be lacking. Throughout the application process, keep in mind what you are trying to learn, how has your background (both in and out of the classroom) prepared you to take advantage of this opportunity, how this applies to your academic, professional, and/or personal goals, and how you will share your newfound knowledge with others. Keeping these things in mind–and stating them outright–will ensure that you are on the right track to completing a well-thought out and realistic proposal.