FINANCIAL AID

Northridge Scholarship Program Pre-Application Information

The Northridge Scholarship Program is intended for undergraduate students and is comprised of the:

  • GE Honors Rising Scholar Award
  • University Scholarship
  • Presidential Scholarship

The University Scholarship is intended for, but not restricted to, underclassmen who are interested in pursuing campus activities, leadership opportunities, or opportunities for academic development.

The Presidential Scholarship is intended for upperclassmen who are pursuing or interested in pursuing a research project or community-based project under the guidance of a faculty mentor in the upcoming academic year.

The Presidential and University Scholarships are merit-based awards and do not require demonstrated financial need. You can submit applications for both the University and Presidential Scholarships. However, note that competitive applicants will only be offered one scholarship award.

Below you will find information regarding each scholarship opportunity. Review the information for the opportunity you are interested in applying to and submit the required survey located at the bottom of the section. A survey is required for each opportunity you apply to. Remember to click the submit button on your survey.

GE Honors Rising Scholar Award

First-time freshmen who apply to GE Honors Program by the program deadline and meet the scholarship eligibility requirements are eligible to apply for the GE Honors Rising Scholar Award.

The GE Honors Rising Scholar Award will recognize 10 first-time freshmen admitted to the General Education Honors program with a $5,000, which may be renewed for a second year based on maintaining GPA, program participation, and enrollment requirements. The GE Honors Program combines scholarship funds, enhanced curriculum and a variety of co-curricular activities aimed at increasing the academic success of high achieving students.

All students who meet the criteria below will be eligible to participate in the General Education Honors program and may apply for the GE Honors Rising Scholars Award through the myMatador Scholarship Portal:

  • Have been admitted to CSUN as a first-time freshman;
  • Have applied to and accepted admission to the GE Honors Program before April 30;
  • Have a high school GPA of 3.75 or higher and an SAT combined score (verbal + math) of 1200 OR an ACT score of 27;
  • Have completed and filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) online by the March 2nd priority deadline;

The GE Honors Rising Scholar Award may be renewed for a second year if a student meets the first-year conditions, continues to enroll full-time each term of the academic year, maintains a minimum 3.5 CSUN GPA, and is on track to complete four (4) GE Honors courses total by the end of the second year.

Admission to the General Education University Honors Program does not automatically qualify a student for the GE Honors Rising Scholar Award. Scholarship winners are determined through a separate competitive process and must meet eligibility requirements, including financial need.

The GE Honors program application is available at www.csun.edu/undergraduate-studies/ge-honors

University Scholarship

The University Scholarship award encourages the scholarly development and engagement of continuing CSUN students. Scholarship recipients must be full-time undergraduates during their award year.

University Scholars are funded to allow for the opportunity to deeply explore their fields of interest through internships, extracurricular activities, community engagement, etc. and to develop mentoring relationships with faculty members. Ideally, University Scholars will use the year awarded to prepare for the Presidential Scholarship competition.

Scholarship Benefits:

  • $7,500 Scholarship
  • Textbook Discount at the Matador Bookstore (25%)
  • Priority Registration for classes
    • Priority Registration is helpful for getting the classes and professors that work best for you and your schedule
  • Opportunity to apply for a one-time scholarship renewal.
    • In order to renew the University Scholarship students must submit a renewal application detailing the scholarly project or activity they plan to pursue. The student should build on the experiences of the initial award year.
    • Renewal is not automatic. Renewal applications will be reviewed alongside new applicants.

Eligibility

  • This scholarship is open to undergraduate students intending to enroll full-time (12+ units) during the Fall 2021 & Spring 2022 terms.
  • Must have completed or on track to complete at least 24 CSUN units by the end of the Spring 2021 term to apply.
  • Minimum cumulative GPA 3.25 which you must maintain during the award year.
  • Must participate in scholarly development/engagement activities during the award year (minimum 3 activities per term)
  • Financial need is not required, this is a merit-based scholarship
  • International students are eligible to apply
  • Renewal students must attend the Presidential Scholar End of Year Exhibit (TBD)
  • You must complete the online Northridge Scholarship Program Application Workshop.

Second bachelor degree students, graduate students, credential students, students enrolled through Tseng College and those graduating in the Fall 2021 term are not eligible to apply.

If selected for this award, enrollment will be verified over the summer, before the award year. Enrollment changes will result in forfeiture of the award

Application Process

  • Submit a University Scholars application using the online scholarship application located online at myMatadorScholarships. Please note that you will be required to complete the General Application before you can apply for the University Scholarship.
    1. The General Application (profile) will allow the scholarship portal to match you to any scholarship opportunities you may be eligible for as they are added to the portal. Once new scholarships become available, you will receive an email notice notifying you of the new opportunities.
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from a Northridge faculty member. The faculty member must submit the recommendation through scholarship portal.
    1. You will have the opportunity to input the name and email address of your recommender directly in the application. Once you save your application, an email notification indicating your reference letter request will be automatically sent to the individual you indicated.
    2. Your recommender must log in to the scholarship portal to submit your reference. They can follow the link in the system generated email they receive.
  • Submit a Degree Progress Report (DPR) through the myMatador Scholarship portal. You can access your DPR on the myNorthridge Portal.
  • Submit a detailed academic plan signed by your academic department advisor.
  • Respond to the essay prompts
  • Scholarship Essay

    Applicants will be evaluated primarily on the quality of their essay responses. Your essays must highlight personal strengths, such as motivation, creativity, self-confidence, maturity, concern for others, and awareness of current issues. Grammar, structure, spelling and clarity will also be considered. If you need further assistance, have someone else proofread your essay at the CSUN Learning Resource Center.

    Essay prompts:

    1. Describe your academic and career goals:
      1. What motivates you to excel in your major?
      2. How will your experiences at California State University, Northridge guide you in your future endeavors?
    2. Describe your scholarly development: What types of activities are you involved in, on and off campus? How have your experiences, accomplishments and/or obstacles in your life or in school influenced your academic and career path?
    3. Please describe the scholarly activities you plan to pursue during the award year and how the University Scholarship will assist you in your pursuits? Ex. Internships, Lab Research, Organization/Club Leadership Positions, Conferences, etc.

    Tips:

    • Answer the essay prompt clearly. Your ability to address a highly specific topic is a big part of what is being assessed. While it can be easy for your thoughts to meander, stick directly to the prompt and make sure to answer every question. Be specific, succinct yet descriptive in your writing. Do not give generalizations, assume the reader does not know anything about you or your life story, experiences, goals, or motivation
    • Paint a vivid picture, instead of just explaining everything. Create a picture, and provide specific, believable examples. For example, don’t just say that you’re stressed out by juggling work and college. Illustrate what that stress looks like in your life: Are you pulling all-nighters and pounding coffee? Doing homework on your breaks at work?
    • Leave yourself enough time to work on the prompt. You want to plan, draft, and revise your essay, not submit a first draft. You will have a much better chance of catching simple errors and find places for improvement.

    Letters of Recommendation

    Letters of recommendation that highlight classroom experience and extracurricular activities will be given the greatest weight.

    Tips:

    • Recommenders must be appropriate references. They need to be able to address in what capacity they have known the student, talk about the student's academic strengths, accomplishments, promise and passion for their academic field, academic and career goals, as well as non-academic activities indicative of aptitude for the student’s field of interest.
      • Family, friends, high school staff/faculty after your freshman year here at CSUN are NOT appropriate people to ask.
      • Appropriate references can include Professors, advisors, and mentors. Consider asking a professor you have taken multiple courses with or whose research you are interested in to start.
    • Once you identify a potential reference provider, request to make an appointment to speak to the faculty member about a scholarship opportunity you are interested in (or the faculty member may suggest you come to an office hour).
      • Let them know that you are interested in applying for the University Scholarship, explain what the scholarship requirements are and why you think you are a good fit. Ask them if they will be able to support your application by providing a letter of recommendation on your behalf.
      • Prepare a brag sheet, resume, or CV to share with your intended reference provider so that they may familiarize themselves with your interest, background, and accomplishments – all which they can use to write your letter of recommendation.
    • Both the students and the writers of their letters of recommendations are notified when documents have not been submitted with an upcoming deadline, so students should follow up with their references to ensure successful submission. Consider giving your reference 3-5 weeks’ time to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf.
    • If anyone has technical issues with submitting their Letter of Recommendations, they are welcome to contact the scholarship office for further troubleshooting.

    Responsibilities

    If you are selected to be a University Scholar, you must commit to engaging with the campus community and pursuing scholarly development.

    Examples of scholarly activities:

    • Additional coursework/ honors coursework
    • Internships
    • Research projects
    • Conference presentations.
    • Organization/Club Leadership Positions
    • Community projects (starting/implementing/evaluating)
    • Community/Volunteer work
    • Service learning
    • Develop a mentor/mentee relationship with a faculty member

    Additional Responsibilities:

    • Submit a complete progress report at the end of Fall semester.
    • Maintain a 3.25 GPA each semester of the award year
    • Attend the Northridge Scholars Program reception.
    • Must participate in scholarly development/engagement activities during the award year (minimum 3 activities per term)
      • Development/engagement activities must be completed in order to remain in good standing for the scholarship award. Failure to participate in the required activities may result in a withdrawal of the scholarship award. A write up will be required for each event attended.
    • Scholars are highly encouraged to attend the Advancement to Graduate Studies conference in the Fall of the award year.

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    Presidential Scholarship

    The NSP Presidential Scholarship affords CSUN undergraduate students the opportunity to work with faculty mentors on significant original work. Students are funded to undertake a research, creative, or applied project that will advance their chosen field of interest and/or contribute to the CSUN community. To be eligible for this award, students must develop their own project which is independent of their mentor’s current ongoing research – while the proposed project can be tangentially related, it must be the student’s original work.

    Presidential Scholars must develop, complete, and present their outlined project during the Annual Presidential Scholarship Exhibit at the end of the Spring semester of their award year.

    The Presidential Scholarship is geared towards upperclassman who have ties to the campus community, an interest in a particular academic or career field, and the ability to commit to a yearlong project. This scholarship is not a one-time award, rather it is a yearlong commitment to your academic development.

    By applying to be a Presidential Scholar, you are not only applying for financial support, but you are applying to join a community of scholars. This scholarship will give you the opportunity to meet other students who are on the same trajectory as you.

    Scholarship Benefits:

  • $10,000 Scholarship
  • Textbook Discount at the Matador Bookstore (25%)
  • Priority Registration for classes
    • Priority Registration is helpful for getting the classes and professors that work best for you and your schedule
  • Reception at the University House where you will have the opportunity network with key administrators and fellow scholars.
  • Opportunity to apply for a one-time scholarship renewal
    • In order to renew the Presidential Scholarship students must submit a new project or propose to build or continue to develop a new aspect of their initial project.
  • Eligibility Criteria

    • This scholarship is open to undergraduate students intending to enroll full-time (12+ units) during Fall 2021 & Spring 2022 term.
    • Continuing students must complete at least 60 units by the end of the Spring term of the application year.
    • Transfer students must complete at least 24 units at CSUN by the end of Spring term of the application year (and have at least 60 total units)
    • Minimum cumulative GPA 3.50 which you must maintain during the award year.
    • Applicants must commit to present the project or research at the CSUNPosium or a professional conference in the Spring 2022 term.
    • Financial need is not required, this is a merit-based scholarship
    • International students are eligible to apply

    Second bachelor degree students, graduate students, credential students, students enrolled through Tseng College and those graduating in the Fall 2021 term are not eligible to apply.

    If selected for this award, enrollment will be verified over the summer before the award year. Enrollment changes will result in forfeiture of the award

    Application Process

    1. Submit a Presidential Scholars application using the online scholarship application located online at myMatadorScholarships. Please note that you will be required to complete the General Application (profile) before you can complete the Presidential Scholarship.
      • The General Application (profile) will allow the scholarship portal to match you to any scholarship opportunities you may be eligible for as they are added to the portal. Once new scholarships become available, you will receive an email notifying you of the new opportunities.
    2. As part of the online application process for the Presidential Scholarship, you will be required to:
      • Submit a scholarship essay detailing your project proposal
      • Have your Faculty Mentor submit a statement describing your project and the level of involvement they will have with you in order to complete the project.
        • You will have the opportunity to input the name and email address of your Faculty Mentor directly in the application. Once you save your application, a system generated email will be sent to your mentor requesting information about your project.
        • Your recommender must log-in to the scholarship portal to submit the required information. They can follow the link in the system generated email they receive.
      • Submit a Degree Progress Report (DPR).
      • Submit a detailed academic plan signed by your academic department advisor.
      • Submit a Gantt chart to outline your project benchmarks, completion dates and assessments. Click here to view a sample Gantt chart.

    Faculty Mentor:

    Your faculty mentor should be a full-time faculty member whose research work interests you and who you feel will support you through your own research/project development.

    Your faculty mentor must have the ability (time and willingness) to commit to mentor you for the entirety of the award year. Your faculty mentor will be invited to attend the research exhibit where you will present your project results/research findings.

    Please note that this scholarship does not require a traditional recommendation letter, rather, your Faculty Mentor must be able to answer the following questions as part of your application:

    1. In what capacity and how long have you known the student?
    2. Please evaluate the student’s academic proficiency and other related qualities to undertake and complete this project.
    3. Describe in what ways this project is the student’s original conception.
    4. Describe how you will supervise the student to ensure the completion of the project goals.
    5. How well does this project fit the student’s academic preparation, and how will this project benefit the student’s future academic and career aspirations?

    Tips:

    • Considering asking a professor you have taken multiple courses with or whose lab you have worked in to mentor you
    • Familiarize yourself with your intended mentor’s research interest to ensure you are a good match
    • Once you identify a potential mentor, request to make an appointment to speak to the faculty member about a scholarship opportunity you are interested in. The faculty member may also suggest you come to an office hour. Let the professor know that you are interested in applying for the Presidential Scholarship and it requires that CSUN students work on a yearlong scholarly project with a Faculty Mentor. If you have any ideas on a research, creative, or applied project, present them to the professor. Ask if they would be interested in working with you and willing to apply with you as your Faculty Mentor.
    • Prepare a brag sheet, resume, or CV to share with your intended mentor so that they may familiarize themselves with your interest, background, and accomplishments

    Please Note: If you are not comfortable asking a faculty member to mentor you, or if this seems like more work than you can manage, this might not be the right scholarship at this time – perhaps look at the University Scholarship competition and "work your way" to being prepared to ask a faculty member to be your mentor.

    Scholarship Essay (Proposal)

    This is where we expect you to demonstrate why you should be selected as Presidential Scholars. You will be evaluated on the stated purpose, outcome, and significance, as well as the academic and extra-curricular experience that indicate your ability to accomplish the project.

    Essay prompts:

    1. This scholarship will fund an original research, creative, or applied project. In the sections below, describe your proposed project for this award. Note that your project must be of the size and scope to be completed within one academic year.
      • What is the purpose of your project? Why is the project significant and/or what motivated you to undertake this work? (Suggested word count: 150 words)
      • Describe your project and the relevant methods or techniques you will use to conduct your project. (Suggested word count: 500 words)
      • What are the expected outcomes of your project? (Suggested word count: 250 words)
      • What are the potential benefits of the project for your professional development, the campus/community, and/or broader society? (Suggested word count: 150 words)
    2. Describe your relevant experience (academic and extracurricular), and how it demonstrates your ability to complete this project. Briefly explain the role of your mentor in your project.

    Tips:

    • Your project must be of size and scope to complete within one year. You must ensure to address the viability of your timeline.
    • Include information on how you expect your mentor to support you during the award year.
    • Be specific in your writing. Do not give generalizations, assume the reader does not know anything about you or your life story, your training, experience, or your skillset.
    • Be succinct yet descriptive.
    • Have someone else proofread it at the Learning Resource Center. This person should check for grammar, but also for accessibility. Keep in mind that while the review committee is made up of faculty, they might not have experience in your field. You want to make sure your project proposal can be understood by a wide audience.
    • How you present yourself is important because if you are selected as Presidential Scholars you become a representative of the CSUN community. Thus, your proposal is not only important in terms of grammatical usage - make sure to edit before you submit - but it is also as a means of assessing your personal strengths such as motivation, creativity, self-confidence, maturity, concern for others, and awareness of current issues.

    Gantt Chart

    A Gantt Chart is a timeline that is used as a project management tool to illustrate how the project will run. The Gantt chart will help you assess how long a project should take, determine the resources needed, and plan the order in which you'll complete tasks. You will be evaluated on whether your Gantt Chart shows appropriate detail and on whether your timeline is appropriate to project and is credible to conclude within the award year.

    A Gantt Chart should assist you in:

    1. Maintaining Clarity - One of the biggest benefits of a Gantt chart is the tool's ability to boil down multiple tasks and timelines into a single document.
    2. Time Management – Keeps you on task and details your project and tasks’ timeline.
    3. Accountability – whether it is you or your advisor, this opens the door to conversations about staying on task.

    Example of Excerpts of Project Descriptions:

    "The purpose of my proposed project is to conduct a mixed method (quantitative, qualitative) study to examine risk and protective factors on mental health and well-being of undocumented university students. The results will be compared to a sample of documented university students."

    "I conducted a research study to examine and understand why there is a significant lack of students of color currently pursuing a career in Sign Language Interpreting."

    "The ultimate goal of this project is to determine the distribution and resistance genes of CRB in the environment to ultimately prevent potential outbreaks [of antibiotic resistant bacteria]."

    "I am interested in creating an Aging and Falling film with the primary focus on increasing empathy towards older adults by decreasing ageism from college participants."

    "The purpose of my project is to examine the level of attachment a participant develops toward a machine with which they interact, specifically in the context of the machine’s performance having consequences for the participant."

    Project Example – Will Brooks, 2017-2018 Presidential Scholar

    "My Presidential Scholarship project is to build a program to provide high quality individual singing lessons to local elementary and secondary students in the San Fernando Valley, for no cost to the students."

    Responsibilities

    The Presidential Scholarship is a commitment. Students who are awarded the Scholarship must:

    • Work alongside their project faculty mentor throughout the duration of the award year.
    • Maintain a 3.50 GPA each semester of the award year
    • Attend the Northridge Scholars Program reception
    • Submit a complete progress report at the end of Fall semester
    • Must develop, complete, and present their outlined project/original work during the Annual Presidential Scholarship Exhibit at the end of the Spring semester (April/Early May) of their award year.
    • Present the research/project at CSUNPosium or a similar professional conference by the end of the Spring semester of the award year
    • Selected students are highly encouraged to attend the free Advancement to Graduate Education (AGE) Conference in the Fall 2021 term (or a similar event hosted by the Graduate Studies Department).

    Faculty Mentor Guidelines

    Tip: While these are intended for the Faculty Mentor, it is useful for applicants to review the Faculty Mentor guidelines and discuss them with their intended mentor. This helps ensure the Faculty Mentor is aware of their responsibilities and is able to address the questions asked of them in the application.

    Note: The Faculty Mentor responses are an important component of the review and selection process.

    If you are a faculty mentor, your time and commitment to the Northridge Scholarship Program is appreciated. The success of the program and scholar depends greatly on your guidance and encouragement. To ensure maximum benefit to the student, faculty may only mentor one student per academic year; faculty are encouraged to consider this when accepting students' mentorship requests. Additionally, students are expected to develop a project independent of their mentor's current ongoing research; while the project can be tangentially related, it must be the student's original work.

    Faculty Mentors and Presidential Scholars need to develop an acceptable mentoring plan that will meet the scholar's needs while honoring the faculty mentor's other commitments. There is no set requirement for the level of involvement between you and the scholar, but the student learning experience depends on the level of engagement you provide. The purpose of the program is to enhance the student's scholarly development and prepare the student for post-baccalaureate education or work. The higher quality of faculty engagement with the scholar will result in a higher quality student learning experience.

    Suggestions for areas that might be discussed with the scholar as you develop your mentoring plan include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • How often will you meet with the Scholar? Weekly, biweekly, daily, etc.
    • On average how long might these sessions last? An hour, half hour, several hours, etc.
    • What kind of supervision will you provide on the project? Close, direct supervision; oversight while the student works independently; periodic meetings to monitor progress; provide suggestions for next steps, guidance on resources; etc.
    • Your expectations of what the Scholar will learn, what skills will be gained or enhanced, what the outcome of the project might be; etc.

    Note that Faulty Mentors will be asked to the address the following topics in support of the student’s application:

    • The student’s academic proficiency and other related qualities to undertake and complete the project.
    • In what ways this project is the student’s original conception.
    • How you will supervise the student to ensure the completion of the project goals.
    • How well the project fits the student’s academic preparation, and how it will benefit the student’s future academic and career aspirations.

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    Application Timelines

      Presidential Scholarship University Scholarship
    Application Available on my Matador Scholarship Portal November 16, 2020 November 16, 2020
    Application Deadline Friday, February 12, 2021 Friday, January 29, 2021

    Apply through the myMatador Scholarship Portal at csun.edu/scholarships

    Award notices will be sent out approximately 8-10 weeks after the deadline however this depends on the committee and how many students apply.

    Questions?

    If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please contact the Scholarship Office.

    General Office Hours:
    Monday – Friday from 10am – 3pm
    Phone: (818) 677-4907
    E-mail: scholarships@csun.edu

    NSP Program Office Hours will be held throughout the application period. Once you submit your Pre-Application Survey response, you will be provided with further details.

    Apply: https://csun.edu/scholarships