Have you heard about the Live Your Dream Award from Soroptimist International? This grant can help you achieve your dreams by paying for any education-related expenses such as tuition, child care, transportation and more!
In this article, we’ll review what this grant is, who is eligible, and how you can apply. We’ll also throw in some proven tips to give you the best chance of success!
What is the Live Your Dream Award?
The Live Your Dream Award provides up to $16,000 toward the pursuit of your educational goals. This grant can be used to cover any costs associated with your educational goals. The money can be used toward tuition, books, child care and transportation or other needs.
The main aim of this program is to help you follow your school and training dreams by taking away some money worries and stress about extra costs. We know that going to school or taking a course can be a big step, especially when money is tight. This program gives a helping hand by providing some financial support so you can focus more on your studies and less on your bills.
Every year, Soroptimist distributes more than $2.9 million in educational awards to more than 2,000 women. They change lives of families in their member countries around the world!
Who is eligible?
Soroptimist International focuses on supporting eligible women who are the primary breadwinners for their dependents.
In order to apply for a Live Your Dream Award, you’ll need to make sure that you meet these criteria:
- You must be a woman.
- You must have a financial need.
- You must be the primary financial support for yourself and your dependents.
- You must live in one of the Soroptimist International’s member countries or territories.
- You must be enrolled in (or accepted into) a vocational program, skills training program, high school equivalency or undergraduate degree program.
Dependents are people who rely on you for financial support. Spouses, partners, children, siblings and parents can count as long as you financially support them.
Unfortunately, there are a few things that could exclude you from the grant even if you meet all those requirements. If you already have a graduate degree or if you’ve already received a grant from this organization, you won’t be eligible. They also cannot provide grants to members, employees, or immediate family members of Soroptimist International either.
How do I apply?
It takes a little bit of work to prepare for your application. After all, $16,000 is a lot of money and they want to make sure that they are choosing the right applicants.
Before you start your application, you need to choose two references. You only have to submit one but two will strengthen your application. It is recommended that you select people who cheer you on, such as mentors, teachers, counselors, colleagues or case managers. You cannot use family members as references.
During the application, you will need to submit a short essay that is 750 words or less. This essay must explain how the grant could help you live your dream. The organization focuses on helping people overcome obstacles, so writing something about the struggles you’ve faced and how the grant can help you overcome them can make a big difference! This statement will only be read by club members and award judges unless you give your consent to share it with others.
You’ll also need an annual budget of your income and expenses when you apply. Most people don’t budget on a yearly basis, so this is something you’ll probably have to fill out. They have a helpful budgeting tips worksheet that can help you prepare the information they’ll need.
The application portal for the Live Your Dream Award opens every year between August 15 and November 15. You have to submit everything by November 15 or you’ll miss the deadline! I recommend setting an alarm for August 15 so that you can apply as soon as possible.
If the portal isn’t open right now, you can start by perfecting your essay, finding the perfect references, and filling in your budget worksheet. That way, you’ll be ready to go when the portal opens again!
What happens after I apply?
There are three tiers of evaluation for the Live Your Dream Awards. If your application is accepted at one level, you’ll automatically be considered for the next one. If you are accepted as a finalist, you’ll receive all three awards!
The first tier is the Club Level. This money comes from local Soroptimist clubs, so there isn’t as much competition for these grants. However, the amount is also smaller. The typical club-level grant is around $1,000.
If you are awarded at the Club Level, you’ll become eligible for the Region Level. The Live Your Dream Awards at this level are around $3,000 to $5,000. All the Club level winners in your region will be considered for the Region Level grant.
If you win the Region Level grant, then you’ll be considered for the International Finalists grant. This grant is worth $10,000! However, there are only three International Finalists grants awarded each year so the competition is fierce!
At each level, once a recipient is selected then applicants will be notified. You should be notified whether or not you’ve won the award.
Top 5 Tips to Help You Win
If you want to win a Live Your Dream Award from Soroptimist International, then you can use the following tips to set yourself up for success.
Choose the Right References
Don’t use family members or friends. Focus on people who know you in a professional, educational, or volunteer setting. Mentors and coworkers will have a better impact that your lifelong friend.
Soroptimist International will send them an invitation to complete an online reference form. They can’t submit a reference letter or any other type of reference. They have to complete the online form.
Tell your reference that you need their help with this grant so they don’t ignore that invitation!
Focus on a Unique Challenge
Many grant programs focus on the story and Soroptimist is no different. Their goal is to help hardworking women overcome their challenges to pursue their dreams.
When you write your statement, focus on a challenge you are facing and how are you are going to overcome it. Remember that they require all applicants to have financial need, so focus on finances as an obstacle will not help your application stand out.
Instead, focus on a unique challenge that will help you stand out from the competition. For example, a young single mother who is applying for the grant might use her essay to reflect on the emotional trauma of her mother’s abusive marriage, emphasizing how she wants to set a strong example for her daughter but needs a bachelor’s degree to become a better provider.
Other examples could include focusing on the problems created by unreliable transportation, untrustworthy childcare, mental health or medical issues, etc.
Highlight Your SMART Goals
Soroptimist wants to support people who know where they’re headed and are willing to do the work it takes to get there. Nothing shows motivation like talking about SMART goals!
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
- Specific means that the goal should be well-defined and clear about what you will achieve.
- Measurable means that you can quantify how long it will take.
- Achievable means that it is realistic and attainable given your current life situation.
- Relevant means that it should align with your other goals and objectives.
- Time-bound means that it has a deadline.
Instead of saying “I want to go to do well in school,” you could say something like “I will achieve a 3.0 GPA in my major courses by the end of my first academic year.”
Your application should feel genuine and create a sense of connection with the judges. If it sounds fake or artificially constructed, it could be off-putting.
It’s important to make sure that you are authentic and honest as you craft your personal story. You should never fabricate, lie or mislead your story in order to win a grant.
Procrastination can destroy opportunity! Not only do you need to turn your application in by the deadline, you need to turn a great application in by the deadline.
It may seem obvious but many people miss steps. You need to make sure that you follow all application instructions and pay attention to the details. Missing a step or ignoring a small detail could disqualify you.
It’s also important to carefully proofread your application before you submit it. It’s important to make a great first impression so don’t risk losing points to grammatical or spelling errors.
If you procrastinate, you’re more likely to make mistakes. Your personal statement won’t be as powerful and your references may not be ideal. Make sure that you plan ahead, get everything turned in before the deadline and make an incredible impression.
Why does this organization do this?
Soroptimist International has chosen to focus on female breadwinners because their mission is to empower women and girls. They believe that women who learn help their families lead better lives. They are more likely to get better jobs, which empower them to contribute financially to their families and their communities.
Their results speak for themselves! According to their website, 86% of award recipients completed their education program and 74% of those people got better-paying jobs. Since they’ve helped millions of people over the years, that’s a lot of lives changed.
The Live Your Dream Award from Soroptimist International can provide up to $16,000 to help support your educational goals. If you’re a woman who financially supports dependents, you may be eligible for this opportunity. This article includes information about the grant program, including tips on how to craft a winning application!