Guest Author - Carla Ruschival
The Association of Blind Citizens awards thousands of dollars in scholarships each year to blind, legally blind, and visually impaired students attending college or a recognized vocational school.
Several scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, are available. Scholarships may be applied to tuition, living expenses, or books and supplies. They may also be used for readers or any other expenses resulting from visual impairment. Some examples of such expenses might be the cost of canes, transportation, technology etc.
Here is what you need to apply for these scholarships:
1. Obtain a copy of your high school or college transcript. If you are a college freshman, you might want to go the extra mile and include both.
2. You will need an eye report from your ophthalmologist in order to prove you are legally blind. Generally speaking, you are legally blind if your vision, with best correction in the better eye, is 20/200 or less, or your visual field (peripheral vision) is restricted to 20 degrees or less. Talk with your eye doctor if you are unsure about what these numbers actually mean.
3. If you are still in high school, you will need to provide proof of acceptance to an accredited college or recognized vocational school. If you haven't received your acceptance letter at the time you submit your scholarship application, don't just ignore this important requirement. Instead, include a nice note saying that you will forward it to ABC as soon as you receive it.
4. Send two letters of recommendation. Choose carefully the people you ask to write letters for you. No relatives, please! Excellent choices are teachers who know of your abilities, supervisors for whom you have worked, local leaders in civic clubs such as the Lions, or coaches from athletic or academic teams on which you have participated. Be sure that the people you choose not only know you, but that they believe in your ability to succeed.
5. Write a 300- to 500-word autobiography and submit it on disk along with your other documentation. Be sure that it is free from misspelled words and grammatical errors. Watch your sentence structure, paragraphing, and punctuation. Most importantly, make sure it tells your story in a concise and interesting manner, but do not be chatty. Remember that your autobiographical sketch is the only way the selection committee can get to know you; they cannot hear you speak or meet you in person, so make your words speak for you.
The Association of Blind Citizens is located in the Boston area, but anyone who meets the vision requirements and who is a legal residents of the United States is eligible to apply. The online application form for these scholarships is on the ABC website; applications must be submitted electronically rather than on paper. Check the ABC website for application deadlines.
Go to the Association of Blind Citizens website for more information and to access the on-line application form.
Visit Especially for Students here in the Vision Issues site at Bella Online for more information about scholarships for legally blind and visually impaired students.