2014 NESA SCHOLARSHIP FAQ
Why did NESA move to an online submission form?
NESA will save about $15,000 annually (and a tree) by foregoing the paper application process. By eliminating scanning and copying costs, postage, storage, and eventual destruction fees, we will be able to award even more scholarships in 2014. Additionally, it normally takes NESA staffers several months just to open tubs of mail, sort paper applications, and manually grade each submission by hand, which now gives our staff valuable new time to attend to other projects that will benefit Eagle Scouts.
Are paper applications available?
No. NESA is moving to an electronic submission process only. Paper copies from previous years are out of date and will not be accepted. If you find an application online, or are given a paper application by your troop or council, please discard it and let your troop or council know that NESA scholarship applications will be received online only. Troops and councils who continue to distribute outdated scholarship applications are jeopardizing their Scouts’ chances at receiving one of these awards.
Who will see your application and how much can they see?
NESA staffers will be able to view your entire application. This is necessary so that we can contact the recipients and make an offer.
NESA does not select the scholarship recipients. This is done by volunteer committees based in the region in which you earned the Eagle rank. These committees will not have access to your personal information so that judging will be fair and based solely on the information contained in your application. The system masks all personal information from the judges, including name, address, telephone and email address, troop number, and other information that would identify the individual.
Can you update your application once it’s been submitted?
Yes, as long as the application is updated before the December 31, 2013 deadline. Simply log in at https://nesa.academicworks.com/ using your email and password and update your application. Applicants can add additional sports, academic, or Scouting recognitions received up till December 31, 2013. Additionally, applicants should monitor the progress of the reference letter responses to ensure that their chosen references respond by December 31, 2013.
How can I know whether my references have responded?
The References tab will indicate whether your reference request is still pending or has been completed by the individual whose name and address you provided on the General Application. If the individual has not replied, you may resend it to the individual or add additional references on the General Application form. You only need one reference letter to apply, but it is acceptable to contact multiple references to ensure that at least one does respond before the deadline. If you receive multiple responses, you may select the preferred reference provider, although you will not be able to review the recommendations to select your preferred response.
What if I don’t receive a response to my reference request before the deadline?
NESA must receive the application and reference letter by December 31, 2013, in order to forward the applications to the regional selection committees on January 1, 2014. Therefore, it is imperative that the Scout contact references early in the application process to ensure that they have enough time to respond. Applicants should not wait till the very last minute to complete the application as certain portions of the application will take time to complete and may require that applicants secure information from educational entities before they close for the Christmas holidays.
NESA does not grant submission extensions for any reason.
Do you need to submit proof that you are a NESA member to apply?
No. NESA staffers will verify that each recipient is a NESA member using the official NESA database. NESA membership is based on the date and time the membership application is received by NESA, not on the date you receive your membership packet from the national office. There is no need to pay the $40 rush fee to receive your NESA membership by December 31. We simply need to receive your NESA membership application online before 11:59pm, December 31, 2013. NESA memberships can be purchased online at http://www.nesa.org/membership.html.
I see four scholarship opportunities when I click the All tab, but only two when I click Recommended Opportunities. Why don’t I qualify for all four?
Every applicant is automatically matched with the merit and academic scholarships when they fill out the General Application. Scholarships in the Recommended Opportunities tab are simply two extra scholarships that you may qualify for if you are interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare arena or a STEM-related field. These are special scholarships that require additional information not requested on the General Application. You will need to complete extra requirements to apply for these two additional scholarships.
What does the reference provider receive when I submit their name and email as a reference?
The reference provider will be sent a system-generated email with a link to a special page on the NESA AcademicWorks website. The page will include two questions: 1) Are you a volunteer or professional Scout leader, and 2) What was your last position held), with space to write an evaluation of your character. Once submitted, the reference cannot be altered.
A NOTE TO REFERENCE PROVIDERS
The applicant will never have access to your reference letter because we need your honest evaluation of this Scout. However, the Scout can monitor your progress and can tell whether you have responded to the request. This is important because the Scout must have a reference letter to apply for a scholarship and he may need time to contact another reference if you are unable to reply by December 31, 2013. If you are not a volunteer or professional Scout leader (required of all reference providers), please contact the Scout as soon as possible and explain that you do not qualify as a Scouting reference. The Scout will then need time to locate a qualifying reference provider to complete this portion of the scholarship submission process.
A FINAL NOTE ON THE DEADLINE
NESA must set a submission deadline each year, and that deadline is 11:59:59pm, December 31, 2013. At midnight, January 1, 2014, the system will be locked. There is no way to update an existing form OR create a new application after that deadline. NESA does not grant extensions for any reason.
Therefore, we ask that you please begin the application process as soon as possible. Schools will be closed over the holidays and it may be difficult for you to contact reference providers and others who must submit required information before you can apply. Additionally, the NESA office hours are 8am to 4:30pm (CST) during weekdays. We are closed on the weekends, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. NESA staffers are glad to answer your questions, but it may be physically impossible to answer every question we receive if too many applicants wait till the very last minute to contact us. This is also a time when we are shorthanded as our staffers take time to celebrate the holidays with their children, families, and friends. Each year we receive over 5,000 applications. Five hundred applications are submitted between October 1 and December 30. The remaining 4,500 are delivered the day of the deadline. That is why we stress that every applicant should read through the entire application, contact NESA with any questions, and begin assembling the needed information well before the deadline.
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