Scholarships Available for Smithsonian Conservation Semester Program!

Undergrads, keep reading. Everyone else, see you next post!

I’m about to share a unique opportunity for you to get an incredible experience next semester. This experience will not only be a lot of fun and intellectually stimulating, but it will also put you in a great position as you prepare to apply to veterinary school. How could you not like the sound of that?

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

I didn’t get to mention in my article about the National Zoo externship that some of my most memorable days were the ones I spent out at the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute. This is a research campus set out in the rolling hills of Virginia where Smithsonian scientists carry out some pretty exciting research on all things relating to conservation biology. They have a number of endangered and threatened species that are kept in more natural large enclosure settings.

One of the National Zoo veterinary residents is out there almost every day, so I got to tag along a few times to work with Przewalski’s horses, red pandas, clouded leopards, and other remarkable creatures.

Semester Abroad in Virginia?

All that is simply an introduction to the real reason I’m writing today. I recently learned about this undergraduate semester study program that is held right on the grounds of the CBI. It is called the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, and it is a partnership between the Smithsonian and George Mason University (one of Virginia’s big public universities and just down the street from where I grew up!).

This is like a study abroad program, except that you’re just in the beautiful countryside of Virginia rather than some exciting foreign country. You should be able to easily transfer academic credit to your college, through the partnership with George Mason, and you should also be able to use your regular student loans or other means of paying for tuition to go towards this expense.

All the Details on How YOU Can Make it Happen

I’ve exchanged a few e-mails with the program administrators for you already, so here’s the scoop. They haven’t had enough applicants for the spring 2013 semester, so they have pushed back the application deadline to January 3. She also sent me the scholarship application, so I’ll e-mail that to you if you get in touch on my contact page. She told me that every student who applies for a scholarship will most likely get one, and that they range in amount (merit-based) from $2000 – $7000.

The program and scholarships are open to both U.S. and foreign students.

I know this is last-minute, and that you’d be kind of crazy to think about doing something like this so late in the game! But why not be a little crazy?

I honestly believe that your participation in a program like this would do wonders for your vet school application. You will be able to honestly paint yourself as an applicant who is serious about an uncommon veterinary field, and that is what application committees are most interested in seeing.

As always, I would be more than willing to help out by reading over your application essays!

So will you go for it? This could be a real game changer. What’s holding you back?

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6 Responses to “Scholarships Available for Smithsonian Conservation Semester Program!”

  1. Elliott December 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    I should note that this program is also open to recent graduates from college, and that there are also other courses and summer programs held on the same campus for grad students! I’ll write more about those at some point but you can explore the CBI’s website to find out more in the meantime.

  2. Paloma Medina July 25, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    I love it! i want to know more about this.I’m starting college this fall, are there any other specifications for applying?

    • Elliott August 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      Hey Paloma, that’s awesome that you’re considering this program! I think it would be a lot of fun and very helpful for a future uncommon veterinarian. You can find all the details about applying through the websites linked in this post. Let me know if you have more specific questions and I’ll see if I can find answers for you.

  3. Jake August 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Hi! I’m wondering if you have any idea how competitive this is (for a seat in the program, not necessarily the scholarships since you said most people get one). I’m going into my sophomore year and would like to do either this or the duke marine biology semester but I want to get an idea if it’s likely I’ll get it if I apply in a timely manner (as in, is it a competitive process or more first come?) or if I should still be looking for other programs!

    • Elliott August 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      Hey Jake – I think it’s always a good idea to have a few options running at any given time. The only reason I’ve been so successful in finding cool opportunities and valuable funding is because I apply for multiple things at once. That said, I’m honestly not sure how competitive this Smithsonian program is. It’s a pretty new program, so I think that for that reason you would probably have a good shot. Your best source of information would be calling or e-mailing the program administrator to ask these questions. They could probably give you a pretty good idea of where you might stand in the competition for a slot. Good luck!


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