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Advice for Successfully Completing the Study Abroad Competitive Scholarship (SACS) Application

General Tips
  • Begin the application process early! You will want sufficient time to compose an effective essay and time for your recommenders to complete their recommendations. We advise requesting recommendations AT LEAST ONE FULL WEEK before the application deadline.
  • Follow application instructions precisely and accurately. Be sure that you understand and answer all of the questions.
  • Compose your essays offline using a text-editor such as Microsoft Word. You can later copy and paste the text into the online application without the risk of losing unsaved work. Encourage your recommenders to do the same.
  • Revise your essays for effective grammar, spelling, and usage. You are encouraged to schedule an appointment with The University Writing Center by visiting uwc.ttu.edu. Every good writer needs a good reader!
  • When requesting a recommendation for your application, make the request in person first (if possible). A face-to-face meeting will allow your recommender to gather information directly from you that will help them to write a strong recommendation. Explain to recommenders that they will receive an email from the Study Abroad office with a link to complete the recommendation electronically.
  • Ensure that all components of your application – both those submitted by you and those submitted by your recommenders – are complete, correct, and submitted by the deadline.
  • Incomplete, incorrect, or poorly-constructed applications do not typically receive high scores from the SACS Awards Committee. Applicants who receive the highest scores are usually those who are best able to articulate specific reasons why their particular study abroad program/destination is especially valuable or important for them personally.
When to Apply
 
TERM OF STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM APPLICATION CYCLE AVERAGE AWARD RANGE
  • Intersession
  • Spring Break
  • Spring semester
  • Calendar Year (Spring and Fall)
Apply for the SACS during the Fall semester. Applications will open during the first week of classes and close in mid-October. $350-$500 for short-term programs

$1,500-$3,250 for long-term programs
  • Maymester
  • Summer I
  • Summer II
  • Summer I and II
  • Fall Break
  • Fall semester
  • Academic Year (Fall and Spring)
Apply for the SACS during the Spring semester. Applications will open in mid-January and close in early March. $400-$1,250 for short-term programs

$3,000-$6,000 for long-term programs


 
Currently studying at TTU as an international student on a F-1 visa. Apply for the SACS each term that you are enrolled at TTU, including Summer sessions. $400-$1,000 per term
 
 
Tips for the Application Questionnaire
  • The SACS application is entirely online. No paper application form exists, and none will be accepted.
  • Once you have started the SACS application, you can save your work and continue working on your application at a later time. You are neither required nor encouraged to complete the application in one sitting.
  • Read over your application and make all corrections before clicking the SUBMIT button. Once the application is submitted, changes cannot be made; however, if you have made an error that MUST be corrected, please contact the SACS Coordinator for assistance.
  • The SACS Application is NOT a Study Abroad Application. You must apply separately to your study abroad program.
Tips for the Statement of Purpose
The Statement of Purpose is a short essay (approximately 500 words) that helps the SACS Awards Committee to assess the potential positive impact of your study abroad experience. This part of the application accounts for 40% of your final SACS score. In order to help the committee to understand your motivation for studying abroad, you are encouraged to address the following:
  • For what reason(s) did you decide on this particular study abroad program? Describe the intentionality behind your choice to select this program specifically. What does it offer you?
  • What will you be studying during this period abroad, and how does your study abroad program relate to your chosen degree program?
  • How will your study abroad program help you to achieve future educational and career goals? Describe the connection between your participation in this program and the long-term impact that you expect this international experience to have on your life.
  • Are there any personal or unique life circumstances that influenced your decision to study abroad?
If you are an international student on a F-1 visa and seeking funds to support studies at Texas Tech rather than abroad, you should address these questions by explaining why you have chosen to study at TTU.

Tips for Submitting an Official Transcript
  • Request ONE official Texas Tech University transcript from the Office of the Registrar in West Hall, Room 103. 
  • If you are a graduate student and this is your first semester at Texas Tech, request a stamped photocopy of transcripts from all of your previous institutions (wherever you have taken coursework for at least one semester) from the TTU Registrar.
  • If you are a transfer or first-year undergraduate student and this is your first semester at Texas Tech, request an official document from the TTU Registrar proving that you are currently enrolled in the university. 
  • Members of the SACS Awards Committee consider your cumulative GPA and look at your transcript(s) for patterns of improvement as well as non-representative semesters. This part of the application accounts for 20% of your final SACS score. A lower GPA will not remove you from the competition; however, you must have the required minimum GPA in order to be considered for the scholarship (2.7 for undergraduate students; 3.0 for graduate students; and 2.0 for School of Law students). 
  • Transcripts must be RECEIVED in the Study Abroad office by 5 p.m. on the deadline date.  Transcripts received after 5 p.m. on the deadline date will not be accepted, and your entire application will be considered incomplete.  Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the SACS Awards Committee for consideration.
  • NO FAXED COPIES ACCEPTED. Transcripts may be brought to the Study Abroad office in person, sent through Campus Mail (Mailstop is 5004), or mailed to:
SACS Coordinator
Study Abroad Office

601 Indiana Ave., MS 5004
Lubbock, TX 79409-5004


Tips for Submitting Recommendations
  • All SACS applicants must request a minimum of two recommendations. Each recommendation accounts for 20% of your final SACS score.  If your application does not contain two completed recommendations, it will not be reviewed by the Awards Committee.
  • At least one of your recommendations must be completed by a member of TTU faculty (to include full professors, assistant professors, associate professors, graduate part-time instructors, and other instructors of record). Recommendations completed by faculty/staff from a different institution will be accepted if and only if the applicant is a transfer student or a new (first-semester) graduate student.
  • The second recommendation may also be completed by a member of TTU faculty OR by another appropriate recommender. The following people are considered appropriate recommenders: non-TTU faculty; research advisors; student organization advisors; internship and/or work supervisors; and military supervisors. Recommendations completed by a high school teacher will be accepted if and only if the applicant is currently in their first-year at Texas Tech.
  • NOTE: The following people will be considered inappropriate recommenders: family and relatives; family friends; friends and peers; coworkers; classmates; fellow graduate students; neighbors; significant others; coaches; elementary and middle school teachers; academic advisors; tutors; lawyers; and pastors and/or politicians (unless the applicant has worked with them directly). Inappropriate recommendations will receive a score of 0 on this part of the application.
  • Students are encouraged to request three recommendations in the event that one of their recommenders is unable or unwilling to complete the recommendation in a timely manner. If three recommendations are submitted, then the Awards Committee will only score the two most positive recommendations.
  • Recommendations must be submitted to the online application by 5 p.m. on the deadline date.  If two recommendations are not received by 5 p.m. on the deadline date, then your entire application will be considered incomplete. Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the SACS Awards Committee for consideration.
Be sure to select your recommenders carefully! You will want to request a positive recommendation from someone who:
  • Knows your professional and academic career
    • Avoid requesting a recommendation from people who fall into one of the categories listed above as inappropriate recommenders.
  • Knows your recent accomplishments
    • A recommendation from someone who knew you prior to your enrollment at Texas Tech may be valid, but it will not convey the same sense of current knowledge as a recommendation from someone who works with you now.
  • Knows you well
    • Your recommender should be prepared to speak positively and in detail about your suitability for this study abroad program.
    • It is a good idea to make sure that your recommender knows the nature and location of your study abroad experience.
  • Is conscientious
    • You want recommenders who will write detailed, thoughtful, and positive recommendations and then submit those recommendations in a timely manner!
    • Do not select recommenders who will write a cursory recommendation, submit your recommendation late, or fail to complete your recommendation.

Remember that it is your responsibility to make smart choices in selecting your recommenders. Make your recommendation requests early – AT LEAST ONE WEEK before the application deadline – and think hard about who would be an appropriate, reliable recommender.

NO paper recommendations will be accepted.  All recommendations must be submitted online.

All students are encouraged to follow up by sending a thank you note to their recommenders and, if awarded, provide an update of the successful outcome.