Advice for Juniors
Your junior year is critical. Now is the time to start bringing together the various components of your DePaul career and to begin applying for some scholarships.
Many of the most competitive and prestigious scholarships require you to apply as a junior or at the very start of your senior year. For example, even though the Truman Scholarship pays for graduate school, it requires you to apply as a junior. Other scholarships that cover expenses after you graduate, such as Fulbright, Rhodes, and Marshall, have campus deadlines in early September, which is typically before the start of the Fall quarter of your senior year. This means that you must start working on scholarship applications during your junior year.
If you have not done so already, it is definitely time to meet with the scholarship's campus representative, visit the Career Center, and start talking with faculty mentors about scholarship and research opportunities. Apply for DePaul grants such as the Undergraduate Summer Research Program, Undergraduate Research Assistant Program, or the Meister Scholarship. If you are not sure with whom you should talk about the scholarships that interest you, contact the DePaul Scholarship Adviser. Go back and look at the advice offered to sophomores. If there is anything on the sophomore list that you have not yet done, make sure you do it early in your junior year.
You should also be seeking out leadership positions in your extra-curricular activities. The strongest scholarship candidates are the students whose extracurricular activities and academic interests build upon one another—and who show a steady progess in their expansion of responsibilities and leadership positions.
As you approach the end of your junior year, you've probably taken a number of courses in your major field and a significant number related to your particular academic interests. Now is the time to consider an independent study. Independent studies are ideal for deepening your knowledge on a particular subject and forming a strong relationship with a professor. The substantive knowledge you gain can often be applied directly into scholarship application essays. If you're not sure how independent studies work or are arranged, talk to your department's chair or academic adviser. If your department offers it, you might also consider applying to write a senior thesis.
At the same time, look for publication outlets for papers you have written in your classes. For example, consider submitting a paper to a student conference or to the student journal, Creating Knowledge. Professors in your home department can help you find these kinds of opportunities.
If you are studying abroad and are thinking you would like to continue studying or working overseas after you graduate from DePaul, begin to explore the applications for scholarships like Fulbright, Rhodes, and Marshall. Do your best to establish relationships with faculty in your host university. Some programs, such as Fulbright, require you to obtain a letter of affiliation from a university in the host country and so it will be very helpful if you already know someone. If the situation allows it, look for community service, teaching, or internship opportunities while abroad. (If you are in an intensive language program, this may not be feasible).
Also, if you are interested in going overseas after you graduate, teaching English is one common route. The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program annually funds hundreds of students to work in approximately 70 countries. You need not be interested in a teaching career to apply, but Fulbright will want some evidence that you will be a good instructor. If you think you might be interested in applying for the ETA, look for teaching and mentoring opportunities. Take a class or pursue a minor in English as a Second Language (ESL) or Bi-Lingual Education, apply to be a Writing Fellow for the DePaul Writing Center, or find a volunteer opportunity at place like LIFT-Chicago.