5 Pieces of Advice When Applying to the Penny Program

The Penny Program Applications are due November 1st! The Penny Program consists of:

  1. Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship
  2. Timothy J. Penny State Public Service Fellowship
  3. Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship

You can read more about each individual program here. 

Here are five tips for applying to the Penny Program:

1. Go for it!

The most common thing we hear from students is "it will take too much time and I probably won't get chosen anyways". At most, this application will take 2 hours. Think of it as 2 hours for $1,500 to $5,000. Last year, Students United gave $34,000 and 13 awards. 

2. You cannot save your work in progress

Unfortunately, you cannot save the application and come back to it.  Once  you start the form you need to submit it, so go to the application and start preparing for everything you need before filling it out and submitting it. 

3. Get your materials in sooner rather than later

There are a few materials you will need to collect before submitting the application.

  1. A unofficial college/university transcript that must be requested from the Registrar's Office
  2. One to three letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation can be from anyone who can attest to your qualifications. Examples are: an academic advisor, counselor, instructor, or community professional with whom you have worked for
    1. Make sure your references know what is needed and give them a deadline to have the letter completed by
  3. Internship Plan/Proposal (if you are applying for the fellowship). The plan/proposal must include:
    1. The internship's purpose
    2. Projects and/or major areas of responsibilities
    3. Goals for the internship
    4. Timeline for accomplishing goals and projects
    5. Methods of evaluation for the goals and projects
    6. The impact of the internship - If you do not have an internship yet, don't worry! Just add what you are hoping to do for a potential internship while answering these questions.
  4. An essay highlighting your commitment, interest, background, and future plans in community service. This needs to be minimum two pages and definitely proofread. 

4. Highlight your community service activities

The purpose of the Penny Program is to recognize Minnesota State students who have demonstrated a commitment to community service and promote growth as community leaders and public servants. Utilize the essay to promote your community service involvement and your commitment. We want to hear your passions and stories. 

5. Reach out for help

You are on a campus and there are so many resources to take advantage of if you need assistance in any way. Here is a list of resources we came up with:

  • Career Services - Career services can help you with your resume and essay. They can also help you think of potential internships
  • Academic Advisor - Your academic advisor can be a great resource for a letter of recommendation and help with your essay
  • Registrar's Office - You will need to request your official transcript through the registrar's office
  • Involvement - Any supervisors and/or mentors you have on campus can be a great resource for a letter of recommendation 
  • Students United - Please reach out to me if you have any questions throughout the process. We are here to help you!

Email Carlee Diggins at cdiggins@studentsunited.org if you have any questions.