The fourth annual Out of Excuses Retreat will be bigger and better than ever, and at this point that’s saying a lot. Last year’s retreat was a crazy experiment—could we actually do this on a cruise ship?—but it worked so well that the students wanted to pay it forward so that even more people could participate. They organized themselves, collected donations, and literally doubled the amount of scholarship money we are able to offer. With that introduction, we are proud to offer four full scholarships to the 2016 retreat: two Out of Excuses Scholarships for writers who can’t afford the cruise on their own, and two Carl Brandon Society Scholarships for writers of color .
Information and Entry Rules
Each scholarship offers full tuition, a bed in a double occupancy room, and up to $500 of travel expenses to and from our departure port in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Because the food on the cruise is free, this covers essentially all of your expenses for the week. You may apply to either scholarship, but only to one of them (even if you qualify for both).
These scholarships are very popular, and get a lot of applicants, so this year we’ve streamlined the process a little to help handle the volume. Please read the instructions carefully, and follow them exactly: Incomplete applications will be disqualified.
To apply, please prepare the following scholarship package as a Word document, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Scholarship Application: [name of scholarship].” Please copy and paste the cover sheet to the main body of the email, and also include it as the first page in the package.
1) This cover sheet, filled out completely:
Phone Number: [number]
Scholarship: [“Carl Brandon Society” or “Out of Excuses”]
I confirm that my scholarship is complete, including: a personal essay, three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample.
Personal Essay word count (between 450-700 words): [insert word count here]
Letter of Recommendation 1: [Name of recommender]
Letter of Recommendation 2: [Name of recommender]
Letter of Recommendation 3: [Name of recommender]
Writing Sample total word count (1-3 pieces, limited to 10,000 total words): [insert word count here]
2) A single attachment, saved as [Name of Scholarship_Your Name]
We will accept the following three file formats.
Out of Excuses Scholarship_Jane Doe.doc
Carl Brandon Scholarship_Jane Doe.doc
The attachment should contain all of the following, in the following order:
- Cover Sheet, as described above.
- Personal Essay: A 450-700 word personal essay explaining why you are a good candidate for the scholarship. What makes you unique? What can you bring to our group that no one else can? Keep in mind that even as we focus on “need,” the panel will also be reviewing your writing in terms of “merit.”
- Letters of Recommendation: Three brief letters of recommendation (no more than 300 words each) from people who are not your relatives: friends, bosses, people from your writing group, anyone who can tell us exactly how awesome you are. Please note that we would like all three letters to be included in the scholarship package, and not to be emailed individually; we’ve had too many letters go astray, and we want to give you the chance to personally make sure every aspect of your scholarship package is complete before submitting it. If you have a concern with this, please contact Kenna Blaylock at email@example.com.
- Writing Sample: A brief example of your writing, consisting of 1-3 separate pieces and totaling no more than 10,000 words. These can be short stories or novel excerpts. Don’t feel obligated to fill the word count: if you can wow us in less, more power to you.
Again: make sure to send everything in one email or your application will be disqualified!
Please review it several times, or have a friend or family member review it for you, because we will reject applications on technicalities, just like an editor or publisher would. We would much prefer to read your awesome writing and give you a scholarship.
The application period for both scholarships opens on January 15, 2016, at 9am EST, and closes at midnight EST, March 15. We will contact the winners in May, and announce them officially the morning of May 15.
If you have any questions regarding the scholarship, email Kenna Blaylock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What do The Letters of Recommendation Need?
A: Think of this like a college entry application letter. Have your friend answer “Why are you the best candidate for the scholarship?” The one writing the letter can point out what they think might be relevant to the decision that the committee would otherwise not know. The letters help us round out the picture for each candidate.