Every year before New Year’s Day, the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) receives scholarship applications from a number of hopeful students across the country vying for over $6,000 worth of scholarships. The top recipient will also have the opportunity to attend the GIE+EXPO in Louisville in the autumn. PGMS will pay for the scholarship recipients’ conference registration and a travel allowance as well.
Scholarships are for students studying landscape and grounds management, turf management, irrigation technology or a closely related field. The applications are screened by the PGMS Scholarship Committee. There are two primary sections to the screening process. The first section is mandatory information that is required from the applicant for the scholarship to be considered. Each committee member reviews the first part for completeness of the required information. Incomplete applications are not considered for scholarship awards. The following items are mandatory for the scholarship application to be considered. Please note three letters of recommendation are needed:
1. The completed scholarship application. The application can be downloaded from the PGMS website.
2. A cover letter. Typed. Please include introduction, educational and professional goals and intent for use of scholarship funds.
3. A current resume. Typed. Please include past employment history, awards and certificates earned.
4. College or school transcripts.
5. Three (3) letters of recommendation. These should be from an instructor, employer, etc. One of these letters must be from a PGMS member who is sponsoring the applicant.
The next section is what the scholarship committee is looking for. This is where the presentation is important. It is the clarity and definition of the presentation that separates the candidates and categorizes the potential in the scholarship recipient. The committee looks for these points throughout your portfolio. Key items in the presentation are:
1. Active student in a horticulture or related field with solid grades
2. Past and current employment in the green industry
3. Green industry involvement with professional organizations, apprenticeships and internships. This could be involvement in organizations such as FFA, 4-H, state or county programs as well as volunteering for civic projects and outreach programs.
4. Community volunteering and involvement
5. Personal development in the form of classes and volunteering.
6. Extracurricular involvement: Sports, Clubs, Theatre, Music, etc.
7. Personal goals and objectives
Here are a few tips for applying for the PGMS Scholarship.
1. Start the process early. November is probably good timing. For example, obtaining three letters of recommendation takes time. If you are hoping to receive letters from professors or school officials at the end of the semester or after finals, they are pretty busy taking care of grades and student obligations.
2. Obtaining transcripts can take time too. Plan accordingly.
3. Share your story. What is it about you that makes you an outstanding candidate?
4. A key point is getting sponsorship from a PGMS member. If you don’t know a PGMS member, contact PGMS Headquarters. They would get you in contact with a PGMS Branch or a PGMS Regional Director who would assist you in finding a member in your area.
The scholarship application deadline is January 1, 2016.