Office of Major Scholarship Advisement

Freshman Colloquium

The Freshman Colloquium course is comprised of first and second year students enrolled at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. The students are selected for the course. The Office of Major Scholarship Advisement researches lists, records, transcripts and other documentation to determine which students will be considered for enrollment.

How Students are Selected

The selection process is intentionally rigorous. The process begins with a list of approximately 2000 students. From that list, 150-200 students are asked to complete the OMSA application. The students are then interviewed and approximately ten students are selected to participate in the course.

About the Students

All of the students selected for the course plan to pursue post-graduate degrees. These students represent the best and brightest at IPFW. They plan to compete with the nations best for prestigious scholarships such as the Rhodes, USA Today, Goldwater, Truman, and other nationally competitive scholarships. The class is intentionally kept small for a better class dynamic. Many of the students are academic scholars; Chancellor’s, Doermer's, Auer, Cornell, and Chapman Scholars as well as students who did not enter IPFW as academic scholars but have proven themselves academically.

Freshman Colloquium 2012Freshman Colloquium Class of 2013
Left to Right: Ryan Curtis, Greg Brown, Merillyn Whitesell, Charles McIntosh, Mayor Tom Henry, Hailie Ripley, Heather Dewey, Micah Rapp, and Danielle Parsons 

About the Course

In this course you will learn to develop plans, strategize applications, prepare for interviews, and revise application essays and personal statements. Working with a variety of faculty with expertise in writing, public service, library research methods, leadership, interviewing skills, study abroad, communication skills, and research opportunities, you will prepare to apply for awards and graduate school. You will also formulate a proposal that requires you to state your goals with clarity and conviction in a form that reveals a high degree of professionalism.


The Freshman Colloquium is an introduction to a world of opportunities that may support and enrich an undergraduate or graduate education. The awards that the Office of Major Scholarship Advisement facilitates—and others you can find with a little research—represent opportunities to incomparable intellectual experiences that lie beyond the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. The very process of applying for an external award allows you to contemplate, develop, and enhance your vocational goals, intellectual identity, and political awareness. This class will guide you through this process of self-reflection as you craft essays, develop interview skills, and discover research opportunities. This class does not provide all the answers. It does, however, lay out basic information on external competitions that fund a variety of activities in a variety of fields.

Research Other Opportunities

You should consult other sources for further information about the awards, to research other opportunities, find current application materials, and check deadlines. Be advised that deadlines for most competitions change from year to year; therefore, the dates provided are approximate. Always check for up-to-date information on the IPFW Office of Major Scholarship Advisement website as well as the website of each award. 

Applying for Scholarships

Applying to college was a walk in the park. You were admitted to a university and now find yourself at the top of your game. Applying for major awards, however, pits students against similarly talented high achievers from schools that rival IPFW in reputation, student body, and resources. While we desire that students concentrate on the perfect fit between goals and abilities, you should recognize up front that major scholarships and fellowships require a special mindset and a special set of application skills.

Intellectual Goals - Narrow the Focus

Unlike college admission boards, scholarship and fellowship selection committees are not trying to select a diverse group of intelligent, talented people; they’re looking for students who exhibit precise and well-defined intellectual goals. A foundation that contemplates spending thousands of dollars sending a student to study at a Brazilian university, for example, needs to know more than that a student is a smart, well-educated person; they want to see that you have an idea, a project, or a course of study that you can pursue only in Brazil. If you decide that you have always wanted to see Brazil and then dream up a reason to study there, the result will be a weak application.

Career Goals - Define and Refine

How, then, might you proceed if your superstar status does not automatically qualify you to win big competitions? You need to be centered. First, you must think carefully about what you want to do. You should compose your intellectual autobiography and decide what the next chapter should be. Then you should search for awards that will support your career goals—what you imagine you would like to study or research, where you would like to venture next in life. The primary activity of the application process involves defining and refining those plans, and in the process students define and refine their intellectual and vocational identity.

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