Incoming First Year Students

If you are an incoming first year Franke Honors student seeking scholarships or grants, here are some of the funding opportunities available.

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Merit-based Scholarships

Learn more about scholarships awarded on the basis of academic or other merit.

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Financial Need-based Scholarships

Learn more about scholarships with eligibility based on financial need (FAFSA on file required).

These are just a few of the many scholarship and grant opportunities you may be eligible for. To view even more, we recommend utilizing Scholarship Universe, the university’s scholarship-matching database. By creating a Scholarship Universe profile, you will be matched to relevant scholarship opportunities. 

To leverage Scholarship Universe, you must be admitted to the University of Arizona. Take the first step by completing your admissions application, and be sure to check “Yes” when prompted about your interest in the W.A. Franke Honors College.

For questions about any of the scholarships below, please contact Angie Valdez, Assistant Director of Internal Scholarships at


Sample Essays

Get inspired and preview the three essays below and see the many different ways to write and structure essays for the scholarship applications.  

The W.A. Franke scholarship will positively impact my educational pursuit by allowing me to afford to attend the University of Arizona. Recently, my family has experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic’s effect on my father's profession as a self-employed long-haul truck driver. My father heavily relied on large corporations hiring him to deliver loads of goods. However, because of the pandemic, shipping needs greatly diminished across the country which significantly reduced my father’s income. As a family of five, we are struggling to subsist on my mother’s teacher's salary. Despite my family's struggles I have continued to be successful in my education and serve my community. My most significant leadership experiences involved community and school organizations. As a member of the Lafayette Youth Advisory Commission (LYAC), whose mission is to engage underrepresented youth, I became involved in community educational opportunities and social justice outreach. Through LYAC, I have helped organize the annual MLK March, collaborated on planning mental health workshops for Hispanic parents, and organized workshops for youth to learn about the U.S. history of diverse populations. 

My LYAC experiences have deepened my empathy for others and advanced my leadership skills. Additionally, two more community organizations have deepened my leadership experiences. As a regular volunteer with a group of students of color at Ollin Farm (2022-2024), a community-focused farm co-owned by a Hispanic woman of color, I have learned the importance of a resilient food system to successful agriculture. And, at my local church, I have volunteered to teach Sunday school to the Hispanic community and help with weekend retreats (2020-2024). At Centaurus High School, I achieved an academic letter all 4 years of high school and earned the Colorado State Seal of biliteracy in Spanish. Given that Centaurus High School's demographics includes 40% students of color, I was surprised to be the only Hispanic inducted into National Honor Society (NHS). However, this helped me realize the pressing need for more people of color to hold leadership positions. Through NHS, I also volunteered at Pioneer Bilingual School to serve as a bilingual-biliterate role model and inspire students toward a higher education. These NHS experiences led me to become a self-determined leader who advocates for others, especially for underserved populations. At Centaurus, I was elected to Student Council (2022 to 2024) and supported special education students once a week in their physical education class and with their in-school snack sales. I also helped organize homecoming, pep rallies, and prom. As a student-athlete, I played two sports: Soccer (10-12 grade) and volleyball (9-10 grade). Each year, my team and I volunteered at community festivals and health fairs. Each sports season, I practiced after school for 2 hours daily and played one to two games weekly. In closing, my many community and school experiences have enriched my leadership and advocacy skills. The W.A. Franke scholarship would allow me to be part of the University of Arizona and better serve my community to advance the success of underserved populations in higher education and a better society. 

I want to pursue a career as a psychologist; therefore, I know I will have to make a bigger commitment to further my education after graduating with an undergraduate degree in psychology. I’m aware that I will have to choose a doctorate program to further focus my studies. I am leaning towards clinical psychology because it feels like the most immediate way to help an individual. I want to focus on mental health and mental illness because I’ve seen, firsthand, how mental illnesses have affected friends and family. I know how desperate one can feel as they watch a loved one struggle, and almost deteriorate, with mental illness. I would love to help the individual better understand themself, those around them, and provide their loved ones with information on how to help them. Even before this was my plan, I had a passion about spreading awareness about how crucial mental health care is. I used to (and still) re-post information about taking time for oneself and their mental health or about taking a step back from the world to recenter. I have used the tips I read about and reposted because I know I cannot help anyone while I’m in a bad place, regarding my mental health.  

I have always felt that the best way to spread awareness about mental health issues is to educate people on the basics of mental health and warning signs they, themselves, may experience or watch a friend go through. This information cannot be gated kept from under-privileged communities. Mental health awareness and the information needs to be made accessible. This can be done by making it a part of the curriculum in a health class. With the minor in Spanish that I also want to pursue, I will be able to be a more accessible asset to the Hispanic/Latinx communities. There is a stigma about mental health and mental illness in the Hispanic/Latinx communities that I would also want to work to alleviate. Machismo culture and the stigma surrounding mental health have made it so that members of the Hispanic/Latinx communities are taught to ignore their mental health and to disregard mental health illnesses. This only worsens any mental health issue because it is never addressed. I know it will be a difficult journey, but I think it’s important for members of the Hispanic/Latinx communities to educate their family and community. I know I may sound too ambitious and maybe I don’t know what I’m getting myself into. What I do know is that I want to help people. If my plans change from now until I graduate, I’m okay with that. Prior to my interest in psychology, I didn't know how I wanted to help people, and that's the only thing I know will never change. No matter what I end up doing, I know I will put myself in the best place to provide aid and support to people. 

Hands are a marvel of natural engineering and evolution. The complexity of the bone structure and unique muscle arrangement are absolutely fascinating. As a young woman intending to pursue orthopedic hand surgery, hands represent the versatility I aim to achieve in the field of medicine. As a Baird Scholar at the University of Arizona, I know with surety that I will be prepared for the future not only with the knowledge I’ll need to succeed, but as a multifaceted individual with an understanding of the world beyond a textbook.  

The impact of hands on a person’s quality of life and independence is immense. So many children have metaphorically impaired hands because of their economic or family situations. They grow up unable to see themselves in STEM; they have no idea of the potential their own hands have. As a Baird Scholar, I will reach out to Tucson youth and show them the immense power that they have in their own hands to pursue medicine, to develop a passion for STEM. This operation will be more difficult than any that I may one day perform in an operating room. As I’ve brought Women in STEM to Westwood and spearheaded elementary STEM outreach programs at Emerson, I hope that the Tucson Unified School District will be receptive to such programs that will support teachers in the science curriculum and encourage youth to find a place in STEM. With the community inherent in being a Baird Scholar behind me, I have no doubt that many positive changes will come to pass.  

There is something special about the artistic, desert community that exists in Tucson. I cannot wait to be immersed in such a setting, full of students with different stories and ways of thinking, united by the promise of better that education proclaims. I know I will find a place in the American Medical Women’s Association with my sisters in STEM and will support my peers as they support me in the Arizona UAN Biochemistry Club. As a Baird Scholar, I will not merely be a body on campus; I will be a mentor to local young women interested in STEM, learner, advocate, and friend. I look forward to getting to know other Baird Scholars and being a part of the Baird circle. A common focus will unite us in our personal and academic lives at UArizona as we learn to appreciate each other’s differences and perspectives. We will use our experiences to complement and support one another. Whether cheering on the Wildcats in the McKale Memorial Center, serving in the community, or building relationships with faculty through research, I know that with the support of the Baird Foundation, my experience at the University of Arizona will be one of growth.Baird Scholars have a legacy of academic brightness, innovative thought, and integrity in all things. As a young woman that dreams of becoming an orthopedic hand surgeon, I hope to inspire others to find their potential and use their hands for good.