A Brief Review of the Aerospace Scholarships Guide

I know I’m supposed to build up to the big reveal but I don’t see the point in wasting any time. While the guide does list a large number of scholarships, there are also quite a few errors that make the product feel neglected and in some instances, becomes unusable. In my case, there was also a lack of communication from the team that handles the guide, which does not inspire confidence.

The Aerospace Scholarships website states that “Entries are updated regularly to assure accuracy.” but I don’t think they give as close an inspection as truly needed. Even right there, shouldn’t that be “ensure” instead of “assure?” I’m truly not great with grammar but the fact that I’m picking up on the mistakes means things must be pretty bad.

And there’s even a spelling error in one of the next lines on the site: “The information concerning each scholarship is presented in a compete and simplified format.“

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As a new listener to the Aviation Careers Podcast, I’ve enjoyed the episodes that Carl has produced. There are some interesting and informational guests and topics and my only complaint is that I wish each episode were longer. Carl mentions the guide quite a bit so I eventually caved in and purchased a copy. I costs only $10 and if you’re awarded even just one scholarship, you’ll no doubt make your money back many times over.

But with the “over 200” scholarships available in the guide, there are just 22 that I might be or become eligible for. I also bookmarked 35 that may be technically possible to win but could be difficult (many needing sponsorship by a current member or were part of a “group” where I could only submit two applications toward, etc.).

The scholarships YOU qualify for will completely depend on your specific situation but to give you a little background on me, I’m a white male in my early 30’s with a bachelor’s degree and no prior flight experience. I’m also about to make a career change to pursue my ATP certificate for a job at the airlines by way of an accelerated program.

As I went through the PDF version of the scholarship guide, making notes on each scholarship and investigating whether or not I could qualify, I found quite a few issues.

Sidenote: I should've waited until the book went on sale because discounts seem to be fairly frequent. I’m of the belief that if the guide is being sold at a discount, then by paying full price, I overpaid. Just like anyone else would be, I wasn’t happy to find a discount code after I made my purchase. To hear more on why discounts are a bad idea, I highly recommend watching this video: Discounts Are Slowly Killing Your Brand. I also have to note that I was given a full refund but more on that later.

I wish I could share the over 20 mistakes I found in the guide but I don’t want to give away the contents of the guide without permission. The mistakes I came across were wide in range:

  • Broken links from the guide to the scholarship application

  • Many completely non-working links to scholarships from the Categorical Index

  • Scholarships in the Index linking to wrong scholarships

  • Spelling typos and grammatical errors

  • Some scholarships were completely missing from the guide even though they were listed in the Index

  • At least one scholarship is listed in the guide but not actually available for 2019

Overall, I'm disappointed with the finished quality and expected more. I do understand that it can’t be easy to keep up with all of this but the verbiage on the Aerospace Scholarships Book website implies it would be more tightly put together.

After making notes on the mistakes I found, I sent an email to Carl. In each podcast episode, it’s mentioned many times to email in with any questions or feedback but I never received a reply, even after multiple repeat emails. A few weeks went by and all of a sudden, I was refunded my order without any reference to my emails. While appreciated, I wasn’t actually looking for a refund but an explanation of the mistakes.

Another issue I have (but isn’t an error) is how the guide is updated. After buying my PDF copy, I made tons of notes, on the actual PDF. If the next version comes out as a completely new PDF, I’ll have to go through it line by line to compare the differences.

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I would highly recommend finding a better method of updating that mentions or highlights the updates/revisions.

What I’d really like to see is an online version that is sort-able based on specific parameters. For example, you could select checkboxes that pertain to your specific situation (sex, age, flight experience, etc.), and it will return a list of scholarships that could be available to you. And possibly even notify you by email once a new scholarship is added that meets your unique criteria.

But for now, I’d be happy if they just worked on improving the current guide and focusing on accuracy.

The Verdict: Buy the guide at a discount if you’re not up for doing some research on scholarships yourself. If you do buy it though, be prepared for a number of broken links or missing information. I’m hoping they’ll start keeping a closer eye on future versions as this could be a very useful tool.

Could you go a year without your smartphone?

 
Paper notebooks I’ve filled over the past few years. Bottle of vitaminwater for scale.  I wonder how many more notebooks I’d complete if I didn’t have a smartphone?

Paper notebooks I’ve filled over the past few years. Bottle of vitaminwater for scale. I wonder how many more notebooks I’d complete if I didn’t have a smartphone?

In a few weeks, vitaminwater will challenge one person to ditch their smartphone for 365 consecutive days.

Is that even something that can be accomplished in this day and age, where our smartphone has become so vital to everyday life? How painful would it be? Could it be likened to using a horse for transportation while everyone else has a car? If so, I imagine the breaking point being much shorter than a year.

I'm not entirely sure how different my life would become if I didn't have a smartphone but I've decided to enter the vitaminwater contest in an effort to find out.

What makes me the most nervous is that I can't tell you the last time I went without my smartphone for more than a few hours, let alone a year. And if you're honest with yourself, you probably can't either.

So much of my life revolves around using my smartphone. It handles just about everything, from fast-food mobile orders, to photography, note taking, depositing paychecks, even my doorbell is completely based in an app! How deep does this level of control go?

Spending a year without a smartphone won't be easy but I'm ready for the challenge. Even if I don't win, I still think it's a fantastic thought exercise and I highly recommend you consider joining in too.

If you're interested in hearing more, check out the page I made specifically for this project.


Update: I wasn’t selected for the contest but that’s a-ok. It was a wonderful thought exercise and I wish their contestant luck. It won’t be easy but it will be worthwhile.