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Pioneer Scholarships

pioneer scholarships

Pioneer Scholarships Application

The Pioneer Scholarships Application is open from Oct 1 - Jan 31.  Complete your application to be considered for over 100 institutional scholarships.  The portal contains many external scholarship opportunities offered by companies and organizations outside CSUEB.  Don't wait, apply now! 

Did you Know...

  • Admitted students and current students are eligible to complete the Pioneer Scholarship Application.
  • Students can search for scholarship opportunities by major, academic program, interests, and more! 
  • You can monitor the submission of letters of recommendation and send electronic reminders to your references. 
  • Students can view scholarship offers and accept scholarship awards online. 
  • Students are able to submit thank you letters online and learn more about our scholarship donors. 

Here is the prompt for the “My Story” Essay:

Write an essay titled “My Story: that tells us about you. Be Specific about your academic and career goals, and how you plan to reach those goals. Discuss any obstacles you have overcome and any specific financial needs you have. This is your opportunity to share with us what makes you unique and deserving of a scholarship.

Here is the prompt broken down into its essential components:

(1) Write an essay titled “My Story” that tells us about you. Be specific about your academic and career goals, and how you plan to reach those goals.

TIPS: Mention your major, or program you are pursuing. Also, if you feel you haven’t settled on a direction or major, discuss the options you are considering and what you’re doing to settle on an option. The point is to show that you are mature and are thinking of your own future. The readers want to award a student who will put the scholarship money to good use.

  • I want to be a teacher and work in a school that serves low-income children.
  • I want to be an engineer and work for Cisco so that I can create new products that will keep Silicon Valley a strong and competitive location for the tech industry.
  • I’m not sure what I want to do, but I am considering becoming a financial analyst. I’ve talked to some of my friends’ parents. I also plan on contacting different collages about their Graduate level economics and business programs. Also….

(2) Discuss any obstacles you have overcome and any specific financial needs you have. This is your opportunity to share with us what makes you unique and deserving of a scholarship.

Obstacles can be anything from your financial situation, to being the first in your family to go to college, to not having your own mode of transportation. You just have to show why that obstacle is important and why a scholarship will help you overcome this and other obstacles.


First, describe an obstacle.

  1. Not having a car
  2. Being a parent and going to school full time
  3. Family pressures
  4. Financial situation

Second, discuss how you overcame that obstacle.

  1. Not having a car: I take the bus to school even though it takes me two hours to get to school every day. I also carpool when I can.
  2. Being a parent and going to school full time: I am a single parent with two kids. My family and friends help me with child care so that I can go to school….
  3. Family pressures: My parents prefer that I don’t go to school and that I work full time to help with the family finances. Because it’s important for me to finish school, I work full time and attend night classes…
  4. Financial situation: Although my parents help me with college expenses, money is tight since the economy has been down. I currently work part time, but it doesn’t pay well enough to help me with all of my educational expenses.


  1. Read the prompt several times and think about what it is really asking. Try to restate the prompt in your own words.
  2. Start at least three weeks before the deadline, if possible.
  3. Read the prompt again and think about it.
  4. Make an outline.
  5. Read the prompt again.
  6. Write a draft.
  7. Ask someone to read your draft
  8. Make changes afterwards, and start to focus on clarity
  9. SHOW, don’t tell. - Avoid words and phrases without explanation. For example, if you use the words shown below, you will have to explain (or show) why you felt this way and how the experience you’re describing impacted your life.









Feel good

Appealing to me

Appealing to aspect like it

It’s important

I can contribute

Meant a lot to me






I want to make a difference

I like helping people







  1. Create your second draft
  2. Don’t read it for at least 24 hours! Then read it again and be very critical and check for mistakes you know you usually make.

Possible Format/Outline:

  1. Introduction: Briefly, who are you? What’s your major? Give a little background info.
  2. Background on what has inspired you to choose your major.
  3. Career goals. What do you plan to do when you leave CSU East Bay? Why are you in school?
  4. Financial need. How will you use the scholarship if you receive it? Conclude.

Questions? -  Contact Karima Karim in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at

  1. What are “Opportunities”?

“Opportunities” refers to scholarship opportunities.

  1. If I don’t receive financial aid, can I still get a scholarship?

Absolutely!  Only some scholarships require the filing of the FAFSA – in order to demonstrate financial need.

  1. Q: If I do receive financial aid and a scholarship, will my financial aid be affected?

Scholarships are accounted for in your financial aid package, as they are considered an educational resource.

  1. Q: Will my other financial aid be reduced if I win a scholarship?

While this is possible, it is unlikely.  When this does occur, it is typically only when Loans are taken out, up to the Cost of Attendance (COA) budget.  In that case, the loans are reduced and replaced by the scholarship:  we are swapping free money for money that would have had to be repaid. 

  1. Where can I update information for my “Applicant Record”?

You may update or make changes to personal information, such as your phone number, mailing address, or email address, via MyCSUEB. For questions pertaining to your academic information, please contact the Registrar’s Office.

  1. Am I eligible for scholarship opportunities if I have not been admitted to CSUEB yet?

You may apply for scholarship opportunities; however, your application will only be considered if you are admitted, and you meet scholarship eligibility requirements. Your scholarship application does not guarantee admission to CSUEB.

  1. What are “Recommended” opportunities?

Based on your information and General Application responses, “Recommended” scholarship opportunities are suggested for your review because you might qualify. Please review the description of the scholarship opportunity, and if you meet all eligibility requirements, complete all Supplemental Questions to apply. If you read the description and you know that you do not qualify, please do not apply. Please note, “Recommended” does not guarantee qualification.

  1. What are “Ours” opportunities?

The “Ours” link scholarship opportunities will show all scholarships without filtering them based on your individual information. Some scholarships do not require additional information and if you qualify, you will be automatically considered. The first step in applying to any opportunities in the Pioneer Scholarship Application is to submit the General Application.

  1. Can I make changes to my General Application after it is submitted?

Yes, you may make changes to your General Application after it is submitted. However, please note that the system completes a point-in-time snapshot of your application when applying for individual scholarship opportunities based on its respective deadline date.

  1. What is a “Confidential” reference?

The “Confidential” reference option allows you to enter the name and email address of a reference provider, such as a current or previous professor, if they would prefer to upload their letter of recommendation confidentially. The status of the letter of recommendation will show as either “Requested” or “Submitted”.

  1. Can I update my applications under Active opportunities?

Yes, you may continue to update your application until the deadline date. On the date of a scholarship deadline, the system completes a point-in-time snapshot of your application

  1. When will I be notified if I am awarded a scholarship?

Scholarship opportunities are offered by many departments and colleges across campus with different deadlines dates; therefore, we suggest that you occasionally log in and check for updates. If selected for a scholarship, the department will contact you directly.

  1. Why don’t I have more scholarship opportunities on my “Recommended” list?

“Recommended” opportunities provide you with suggested scholarships for your review to determine if you meet eligibility requirements. Scholarship opportunities have various beginning and end dates, so we strongly encourage you to continuously log in and check for new scholarship opportunities.

  1. What are “External” opportunities?

“External” scholarship opportunities are scholarships that are not affiliated with CSUEB. They are off campus private scholarship notices and are listed for your consideration at the request of private organizations. These scholarships require a separate application and have various eligibility requirements and deadlines. Interested applicants must contact the organization directly with questions.

  1. What are “Archived” opportunities?

“Archived” opportunities are scholarships that have completed their scholarship cycles. These are applications from previous application cycles that are no longer active. Only past applications that received award offers or acceptances are displayed, allowing applicants’ access to a record of past awards (if needed in the future, such as to list on resumes or graduate school applications.)

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