The Excellence in Experiential Learning (ExcEL) Scholar Awards are scholarships available to undergraduate students who want to study abroad or pursue a project outside of the classroom to further their education, such as:

  • Volunteering/community-based learning
  • Conducting independent research
  • Studying abroad
  • Pursuing a creative or entrepreneurial project

It often takes additional finances for a student to pursue an out-of-classroom experience. Dominican University has designed the ExcEL Scholar Awards to reduce the burden of tuition payments, thus making these experiences that much more possible. Each academic year, $50,000 in awards are made available, and individual students can apply for an award of up to $2,000, during the fall or spring term.

Award Cycles and Eligibility

Students will be notified via email each fall and spring, of the upcoming ExcEL Scholar Awards cycle and application deadline. Applicants should read through all of the eligibility requirements prior to applying.

In order to be considered for this award, students must:

  • Be an undergraduate student pursuing their first bachelor’s degree
  • Have earned at least 45 credits towards their degree (15 credits must have been completed at DU)
  • Have a GPA that meets the requirements of the experience they are pursuing
  • Have shared their proposal with a faculty sponsor who will endorse them
  • Have identified an experience that will take place prior to their graduation.
  • Have identified an experience that will take place during the eligible timeline:
    • In Fall 2020: applicants can apply for an award that will support an experience taking place between January 1, 2021 and December 2021
    • In Spring 2021: applicants can apply for an award that will support experience taking place between May 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022
Criteria and Priorities

ExcEL Scholar award applications include an essay and budget for the experience a student wishes to pursue. Applications will be evaluated based on how well they:

  • Present meaningful connections between the experience they are pursuing the future path they envision for themselves
  • Present their learning goals through the experience
  • Present a realistic budget that illustrates how the ExcEL award will help any financial gaps, including what they will pay out of pocket.

The financial need of students, verified through the Office of Financial Aid, will also be taken into consideration by the Award Designation Committee. Preference will be given to applicants who have not yet received an ExcEL Scholar Award.

ExcEL Scholar Awards and Covid-19

When planning ExcEL projects, students should consider whether Covid-19 may prevent them from participating in an experience. Even if your application is successful and you are selected to be a recipient, awards will not be disbursed until it is determined by Dominican University that you can participate safely in your planned experience, during the period of eligibility. Students will not be able to propose alternative experiences after their application is selected. If you’re unsure whether you will be able to participate in a particular type of experiential learning opportunity during the pandemic, you may want to consider creating an application for a different type of experience.

To Learn More and Apply

The Fall 2020 application cycle opens September 21, 2020, and the deadline to apply is October 22, 2020. Current qualifying students can apply by enrolling in the Canvas application site.

To learn more about ExcEL and receive helpful tips for your application, please plan to attend one of the following information sessions:

Tuesday, September 22:  2:30–3:15 p.m. via Zoom   

Wednesday, September 23: 1:00–1:45 p.m. via Zoom

Monday, September 28: 1:00–1:45 p.m. via Zoom   

Thursday, October 1: 2:30–3:15 p.m. via Zoom