PATHS Scholarship Program

Pursue PATHS to a Bright Future . . .

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

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Mines is a public university devoted to engineering and applied science, with the highest admissions standards of any public university in Colorado and among the highest of any public university in the U.S. Mines ranked #1 in the 2015 USA Today list of “top 10 engineering colleges in the U.S.” and 38th in the 2015 US News and World Report “Top Public Schools” ranking. Learn more at: http://inside.mines.edu.

The fastest growing program at Mines is Computer Science (CS). CS@Mines prepares tomorrow's leaders to bring the computational power and thinking of computer science to all fields of engineering and science, as well as business, medicine and entertainment. Learn more at: http://cs.mines.edu.

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Path Ambassadors to High Success (PATHS) is a newly-developed scholarship program created and managed by a collaborative Mines leadership team with funding from the National Science Foundation. PATHS offers an exciting opportunity for academically talented, low-income students in Colorado to study Computer Science (CS) at Mines. Through a process open to all graduating high school students and community college transfer students in Colorado who meet the eligibility criteria, PATHS creates new and strengthens existing pathways for economically challenged, high-potential CS students to attend and thrive at Mines. In addition to financial awards, PATHS empowers students through on-campus communities that provide a spectrum of activities, support services, career guidance, and university resources to encourage scholars through successful completion of an undergraduate degree. PATHS especially seeks worthy scholars from groups underrepresented in CS and STEM fields, generally, by ethnic/cultural heritage, gender, etc. PATHS anticipates selecting 10-20 incoming freshmen and/or transfer students as PATHS Scholars annually through the application process. Click here to view the application.

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Each student selected to become a PATHS Scholar will receive a scholarship toward Mines tuition, fees, and expenses. While exact amounts may vary depending on each scholar's circumstances, an average PATHS Scholarship award will be approximately $5,000 annually. In rare cases, the maximum award may be up to $10,000 per year. PATHS Scholarships are "stackable" with other financial aid, and individual award levels are determined in consultation with the Mines Financial Aid Office, which coordinates awards, grants and aid available to each student from all sources.

Every PATHS Scholar who meets the program standards will be invited to reapply annually, with the expectation that they will continue to be funded at the same annual monetary award level each year through Mines graduation, up to a maximum of four (4) academic years (8 semesters). PATHS awards may be extended beyond 8 semesters only with good cause shown through an appeal process, in the sole discretion of the PATHS leadership team.

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Yes. PATHS Scholars can accept financial assistance from other sources. The Mines Financial Aid Office is available to answer specific questions about your individual situation by email at finaid@mines.edu or by phone at 303-273-3301.

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PATHS might make sense for you, depending on your overall academic and career interests. PATHS Scholars will pursue a major in CS. Scholars who are uncertain about their precise plans in CS can pursue a major in any of the four available CS Majors Focus Areas. The focus areas allow you to combine core CS learning with concentrated coursework in data science, computer engineering or robotics and intelligent systems. You can complete core CS classes early on during your studies at Mines, which will give you time to explore and determine which of the four available CS Majors Focus Areas best suits your individual interests. The choice of focus areas allows students to develop expertise that extends to careers beyond CS that they ultimately may decide to pursue.

Eligibility Information

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To apply for a PATHS Scholarship, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • US Citizen, Permanent Resident, National or Refugee
  • Resident of Colorado
  • Incoming freshman or community college transfer, accepted by Mines Undergraduate Admissions
  • Financial need demonstrated though FAFSA process

Students who meet the above standards and identify as part of any group(s) historically underrepresented in STEM fields are highly encouraged to apply for a PATHS Scholarship.

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No. The only citizenship that impacts your eligibility is your own.

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Yes. A fundamental purpose of the PATHS program is to cultivate CS studies at Mines among high-potential, low-income students who live in Colorado.

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While academic achievement is a factor in the selection process, PATHS does not impose a minimum GPA requirement from your current school for you to be eligible to apply. Indeed, the PATHS Scholarship Application Form allows you to share with the selection committee any circumstances or challenges that may have impacted your grades or involvement in school/community activities.

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Yes, home schooled high school seniors are welcome to apply for a PATHS Scholarship if they are interested in a CS major, enjoy outreach and mentoring activities, and meet the PATHS eligibility standards (citizenship status, CO resident, admitted to Mines as a full-time freshman, and have financial need).

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No. PATHS supports undergraduate students in pursuit of their first Bachelor’s degree within one of the four CS Majors Focus Areas available through the Mines CS Department. Those students who previously have earned an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree in any field of study from any institution are ineligible.

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“Demonstrated financial need” is determined through completion of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) process. Specifically, financial need is determined by subtracting the calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Cost of Attendance. A positive number reflects the amount of financial need the family may have. The lower the EFC, the higher the financial need. If family circumstances are different from what was reflected on the FAFSA, please contact the Financial Aid Office at finaid@mines.edu.

Application Information

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PRIORITY APPLICATION DEADLINE:
11:59PM MST on February 12, 2018

PATHS welcomes scholarship applications from eligible graduating high school seniors and students who have completed one or two years of community college in Colorado, who have been accept to and plan to attend Mines full-time, and who listed in their Mines application an expressed interest in majoring in CS. To meet the Priority Application Deadline, invited PATHS applicants must submit all application materials on or before the Priority Application Deadline of 11:59PM MST on February 12, 2018.

Eligible students who have an expressed interest in majoring in CS, and who are not accepted to Mines in time to apply to PATHS by the Priority Application Deadline of February 12, 2018 may be invited to apply for a PATHS Scholarship with an Extended Application Deadline of March 31, 2018, if funds remain. PATHS will issue invitations with the Extended Application Deadline only on a funds-available basis and in the discretion of the selection committee after consideration of all applications submitted by the Priority Application Deadline. For that reason, interested students are encouraged to apply and complete the Mines admissions process as early as possible in order to receive a decision early enough to apply for a PATHS Scholarship by the Priority Application Deadline of February 12, 2018.

PATHS Scholarship Application materials are considered submitted when successfully transmitted by email to paths@mines.edu You will receive email confirmation when your PATHS application is complete. Your submitted application will be complete only when the PATHS office has received from you by email attachment all of the following items:

  • Completed PATHS Scholarship Application Form. Click here.
  • Responses to PATHS Application Essay Prompts in a separate file, preferably pdf.
  • Most recent transcript(s) of grades, including grading scale (unofficial transcripts are acceptable).
  • Résumé (listing leadership/work experience, school/community activities, honors/awards).
  • A recommendation letter from a teacher or any non-relative age 21 or older who knows you well.
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Invitations to apply for a PATHS Scholarship will be sent in early January to all admitted students who have expressed interest in a CS major in their Mines admission application and who fulfill the eligibility criteria by January 1, 2018. PATHS Scholarship Applications completed in response to such priority invitations must be submitted by the Priority Application Deadline of February 12, 2018.

Students with expressed interest in a CS major who are admitted to Mines and meet the PATHS eligibility criteria after January 1, 2018 may receive an invitation to apply to PATHS in the discretion of the selection committee on a funds-available basis after consideration of all Priority Applications. Eligible students who receive an invitation to apply to PATHS after February 12, 2018 must submit their completed PATHS Scholarship Application by the Extended Application Deadline of March 31, 2018.

Information from the FAFSA will enable the Mines Financial Aid Office to identify for the PATHS selection committee those admitted students who are eligible to be invited to apply for a PATHS Scholarship. Please complete your FAFSA as early as possible so you can receive a priority invitation to apply to PATHS, if eligible.

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Please apply using an email address that you use regularly and will have access to for the foreseeable future, including for the 2017-18 academic year. The PATHS Team will communicate with you using this email address during the application process (on updates, deadlines, etc.) and beyond. If you use an email address connected with one of your parents or with a school to which you lose access, please email paths@mines.edu to provide an updated email address. Please check your email account frequently (at least twice/week) during the PATHS application process, as quick turnaround may be called for regarding any requested additional information or documents.

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Please submit PATHS application materials (essays, résumé, transcript(s), etc.) as email attachments, preferably pdf files, and transmit by email to paths@mines.edu. Please do not submit any items other than those specifically listed in the application checklist.

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For all students invited to apply to PATHS by the Priority Application Deadline, the FAFSA must be submitted and received at Mines by the PATHS Priority Application Deadline of February 12, 2018. The process takes approximately 3-5 business days, so the Mines Financial Aid Office suggests that you do it as soon as possible. The FAFSA form will be available for completion beginning on Oct. 1, 2017. Please complete the FAFSA online at https://FAFSA.ed.gov.

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The FAFSA can be completed online at https://fafsa.ed.gov/ starting October 1st of each year. It is important to note that the FAFSA must be completed each year you are attending Mines. See step-by-step instructions to submit your FAFSA to Mines Office of Financial Aid at https://inside.mines.edu/Apply-for-Financial-Aid_1.

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PATHS cannot provide advice on FAFSA completion and recommends that you get needed guidance directly from the source. Please contact the staff of the Mines Financial Aid Office for assistance by email at finaid@mines.edu or by phone at 303-273-3301. They will be happy to help you.

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The PATHS Scholarship Application Form includes a section to self-report your best scores on any one sitting of the SAT or ACT standardized tests. Please enter there your best single-sitting ACT or SAT test scores, which also are on file with Mines Admissions. You may, but are not required to, report scores for both the ACT and SAT. Additionally, you may, but are not required to, include scores of any SAT subject test that you have taken on any date.

If you want to retest to try and improve your scores for your PATHS Scholarship Application, you will need to follow the schedule listed below and request that those scores be sent to Colorado School of Mines. For the ACT, our code is 0500; for the SAT, our code is 4073. Scores included on your high school transcript will not be reviewed. The highest composite score will be considered, and test scores will not be super-scored.

Latest ACT Testing Dates:

  • Dec. 9, 2017 for the PATHS Priority Application Deadline
  • Feb. 10, 2018 for the PATHS Extended Application Deadline

Latest SAT Testing Date:

  • Dec. 2, 2017 for both PATHS Priority & Extended Application Deadlines

PATHS Scholarship Priority Applicants please report test scores by the Priority Application Deadline of February 12, 2018. Later-admitted students who are invited to apply to PATHS after February 12, 2018, please report test scores by the Extended Application Deadline of March 31, 2018. If you are selected as a PATHS Scholar, you may be asked to provide official score reports at a later date.

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You will receive an email confirmation once PATHS has received all of your application materials by email to paths@mines.edu. If you believe that you have submitted all materials but have not heard from PATHS within two (2) business days of your submittal, please inquire by email to paths@mines.edu. Please ensure that you get confirmation of successful receipt of all of your application materials prior to the relevant application deadline.

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The PATHS selection committee will form its decisions using a holistic approach considering all application materials submitted by each PATHS Scholarship applicant, based upon the following selection criteria:

  • Academic achievement, especially in science & math
  • Well-formed academic/career goals that include CS
  • Demonstrated maturity and motivation to succeed
  • Interest in K-12 outreach efforts
  • Leadership or work experience
  • Financial need demonstrated through FAFSA

Your essay responses and recommendation letter should address these selection criteria, especially your academic/career goals and interest in outreach.

The selection committee will consider all PATHS Scholarship Applications submitted by the Priority Application Deadline of February 12, 2018 to make its initial selection of PATHS Scholars. The committee will notify priority applicants of decisions by late March, 2018. If funds remain available after consideration of all priority applications, the committee may invite later-accepted students with an expressed interest in a CS major to apply to PATHS by the Extended Application Deadline of March 31, 2018.

Recommendation Letter Information

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Please select someone who has worked closely with you and can address specifically in the recommendation letter how your attributes match the selection criteria. A science or math teacher who has interacted with you directly through coursework during a recent academic year is an example of a good choice, although any teacher who knows you well is suitable. Alternatively, your letter can be from an employer, an activity sponsor, a mentor in the community, or any other person (age 21 or older and not a member of your family) who can communicate effectively why you would be a worthy candidate for a PATHS Scholarship. Consider the scholarship selection criteria listed in the immediately preceding FAQ response above, and choose a recommender who is best positioned to provide specific examples that describe your applicable talents, achievements, interests and characteristics.

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On your PATHS Scholarship Application Form, you will identify your recommender with an email address. Once you submit that contact information, your recommender will receive an email from PATHS with instructions on how to complete the recommendation. It is your responsibility to ensure that your recommender submits your recommendation letter on or before the PATHS application deadline. Please ensure that your recommender knows to submit the letter as an email attachment, preferably a pdf file (file title format: yourfirstname.lastname.path.rec), to paths@mines.edu. Please ask your recommender NOT to send by fax or by US Mail.

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You can get an email re-sent to your recommender by request to paths@mines.edu.

Renewal & Program Information

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PATHS Scholars are highly encouraged to reapply annually for continued funding and to participate actively in the PATHS program consistently as they pursue an undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Mines. PATHS Scholarships are renewable for a maximum of 8 semesters, through senior year at Mines, with a process to extend funding beyond 8 semesters in particular cases for good cause in the sole discretion of the PATHS Leadership Team.

To renew your PATHS Scholarship, you must fulfill the following ongoing responsibilities:

  • Maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA at Mines.
  • Take Mines courses toward a major in CS, pursuing one of the four available CS Majors Focus Areas.
  • Pass a minimum of 24 credit hour/year (Fall + Spring).
  • Participate in all required PATHS cohort activities.
  • Complete periodic PATHS evaluation surveys.

If a PATHS Scholar fails to meet a standard listed above, there is a process to seek renewal on a probationary basis, which will be granted only in appropriate situations in the sole discretion of the PATHS Leadership Team. Students who are selected as PATHS Scholars and who subsequently decide not to pursue a major in Computer Science may not be eligible to reapply to PATHS prospectively for annual funding.

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The PATHS on-campus cohort community provides a social network and ongoing support to PATHS Scholars through various program elements, including academic, social and pre-professional activities, an annual teambuilding retreat, peer mentoring, outreach training and engagement to identify and recruit future PATHS participants (Mines Ambassador program), and PATHS community meetings to discuss issues and brainstorm ideas. Some activities that PATHS considers core to Scholars’ success will have required attendance. Others will be optional, and you can be as involved as you like. We encourage you to take advantage of as many of the programming elements as you can, because all are designed to bolster your success at Mines and beyond. While your PATHS community will be only one of the many cohort groups you will join during your studies at Mines, it is one that likely will be quite enriching if you embrace it wholeheartedly.

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The PATHS program engages current PATHS Scholars to serve as ambassadors for Mines in outreach and recruitment efforts at Colorado high schools and community colleges. Ideally, PATHS Scholars reconnect with their own high school or community college to represent the PATHS program and encourage promising CS students to apply to become future PATHS scholars and, more generally, to attend Mines.

Additionally, Mines Ambassadors will meet weekly with the CS Department Head, who also heads the PATHS Leadership Team. Shortly before the meeting, every Scholar/Ambassador will submit a weekly “P4” that briefly describes their Progress from the previous week, Problems the student encountered, Plans the student has for the next week, and Play, i.e., something fun that happened. The meeting will include discussion of any concerns identified in the P4s. Each Scholar/Ambassador will meet weekly with a peer mentor, too. The first cohort of PATHS Scholars will actively mentor the next group of Scholars so that, year-to-year, each Scholar will benefit from being mentored and, in turn, being a mentor within the PATHS cohort communities.

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PATHS Scholars/Mines Ambassadors will learn skills to recruit and engage diverse populations of prospective students. Every scholar/ambassador will adopt a partner school and serve as a role model and mentor to prospective students there through onsite face-to-face interactions 2-4 times a year. Occasionally, ambassadors will meet with interested students after school to discuss steps those students should be taking toward college (e.g., preparing for the SAT or ACT, taking higher-level math courses, the importance of computing in society, etc.) and to encourage them to consider Mines, generally, and PATHS, specifically, on their path to a future career.

The ambassador role and other PATHS community functions typically will involve a time commitment of two (2) hours per week. Given this ambassador role, PATHS applicants must have interest in performing outreach to K-12 students. The PATHS program views current Scholars themselves to be the best ambassadors of the PATHS program to actively recruit high-potential future participants.

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Shortly before each new academic year, all participating PATHS faculty and students will take part in a 2-day Colorado retreat (sponsored by the program) to promote teamwork and community through teambuilding exercises, individual assessments and professional development presentations. Further, career preparation activities will be provided periodically to PATHS Scholars collectively and individually, such as résumé writing and technical workshops. Additionally, PATHS Scholars will be enrolled together in the same section of “CSM 101,” a required course to acclimate new students to Mines, its available resources and the surrounding environment. Finally, PATHS Scholars will be introduced to professional development groups available to join on campus and become familiar with opportunities through Mines’ active computing industrial partnership program (C-MAPP). Some activities are mandatory while others are optional for PATHS Scholars, depending on circumstances, interests, and class year.

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