The Evans Scholarship - The Best College Scholarship Available

The Evans Scholarship, awarded each year to hundreds of golf caddies across the country, is perhaps the best college scholarship available to high school seniors today.

It is possibly the best college scholarship to earn.

The Chick Evans Memorial Golf Scholarship is awarded each year to male and female high school seniors across the country that also happen to work as caddies at some of the nation's top private country clubs.

But don't get the Evans Scholarship confused with the generic "caddy scholarship" that Danny Noonan was awarded in the classic movie, "Caddyshack." Candidates do not have to win any golf tournaments to be selected and you don't have to caddy for Rodney Dangerfield.

Instead the Evans Scholarship awards deserving caddies who have some level of financial need and finished in the top 20 percent of their high school graduating class. There are chapter houses located across the country, but they mainly centered in the Midwest. Recipients can attend mostly public and even a couple private schools in such states as Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Colorado and more.

"It was the best thing that happened to me coming out of high school, no question," says Chris Cole, a 1995 graduate of the Evans Scholar program at Michigan State University. "It was a great feeling coming out of college without all of those student loans."

But the scholarship is more than just a free ride. Alumni are part of a respected fraternity who can use the networking contacts they make through the program for the rest of their lives.

And the Evans Scholar Foundation, governed by the Western Golf Association, is only continuing to grow. Applications increase virtually every year making for increased competition among applicants. In addition Evans Scholars have begun attending such schools as the University of Oregon, Penn State University, and others in the last 10 years.

The Western Golf Association funds the program largely through private donations from across the country. Hundreds of thousands of golfers donate at least $200 each year to the program, becoming members of the Par Club. Some of the top golfing personalities in the United States, including Tiger Woods, are also contributors.

Some of the funds are also raised by profits from the Western Open PGA event, held each year in the Chicago area, and by chapter and alumni fundraisers throughout the year.

Applicants generally come from the states where chapter schools are located. For example, a high school senior who caddied in Michigan would be eligible to attend either the University of Michigan or Michigan State University. There are four schools in Illinois, including Northwestern University and two more in a handful of other states.

Most schools also have chapter houses where scholars will live during most or all of their eight-semester tenure. In essence, most Evans Scholar chapter houses serve as fraternities with both men and women. In some cases, Evans chapter houses are actually a member of the school's fraternity/sorority council.

Here are a few ways to increase your chances of being selected as an Evans Scholar:

- Before starting a caddying job, call around to local private country clubs to gauge how strong the caddy program is. The more Par Club donors are at a club the greater a chance one or more caddies from that club will be awarded the scholarship any given year.

- Develop a relationship with some of the members when caddying. When a high school senior turns in an application, it is suggested that he or she include one or more letters of reference from members and/or club staff.

- Be sure to display some level of commitment and reliability during your career as a caddying because the head of the caddy program is also required to write a letter of recommendation.

- Maintain a high GPA in high school (at least 3.0 or better) and participate in one or more extracurricular events that will pay dividends on the scholarship application.

- Get a scholarship application from your caddy superintendent as early as possible (start asking immediately after completing your junior year of high school) and turn it in early the fall of your senior year in high school.

- Prepare your parents to help with detailed information about your family's financial situation. The Evans Scholarship is slanted toward applicants who have varying levels of financial need.

"Caddying itself is great money and it gives you a flexible schedule," says Cole. "Once I started I realized it was a great job while growing up."

For more information on the scholarship, call the Western Golf Association at 847-724-4600.

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