Anyone else get the email with the SF-86 attached?

Answers to various questions regarding the SMART Scholarship application process. Includes many tips and statistics.

Anyone else get the email with the SF-86 attached?

Postby blackbishop » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:50 pm

Anyone else get the email from the ASEE/SMART people recently with the SF-86 attached? I hate this freaking form. Does anyone know why they are sending it out early this year?

Re: Anyone else get the email with the SF-86 attached?

Postby jlit » Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:36 pm

I am also applying for the scholarship and I received this form as well. I am assuming that the form is so that they can weed out any applicant which would not pass the security clearance before reviewing the whole application. I personally have not had to much experience with government work but I have several friends and family which do and from what I have seen you will have to learn to like or at least deal with these type of forms.

Re: Anyone else get the email with the SF-86 attached?

Postby Chris Moulder » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:10 pm

I'm intrigued by this too. I'll see if I can get an answer tomorrow. I'd be very surprised if they asked everyone to complete an entire SF-86.
Chris Moulder
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Re: Anyone else get the email with the SF-86 attached?

Postby dmarshall91 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:33 am

I received a SF-86. That is a pretty long form. I'm wondering if they sent this out to everyone, or if there was some sort of test that we passed that said we're moving on to the next level.
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:30 am

Re: Anyone else get the email with the SF-86 attached?

Postby jlit » Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:51 pm

If you read the instructions they sent along with the SF-86 you will see that it said this form is due from all applicants while the SF-87 is due only from the finalists which will be notified in early February.

Re: Anyone else get the email with the SF-86 attached?

Postby blackbishop » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:01 pm

I read the instructions but i just think that they are setting themselves up for a ridiculous amount of work if they are going to do a prelim screening of all of the applicants before they even review our files.

Re: Anyone else get the email with the SF-86 attached?

Postby jlit » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:59 am

Yeah I know what you mean Chris I know you said that you would ask about it did you find anything out?

Re: Anyone else get the email with the SF-86 attached?

Postby SMARTGuide » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:23 pm

OK folks, here we go. I work for the SMART Program and will try to answer SOME of your questions. I will check back from time to time to read posts but will NOT respond to everything posted. If you are an applicant with questions, you should contact ASEE directly.

1) Yes, a new process for collecting security clearance related information has been recently added (e.g. the SMART Program Office received direction to modify the process the first week in December 2009 thus why there was no mention of it earlier on our website). Yes, everyone that submitted an application this year is required to complete the entire SF86. For the record, we recognize the substantial work involved for both applicants and our office. We are human and, trust me, have no deep burning desire to increase our workload anymore than applicants have a desire to fill out this form. Having a completed SF86 now enables us to begin processing clearances for new awardees immediately upon award rather than having to wait several additional weeks to begin the process. A few weeks on the front end makes an enormous difference for us and new awardees down the road.

2) We received over 3,400 applications this year; we anticipate making 250-300 awards. Please DON’T take this to mean your chances are low and you should give up now. SMART is a workforce development program with a scholarship component. We strive to select applicants that are both academically strong AND are a good fit for the workforce of the Department of Defense (DoD). Each year some academically well qualified students don’t receive awards because their career interests do not align with the needs of the DoD and/or they are unable and/or unwilling to comply with the terms of the service agreement (please see our website for copies of past service agreements). EVERY completed application will be reviewed and considered with the above in mind. Your chances are as good as the next person so don’t take yourself out of the running by not submitting follow-up information when requested. We have to somehow get from 3,400 down to 250-300 and the first to go are applicants that haven’t submitted information we need.

3) A very general description of our application review and selection process;

a) All completed applications are screened to determine if the applicant meets all of our base eligibility requirements (e.g. applicant has a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, is a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older, etc. – see our website for a complete description).

b) All completed applications meeting our base eligibility requirements are reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts. This year’s panel will consist of approximately 180 people; 50% will be professors from civilian universities across the country, the other 50% will be government employees with expertise in one or more of the STEM disciplines listed on our website. Each application is reviewed by three reviewers; 1 civilian professor, 1 government employee. The final reviewer can be either a civilian professor or government employee.

c) Applicants are ranked by discipline and degree type (e.g. BS, MS, Ph.D). Applicants ranking in the top 50% of their category are considered semi-finalists and are forwarded for further review.

d) Semi-finalist applications are made available to people at the DoD facilities where awardees ultimately end up working after graduation. Groups of people at these facilities review applications of individuals with backgrounds and interests that are aligned with their projected workforce needs. Most facilities conduct phone interviews with these individuals. From this group, each facility submits a list of candidates they recommend for award and placement with their organization.

e) The SMART Program Office (SPO) complies these lists, resolves issues that arise when the same candidate is recommended for placement at multiple facilities, and conducts further screening to insure recommended candidates a) understand the nature of the post-graduation service commitment and b) are willing and able to comply with the terms of the service agreement.

f) Based on the results of these screening efforts and the available budget, a sub-set of these applicants are chosen for an award.

We have been students and most of us are parents too. We truly understand how concerning financial aid and scholarship funding is to each and every individual and care deeply about our applicants and awardees. I hope you find this information helpful and sincerely thank you for your interest in the Program.

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