Mensa Scholarship Winning Essay Samples

TGIF, all you scholarship seekers! Winter break is approaching, which means you should have plenty of time to devote to some of these awesome scholarships I have leads on for you today. As you know, I try to make your search for scholarships a little easier each Friday by previewing three scholarships with upcoming deadlines.

Today, I’ve got the scoop on two of the biggest scholarships out there — the Dell Scholars program and the Gates Millenium Scholars Program. I also have the skinny on a smaller-size scholarship sponsored by Mensa (membership in your local genius group required).

The Gates Millenium Scholarship offers top dollars to high-achieving, low-income minority students.

1. MENSA U.S. Scholarship Program: $500

If you haven’t heard of Mensa, well, then, let me put this bluntly: You probably aren’t qualified to be in the group or win the scholarship anyway. But if you are a certified genius, then listen up: Mensa is giving away a $500 scholarship to one member of a local American Mensa Group, who is currently enrolled in a degree-granting program at an accredited academic institution in the United States. Applicants must submit a 550-word essay detailing their career and academic goals. Essays will be judged by their local teams, with the best essays being sent on to the regional scholarship committee and eventually to the national scholarship chair. The application deadline is stated on the website.

2. Dell Scholars Program: $20,000

The Dell Scholars Program is open to high school seniors who have participated in the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation college readiness program for at least two years. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.4 and be able to demonstrate financial need. The initial application is due in January, after which the scholarship committee will select a group of semi-finalists who must submit additional information, including an essay. The initial application will be judged on your individual determination to succeed; your future goals and plans to achieve them; your ability to communicate about challenges you have had to overcome; your self-motivation; and your financial need. Beyond the generous financial award, the Dell Scholars Program provides winners with a computer and other technology, a networking community, and the mentoring necessary to succeed at college and beyond. The application deadline is stated on the website.

3. Gates Millenium Scholars Program: Varies

Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Millenium Scholars Program provides financial and other support to outstanding, low income African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students seeking to reach their full academic potential by completing their undergraduate college education. Beyond the financial award — which will cover the full cost of tuition, room, board and fees minus any other scholarships and grants — the program provides leadership development programs, mentoring services, and an online resource center with information on internships and other scholarship opportunities. Applicants must be nominated by a teacher or administrator from their high school and must meet certain requirements, including:

  • Be African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American
  • Have a high school GPA of 3.3 (or earned a GED)
  • Be enrolling as a full-time, degree-seeking, first-year student in the fall at an accredited four-year college or university
  • Have demonstrated leadership abilities
  • Be Pell Grant eligible

Nomination materials must be submitted no later than the deadline stated on the website.

If you would like to learn more about college scholarships, please visit the Financial Aid Finder’s section on scholarship information. Let us show you how to navigate the scholarship application process, write killer scholarship essays, take advantage of scholarship search engines, and win weird & unusual scholarships.

Good luck with your scholarship applications this week!

Tags: Dell Scholars, Gates Millenium Scholarship, genius scholarship, Mensa scholarship, minority scholarship

Since your scholarship application will be judged solely on the basis of this essay, it's important that your essay accurately and fully describe your life, academic, career and/or vocational goals and how you plan to achieve them.

The scholarship information states that the essays are judged on grammar, organization and craftsmanship; further, the word limit is 550. We're not recommending you use every last syllable available, but keep in mind that the word length was set after determining how many words should be necessary to describe your plan for the rest of your life. Brevity is good, but not at the expense of providing complete information.

Your essay and those of all your competitors will be carefully read by at least two teams of volunteer judges before winners are selected. In other words, the competition is strong, and the judges are human beings who are volunteering their time to support the quest for a good education. Keep in mind that the process is about encouraging substance, not style. Turn in a clean and concise essay, but for best results, let your personal passions and goals shine through.

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