How to Apply for the Dell Scholars Program Scholarship
There are a lot of factors you should consider while deciding what colleges to apply to: location, size, major, campus feel, and more. But one of the ones you might not think of—or might not want to think of—is finances. Paying for college can be daunting, especially if your dream school comes with a high sticker price. One of the ways to bridge the gap between what you can afford and a school’s cost—after you factor in financial and merit aid—is to look for outside scholarships.
The Dell Scholars program is one such program you can apply for. Designed to be a college completion program, the program describes itself as offering “support services that go beyond a scholarship check.” The award comes with financial support of $20,000, a laptop, and textbook credits, in addition to resources like counseling, financial aid coaching, and more.
Applying for the Dell Scholars Program Scholarship
The Dell Scholars Program is aimed at low-income, highly motivated students whose numbers (grades and test scores) might not indicate their true potential. If that sounds like you, keep reading to learn how to apply!
To be eligible for the Dell Scholars program, you must have completed an approved college readiness program in grades 11 and 12 and plan to enroll at an accredited bachelor’s program the fall directly after high school graduation. You must also demonstrate financial need, be eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant, and have at least a 2.4 GPA.
In addition to your transcript, test scores, and personal information, you should be prepared to answer a number of short answer questions. You should expect to answer questions about your academic interests and goals, challenges you have faced, and about your home and financial status.
If you are selected as a semifinalist, you will need to submit your FAFSA information and to procure a recommender with access to your academic record.
The application deadline is December 1. Semifinalist materials are due January 29.
Application Sample Questions
Please tell us what reasons you considered in selecting these schools as your top choices.
Elaborate on the factors you considered such as academic fit and financial affordability.
Describe the most significant challenges you may face transitioning to and while in college and what steps you may take to address those challenges.
What do you want to use your education to achieve? What are your goals after you graduate from college?
Please provide more detail about your home, work and/or volunteer responsibilities and how it has impacted your ability to manage your school work.
Describe how your family history and relationships have shaped who you are today.
Describe some of the hardest things you experienced while growing up? How did you overcome those challenges? What did you learn from those experiences?
The application does not officially open until October 1, but you can view a sample application on the Dell Scholars website.
Tips for Applying
The Dell Scholars Program describes what they’re looking for in applicants as their own “G.P.A.”: grit (overcoming challenges in your life), potential (participating in a college readiness program), and ambition (wanting to obtain a college degree).
With this in mind, you can start to build out a resumé to show how you have grit, potential, and ambition. But rather than saying how you embody these traits, aim to demonstrate them throughout your short answer responses. We’ll go through each one by one to talk about what these mean and how you can put together your best application for the Dell Scholars Program/
One of the most unique things about this scholarship is that it looks to truly value the things you do that you might not be able to include on your standard college applications. If you have major responsibilities within your family that don’t fit within a standard extracurricular entry, this is the place to really talk about it. For instance, if you provide hours of childcare for siblings each week while your parents work, or you have a job and your wages go directly to supporting your family, that is grit.
Because participating in a approved college readiness program is a requirement to be eligible for the Dell Scholars Program, you should think about how you have uniquely demonstrated your potential both within your readiness program and outside of it. One way to do this is to take on a rigorous course load at your high school. Taking advantage of challenging coursework offered at the high school level will show that you will take similar advantage of academic opportunities in college.
The third attribute the Dell Scholars Program is looking for in applicants is ambition. The first part of this is wanting to obtain a college degree, which–congratulations!–you demonstrate by applying for this scholarship at all. But to stand out, you will want to reflect on why you want to attend college. This answer can be career-driven (you have a passion for a particular field), history-driven (no one else in your family has a college degree), or whatever reasoning is most personal and true to you.
Now that you understand the three separate elements of what they’re looking for in Dell Scholars, you can start to think about how different parts of your profile demonstrate one, two, or even all three of these traits and use them to create a cohesive application.
Remember, the application is before many regular decision deadlines, so plan ahead to make sure you have time to complete all your applications.Pace yourself, set early deadlines for yourself to get feedback from others, and proofread one last time before sending it off.
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