Let’s face it — getting into college is stressful and expensive. Many of the best schools seem out of reach without some financial help. All the work students put in deserves the reward of higher education. It can seem like your whole life is leading up to one single question — am I going to college?
For students struggling to answer that question, scholarships and grants can provide the road to financial freedom without the burden of debts. Partial help is not always enough for teenagers shopping around different schools. For many university-bound hopefuls, a full ride is a dream.
The Coolidge Scholarship offers a full ride that makes that path accessible and opens doors that seem exclusive. The Coolidge Foundation’s scholarship is selective and prestigious, and while it is a great honor to receive it, hard work and academic excellence are required for serious consideration.
What Is The Coolidge Scholarship?
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States (1923-1929), dedicated his presidency to maintaining Americans’ economic prosperity through the boom years of the 1920s.
A lifelong Republican from Vermont, he was a champion of the middle class throughout his political career. He always supported minorities and granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States in 1924.
The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of this great president. His son John founded the organization in 1960 to promote the morals and standards of his father. Six years ago in 2016, the foundation established its scholarship program, one of the most distinguished and generous awards for undergraduates.
The Coolidge is a four-year need-blind merit-based scholarship eligible for any accredited college or university in America. A handful of applicants secure a full ride, enough to cover expenses for four years. But if not selected as a scholar, 100 of the top candidates are named “Coolidge Senators” and receive a smaller, modest grant.
This endowment opens a pathway for economically disadvantaged students who have shown extraordinary intellectual ability.
What Does The Coolidge Scholarship Provide?
Everything a college undergraduate needs are covered in this scholarship, tuition and room & board are all taken care of for all four years of study. There is even a stipend for books and school supplies! The total dollar amount provided varies from year to year but averages about $33,000 annually for a small number of selected scholars.
But this fellowship provides more than just a dollar amount, it is a relationship with the foundation over 4 years of study and hopefully continually lifelong! The young scholars spend several days each summer throughout their college years in Plymouth Notch, Vermont — the village where Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as president on August 3rd, 1923.
These meetings provide opportunities to network with other students at the top of their class from around the nation. Each Summer, the scholars help the Coolidge Foundation oversee its famous debate program.
But the 100 “Senators” also receive a trip! The Summer before going off to college, the Senators are sent on an all-expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. At the “Senators Summit,” the chosen few will explore the capital, learn the history and impact of the 30th President, and mingle with other bright young minds!
The Coolidge Scholarship provides a connection to a foundation dedicated to fostering undergraduates and focusing on lifelong learning. But of course, the large sum of money contributed does the hard work of overcoming economic imbalances in America that continually plague college hopefuls.
How To Know If You’re Eligible For The Coolidge Scholarship
There are a few simple requirements for eligibility:
- You must be a citizen or legal resident of The United States of America when you apply. This includes Dreamers.
- You must be a high school junior. However, if you are a junior and are also enrolled in a few classes at your community college, you may still apply. Even if you intend on taking a gap year before starting college, seniors are prohibited from applying.
- Your goal must be to attend a four-year fully accredited college or university in The United States.
- You cannot be an immediate family member of any employee or trustee of the Coolidge Foundation.
- You must submit all required documents before the deadline.
If you fit into all those guidelines, then great! It’s time to look over the application process!
Application Steps For The Coolidge Scholarship
Like most intensive scholarship programs, The Coolidge application is a rigorous and difficult trial. But a high effort yields a high reward! Remember everything you submit will be read with the highest scrutiny, so only submit work you are proud of.
You will need to submit all the following information:
- The Application Form.
- SAT/ACT Score Cards, PSAT Score.
- School Transcript, including all AP courses.
- Two Essays. One no longer than 600 words and another no longer than 800 words. Prompts will be given once you start the process.
- A two-page resume documenting any jobs held and the experience gained from them. Also include information and career paths you have in mind.
- 2 Recommendation Letters. One letter must be from a teacher, and another must be from a member of the community who knows you well but is not related to you.
After submitting all these documents before the deadline and are selected as a finalist, you will have an interview process with the selection jury.
The Coolidge Scholarship Annual Timeline
You do not want to miss any deadlines for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Stay on top of when everything is due, and you won’t stress about getting anything in at the last minute.
The application first becomes available to all high school juniors in October 2021. You then have 5 months until the February 2022 deadline. By early Summer, every single applicant will be informed of their outcome.
If selected as a finalist, you will be called directly on the phone, so there is no need to check the online application portal constantly. Once the deadline has passed, all you can do is wait and trust you’ve done the best you can.
All finalists are flown out to the picturesque town of Plymouth Notch, Vermont. The costs of which are covered by the foundation. Over the course of a long weekend, all candidates interview with the selection jury.
The panel is headed by former Vermont Governor James H. Douglass, who will be closely listening to see how you embody Calvin Coolidge’s spirit.
Once the scholars are selected, the winners will return to Plymouth Notch for an entire week of orientation and celebration of this generous grant!
Tips And Strategies To Help You Win The Coolidge Scholarship
The selection committee will be looking for three main attributes from every candidate. Let’s break those down and see how you can epitomize each one of them:
- A shining and polished transcript will be the first and key parameter considered. That does not only mean achieving As in most of your classes, but it means challenging yourself to the hardest ones available. That could mean taking all Advanced Placement courses or signing up for the International Baccalaureate Diploma should your school offer it.
- But education is considered beyond the classroom as well. This means you are a key player in academic, extracurricular activities. Indeed, Calvin Coolidge’s only boyhood sport was public speaking! Being a part of the debate team, forensics team, robotics team, or even the math club shows you value education and learning beyond when the bell rings in the classroom.
- The policy is the idea that collective engagement by the people can increase the whole community’s well-being. This award is named for and given in honor of the policymaker in chief, the president! So it is important to prove that you value and embrace this quality.
- Show in your essay how you understand federalism’s benefit and how power is balanced between a national hub and state and local government. This scholarship also values those who appreciate the free market and a smaller government. If you are not already taking economics classes and government & politics courses, sign up now!
- But don’t be discouraged from applying if you aren’t seeking a major or career in public policy and government. As long as you clearly show these attributes, you will be considered.
- Public speaking and debate is a characteristic the jury board will be focusing on during your interview process. They value respectful, trained, fact-based, and confident debaters. Avoid partisan conflicts and reactionary statements that you can’t back up.
Humility and Service
- Humility is the trademark of the Coolidge Scholar. Putting others first and using your great knowledge, not for power, but altruism, is a key aspect for successful submission.
- You can demonstrate service through a history of volunteerism. Now that doesn’t mean you volunteered at the local soup kitchen once so that it can go on a resume. They are looking for a deeper connection to others. Spending a year assisting veterans at a retirement community several times a week can prove greater humility than traveling around the world helping in developing countries.
- However, introverts do not need to be worried. Researchers who work alone to develop ideas and products for the public good also display humility and service.
Those are the main ingredients to a Coolidge Scholar, and here are a few more tips to help you submit an application you can be proud of before that deadline looms close:
- Retake the SAT/ACT: You can keep taking these tests until you are happy with your scores, so only the best marks will go on your submission. Be sure to take the test before the deadline is up for repeat exams.
- Use a Tutor: If you are not yet a Junior and want to get your grades up, see what affordable and free tutoring options are available in your town. Don’t be afraid to ask a teacher for extra help in classes you are struggling with either!
- Have Several People Check Your Documents: Before you rush to submit everything you’ve worked so hard to prepare, give your documents to a teacher or trusted family member for advice. Even small grammar mistakes can stand out. Attention to detail is valued and necessary.
- Commit to Your Obligations: If you are on a sports team and also the star of the school play, don’t drop out of one for the other. Showing you can balance a busy schedule demonstrates confidence and time management.
- Beat the Deadline: Start applying before the process even begins. If you are a freshman or sophomore and already thinking about your college options, then start working towards the three criteria the Coolidge Foundation is looking for.
Plan Your Debt-Free Education Now
At GrantEd, we are dedicated to partnering students in need with the financial aid they deserve through grants and scholarships. We work with parents and scholarship candidates to determine what level of assistance is appropriate in an individual and holistic way.
Once your need is determined, we can help narrow the choice down from thousands of grants and scholarships, which can seem overwhelming.
Finally, we follow every step from application to acceptance, so you are never alone navigating the stressful world of applying to colleges. Never miss a deadline or be lost in paperwork with Minorities to Majorities by your side.
For more information, check out the book by our founder, Jasmine Chigbu, The Ultimate Scholarship Guide. Here she unravels the myth that you have to go into debt to afford college. Jasmine secured her whole college through grants and scholarships and shared her expert advice in this must-have book for the college-bound. Reach out today!