Coca-Cola Scholars Program

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program awards over $20 million in college scholarships each year to exceptional high school seniors demonstrating leadership, academic achievement, and community service. With 150 college scholarships worth $20,000 each, this program can provide immense financial assistance toward your undergraduate degree.

In this comprehensive guide, learn everything you need to know to apply for and win one of these competitive Coca-Cola scholarships. We’ll cover eligibility, selection criteria, the application process, essay tips, letters of recommendation, and FAQs.

Overview of the Coca-Cola Scholars Program

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors this prestigious scholarship program. Since 1986, over 6,450 Coke scholarships worth $138 million have been awarded.

Here are key facts about the Coca-Cola Scholars Program:

  • Awards 150 college scholarships worth $20,000 each
  • Recognizes well-rounded leaders demonstrating academic success, leadership, and commitment to community
  • Open to current high school seniors in the U.S. and select DoD schools
  • Recipients selected through a competitive, merit-based application process
  • Scholarships may be renewed for up to $10,000 over 4 years

Applying for a Coca-Cola scholarship takes time and effort, but the huge financial payoff makes it extremely worthwhile. Let’s look at eligibility and selection criteria.

Coca-Cola Scholarship Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Meeting basic eligibility requirements is the first step toward qualifying for a Coca-Cola scholarship. Applicants must:

  • Be current high school seniors at U.S. schools or select DoD schools
  • Be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents, refugees, asylees, Cuban-Haitian entrants, or humanitarian parolees
  • Anticipate graduating during the application year
  • Plan to pursue a degree at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution

If you meet these eligibility standards, your application will be evaluated based on these key selection criteria:

  • Academic achievement – Your transcript should demonstrate a strong GPA in rigorous coursework. Competitive applicants have at least a 3.0 unweighted GPA.
  • Leadership – Coke scholars are actively engaged in leadership roles in school, community, work, or other pursuits. Discuss your impact.
  • Service – Sharing your time and talents to serve a cause larger than yourself is expected. Highlight your community service.
  • Character – Strong personal character is shown through integrity, ethics, principles, and acting on convictions.

Let’s look at how to compile a standout application.

How to Apply for a Coca-Cola Scholarship

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program application has several components. Here is an overview:

  1. Complete the online form – Provide biographical and academic information through the online portal.
  2. Write short answers – Respond to prompts about your interests, leadership, community service, and life experiences.
  3. Compose essays – Write 2 original 500-word essays on given topics related to your background.
  4. Obtain letters of recommendation – Submit 2 recommendations from educators attesting to your qualifications.
  5. Submit transcripts – Provide official high school transcripts reflecting all completed coursework.
  6. Meet the deadline – Applications open in August and close in October each year.

Let’s explore tips to excel at each component of the Coke scholarship application.

Tips for Acing the Coca-Cola Scholarship Essays

The two 500-word essays are your opportunity to bring your background, passions, and purpose to life. Here are tips for writing outstanding essays:

  • Show, don’t tell – Use vivid examples, meaningful details, and illustrative anecdotes to showcase your traits and experiences.
  • Open strong – Hook readers with a compelling opening line and articulate thesis.
  • Structure thoughtfully – Outline key themes with an introduction, body paragraphs, and concluding paragraph.
  • Be authentic – Write in your genuine voice. Share your truth.
  • Proofread meticulously – Typos or grammatical errors detract from quality. Review thoroughly.
  • Use active voice – Opt for active over passive voice for clarity and concision.
  • Make it personal – Infuse the essays with your perspective. Help readers connect through shared experiences.
  • Follow directions – Carefully adhere to word counts, formatting rules, and stylistic guidelines.

Stand out by being yourself. Write from the heart and reflect deeply on how experiences shaped you.

Securing Strong Letters of Recommendation

Coca-Cola Scholars Program

Letters of recommendation from educators validate your strengths in academics, leadership, service, and character. Here are tips for obtaining compelling recommendation letters:

  • Choose carefully – Select recommenders who know you well and can speak in-depth about your positive attributes. Favor teachers from core subjects who witnessed your intellectual growth.
  • Provide info – Supply recommenders with a resume, short biography, and notes about your passions and goals to jog memories and provide context.
  • Make a request at least one month before deadline – Give recommenders ample time to craft a thoughtful, detailed letter. Follow up politely to confirm.
  • Waive access rights – Waiving rights to view the letter adds credibility.
  • Send handwritten thank you notes – Express genuine appreciation for the time and care recommenders invested.

Strong letters of recommendation from respected educators strengthen your entire Coca-Cola Scholars Program application.

Coca-Cola Scholarship Timeline and Notification

If you are applying for a Coca-Cola scholarship, know these key dates:

  • August – Online application opens
  • October – Application deadline
  • January – Regional finalists notified
  • April – National finalists notified
  • May – Scholarship winners announced at ceremony

All applicants receive notification of their status by mid-April. Be patient – only 150 scholarships are awarded from over 100,000 applicants! If selected, you will be invited to Atlanta for the Coca-Cola Scholars Weekend.

Renewing the Coca-Cola Scholarship

Coca-Cola scholarships can be renewed for up to $10,000 over 4 years of college:

  • Initial scholarship award: $20,000
  • Renewal #1 (sophomore year): Up to $5,000
  • Renewal #2 (junior year): Up to $2,500
  • Renewal #3 (senior year): Up to $2,500

To renew, you must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA and demonstrate leadership and service. Take full advantage of this aid!

Coca-Cola Scholars Program FAQs

Here are answers to common questions about the Coca-Cola Scholars Program:

Who is eligible to apply?

Current high school seniors at U.S. schools or select DoD schools who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may apply. Applicants pursuing a degree at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution are preferred.

What is the award amount?

The scholarship award is $20,000. Up to $10,000 can be renewed over 4 years for a total of $30,000.

What expenses does the scholarship cover?

The scholarship money can pay for tuition, fees, books, supplies, on-campus housing, and other billed college expenses. Funds are sent directly to the recipient’s school.

What is the application deadline?

Applications open in August and close in October each year. Deadline dates are posted on the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation website.

Are there requirements like GPA or test scores?

While there are no explicit GPA or test score cutoffs, competitive applicants typically have at least a 3.0 unweighted high school GPA and 1300 SAT or 27 ACT score.

How are recipients selected?

An independent selection committee reviews applications holistically based on academic rigor, leadership, community service, and strength of character.

When are recipients notified?

Regional finalists are notified in January. National finalists are notified by the end of April. Scholars are announced in May.

We hope this guide provides a comprehensive overview of the prestigious Coca-Cola Scholars Program. With diligent effort, you have an excellent chance at earning $20,000 in college scholarship funding!

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