Table of Contents Hide
- Overview of the Coolidge Scholarship
- Eligibility Requirements
- Application Timeline and Components
- Selection Process and Criteria
- Tips for Applying For The Coolidge Scholarship
- Coolidge Scholarship FAQs
- Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?
- What is the application deadline?
- What if my GPA is below 3.5 or test scores below 1200?
- Does this scholarship require financial need?
- Can I apply before taking the SAT/ACT?
- Can I apply if I’m not interested in public policy?
- How many recommendations do I need?
- If selected, can I use the scholarship at any accredited U.S. college?
- What support is provided to finalists and semifinalists?
The Coolidge Scholarship is one of the most prestigious and competitive full-ride scholarships available to high school students in the United States. Established in 2016 by the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, this scholarship covers full tuition, room, board, and expenses for 4 years of undergraduate study at any accredited college or university in the U.S.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the Coolidge Scholarship, including:
- Overview of the Coolidge Scholarship
- Eligibility requirements
- Application timeline and components
- Selection process and criteria
Plus plenty of tips and strategies to help you craft a compelling application. Let’s get started!
Overview of the Coolidge Scholarship
The Coolidge Scholarship was established to promote civic engagement and interest in public policy among America’s top students. It is a full four-year scholarship awarded to just one graduating high school senior each year.
The scholarship was inspired by President Calvin Coolidge and his ideals of hard work, perseverance, and service. It aims to identify students with similar values who demonstrate academic excellence, humility, and service leadership potential.
The scholarship covers full tuition, room, board, and expenses for four years of undergraduate study at any accredited U.S. college or university. This amounts to over $250,000 in total funding over four years.
In addition to the financial support, Coolidge Scholars receive unique learning and networking opportunities, including:
- A Summer Scholars Program in Washington, D.C. with internship placement and mentorship
- Ongoing career and graduate school counseling
- Access to the Coolidge alumni network
Only 100-200 applications are received each year, but the competition is intense. The Coolidge Scholarship seeks well-rounded high achievers who demonstrate academic excellence, humility, integrity, and service leadership potential.
Winning the Coolidge Scholarship is a tremendous honor and kickstart to an undergraduate education and career. If you have a strong academic record, commitment to public service, and embody Coolidge values, it’s worth applying!
The Coolidge Scholarship has strict eligibility requirements. Applicants must:
- Be current high school seniors from the United States who plan to enroll full-time in college the following academic year
- Intend to pursue undergraduate study at an accredited U.S. college or university
- Earn a minimum 3.5 unweighted GPA (or equivalent)
- Score 1200 or higher on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (or equivalent on the ACT)
- Demonstrate humility, integrity, courage, and service
To apply, you must also submit a complete application package before the deadline. This includes academic transcripts, test scores, resume, and original essays and videos.
There are no restrictions on your field of study or career interests. Nor are there financial need requirements.
However, the Coolidge Scholarship does have preferences for students who demonstrate interest in public policy, service leadership, and civic engagement. Researching Coolidge’s legacy and values is strongly recommended.
Meeting basic eligibility does not guarantee you will become a finalist or recipient. The Coolidge Scholarship is incredibly selective – but if you meet the requirements, applying is absolutely worth your time and effort.
Application Timeline and Components
The Coolidge Scholarship application process opens each year in early September. The deadline is mid-January.
Here are the key dates and components to be aware of:
September – Applications open
Mid-January – Application deadline
February – Semifinalist interviews
March – Finalists notified
May – Winner announced
When open, the application can be accessed through the Coolidge Scholarship website. You will need to create an account and submit all components before the January deadline.
Key application components include:
- Application form: Provides basic biographical and academic information.
- Transcript: Must show an unweighted GPA of 3.5 or higher.
- Test scores: 1200+ on SAT EBRW or equivalent ACT score.
- Resume: Outlining extracurricular activities, leadership roles, honors, and work experience.
- Short answers: Responses to prompts about your interests and qualifications.
- Original essays: One essay explaining why you embody Coolidge’s values. One essay on an important public policy issue.
- Letters of recommendation: One academic, one from an employer or mentor.
- Video: A 2-3 minute video expanding on why Coolidge’s values resonate with you.
As you can see, the Coolidge application requires strong grades, test scores, resume, and original writing samples. It’s essential to allocate sufficient time to brainstorm ideas, draft, edit, and refine your application materials.
Selection Process and Criteria
The Coolidge Scholarship selection process is highly competitive and consists of three rounds:
First round – The Coolidge Foundation screens all applications for eligibility and completeness. Approximately 100-200 applications are received. From these, 15-20 semifinalists are selected.
Semifinalist interviews – The semifinalists are interviewed and must provide a writing sample on-site. 5-7 finalists are chosen.
Finalist evaluation – The finalists undergo an intensive review process, including in-person interviews in Washington, D.C. Site visits may also occur. After this final evaluation, one winner is chosen.
Throughout the process, applications are evaluated based on Coolidge’s selection criteria:
- Academic excellence: Top grades, rigorous curriculum, and high SAT/ACT scores expected.
- Humility and courage: Modesty, self-awareness, willingness to take intellectual risks. Demonstrated through essays, interview, and video.
- Service leadership: Initiative, problem-solving, and commitment to serve others. Examples provided in activities, volunteer work, and recommendations.
- Interest in public policy: Shown through classes taken, extracurriculars, essays reflecting knowledge of policy issues.
- Embodiment of Coolidge values: Integrity, persistence, patriotism. Evidenced in all components of the application.
With only one scholarship awarded from just 100-200 applicants, competition is incredibly intense. Put your best foot forward by submitting compelling, high-quality application materials that make you stand out.
Tips for Applying For The Coolidge Scholarship
Here are some top tips for crafting an outstanding Coolidge Scholarship application:
- Start early – Give yourself ample time to brainstorm ideas for essays/videos and request recommendations several months before the deadline. Set a personal deadline at least 2 weeks prior to submit a polished application.
- Research Coolidge – Thoroughly read about President Coolidge’s biography and principles. Tie examples back to these consistently throughout your application.
- Show, don’t tell – Use vivid examples versus cliches to demonstrate Coolidge values like integrity, humility, patriotism. Provide evidence through anecdotes and specifics.
- Choose compelling policy topics – Select timely, controversial public policy issues to analyze thoughtfully. Demonstrate research, critical thought, and unique perspective.
- Revise essay drafts extensively – Good writing requires editing! Allow friends, teachers, parents to provide feedback. Refine content and style over multiple revisions.
- Mind video style – The video should seem professional yet natural. Use eye contact, varied cadence in speech, thoughtful editing, and concise messaging.
- Check transcripts – Ensure no discrepancies between application form and official transcripts. Grades, coursework, activities should align.
- Request early recommendations – Give teachers and mentors at least one month’s notice to write thoughtful letters that highlight your strengths.
- Follow up post-submission – Politely check in that recommenders submitted letters and other components uploaded successfully. Confirm via email receipt.
- Prepare for interviews – If selected as a semifinalist or finalist, practice common questions and articulating Coolidge-related themes smoothly. Review your application materials to refresh details.
The Coolidge Scholarship provides an enormous opportunity, but remember – the reward is in the rigor of the process itself. Developing self-awareness, displaying your intellect and ethics, delving into policy issues, and articulating your ambitions will help you grow as a student, citizen and leader.
Coolidge Scholarship FAQs
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the prestigious Coolidge Scholarship:
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?
Yes, the Coolidge Scholarship is only open to U.S. citizens who are current high school seniors planning to enroll in college the following academic year. Dual citizens and permanent residents are also eligible.
What is the application deadline?
The Coolidge application opens each September and the deadline is mid-January. Specific dates are posted on the Coolidge website each year when the application opens.
What if my GPA is below 3.5 or test scores below 1200?
Unfortunately, the 3.5 unweighted GPA and 1200 SAT (or equivalent ACT) test score minimums are strict requirements. You will not be eligible for consideration if below either threshold.
Does this scholarship require financial need?
No. The Coolidge Scholarship does not consider financial need, cost of attendance, or family income in its selection process.
Can I apply before taking the SAT/ACT?
You may submit an application before completing standardized testing. However, you must eventually submit qualifying test scores before the application deadline.
Can I apply if I’m not interested in public policy?
Interest and experience related to public policy does help strengthen an application. But the most important criteria are academic excellence, integrity, humility, and service leadership – not necessarily having a policy career focus.
How many recommendations do I need?
Two recommendations are required: one from a teacher in an academic subject and one from an employer, mentor, coach, or community leader. Additional recommendations beyond two are not necessary.
If selected, can I use the scholarship at any accredited U.S. college?
Yes! As a Coolidge Scholar, you can use the scholarship funding towards tuition, room and board, books, and expenses at any accredited four-year undergraduate college or university in the United States.
What support is provided to finalists and semifinalists?
The Coolidge Foundation provides free travel to those selected as semifinalists and finalists. There are also modest cash awards, up to $5,000, for those who progress through the later rounds but are not ultimately selected as the winner.
We hope these FAQs have answered your pressing questions about the prestigious Coolidge Scholarship. Remember to start your application early, thoroughly research Coolidge’s legacy, and demonstrate your academic excellence, integrity, humility, and passion for service!